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Arts & Entertainment

Catching Ideas

David Lynch

Lesson time 18:38 min

For David, ideas are everything. Learn how to draw from your intuition and life experience to unlock powerful sources of creative inspiration.

David Lynch
Teaches Creativity and Film
David Lynch teaches his unconventional process for translating visionary ideas into film and other art forms.
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Connect with your creativity

An avant-garde figure in filmmaking, David Lynch introduced mainstream audiences to art-house films. Now the Oscar-nominated director of Mulholland Drive teaches his cross-disciplinary creative process. Learn how he catches ideas, translates them into a narrative, and moves beyond formulaic storytelling. Embrace the art life in David’s MasterClass and learn to test the boundaries of your own artistic expression in any medium.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

David Lynch is that one person cinema will always need to feel whole.

Right from passion to how to envision your project, David Lynch was absolutely honest in his Masterclass about his tricks and tips.

I don't really believe these videos are masterclasses – they are videos of successful people discussing their profession. As such, I really enjoyed listening to David Lynch. He has a very insightful perspective on art and creativity.

It's helped get the wheels turning and a given me a huge amount of inspiration!


A fellow student

So ideas come from the world. BUT many of us believe the world comes from an idea. From the Word. God. Others see order or causation, all in the world. But those in turn are ideas. And the effect of this is that these ideas are linked, infinitely. But sure through intuition we can see and sense an idea. I like Charles Sanders Pierce phenomenology--what ideas actually exist? And he sees Firsts, Seconds and Thirds infinitely linked. And of course we're going to talk about depicting ideas.

A fellow student

Okay fine I can't add an attachment no problem. Anyway they're all film, video. As far as the process of creative film, well it has to emerge from you. David basically is express HIMSELF. A guy who loves ideas. And then those ideas are the message of his media. Can't really discuss but that is OKAY. I just saw the sign you know...

Holly B.

so, apart from daydreaming...what/how else can the "waiting for the fish to bite" look like? i would love an expansion on this part of his discussion...

Ali Rıza B.

David Lynch talks about many people who cannot find time to dream at the pace of the day. Many people are missing it. However, we need to forget that this is very important. I hope these will accompany me. I share word-by-word notes for those who want to translate all that is said into another language. TEACHES CREATIVITY AND FILM I always say ideas are everything. So I go where the ideas lead. That could be to the painting studio. It could be to an office to work on a computer. It could be sound, you know room to work on sound. You go where the ideas are telling you to go where you're fired up to do this or that. And that leads you to those places. Catching Ideas We are nothing without an idea. We don't know what to do without an idea. And the idea tells us everything. So it's common sense that ideas are super important. An d I love the idea of catching ideas. And they're out there, millions and millions of ideas. And we don't know them until they enter the conscious mind. And then we know them. And we see them and hear them and feel them. We know the mood of them, even if it's just a small fragment of what could be a whole film or a painting or whatever. We fall in love with it for some reason. Something inside us says, this is a great idea for me. And then you write that idea down on a piece of paper in such a way that when you read what you wrote, the idea comes back in full. Super important to write down your ideas so you don't forget them. I think I've forgotten three incredible ideas in my life. So write down your ideas and save them because they're-- it's very important And then we can talk more about catching ideas. But I do equate catching ideas with the thing of fishing. You have to have patience. And I say a desire for an idea is like a bait on a hook. And it's like putting a little piece of bait on a hook and lowering it into the water. And then you don't know when they're going to come or what will trigger them. But lo and behold, on a lucky day. Bingo, you'll catch a fish. You'll catch an idea. And like I say, you don't see the fish down there but when you drink water like the idea coming into the conscious mind. You see the fish you, see the details of it, you know, the fish's eyes, the mouse, the fins, all this tiny little scales you fall in love with this little fish and you write that idea down and now you have even more bait and you can lower that fish in and other fish will swim to it that are part of that school, and you'll catch more and more fragments and a script will start emerging and it kind of goes like that for me. Another analogy is there someone in the other room with a puzzle that's completely together and they flip little one piece at a time into me so you can imagine the first pieces of puzzle they don't relate to anything you might love the colors of them or the shape of them or something about them, but you just save those and then more come in more come in and then you start seeing something emerge, and finally the puzzles finished. Focus on the Idea when we get an idea that we love. It feels very very good. You see it and feel it and know it all at once. But it's all at once, and it comes with like I always say like a spark of electricity inspiration kind of thing. But then you kinda calm down and and more. You know, leisurely, examine it and it on examining it. It's like you turn on your TV and the first thing was like white flash and then it got a get outcomes in image that's damage that outcomes is now healing and you just see it then you write down what you see and what you were in the mood and you feel very very good you got something if it's a cinema idea. I like them for two reasons. One is the idea of its itself and the other is the way cinema could say that idea and then you got something and all you have to do then is focus on that and that focusing means lowering it back into the water on a hook and waiting. Follow Your Intuition I say intuition is the number one tool really of the human being. Intuition the way ice think about it is mind and emotion, intellect and emotion for a together. It's us feel thinking it's a knowingness on knowingness and it is extremely important. Everybody has has this, but I don't think everybody has the same amount. It's like consciousness. They say every human being has consciousness but not every human being has the same amount the potential. However, for every human being is infinite consciousness, enlightenment, supreme enlightenment, we could talk about that sometime to and in it, intuition is tied tied tightly to consciousness. You can't just wish for more intuition. You can't just imagine you have more intuition. Same way with consciousness. You can't just wish for more. You can't just imagine more. You gotta go where it is and get more is like fishing. You can put your book on the desert and lay it on the desert in the sand. You wait for a long time for a fish, maybe is huge, huge ages of time before water and fish cup anyway so you got it go where that the treasurer is I guess the analogy is the chef doesn't make this the fish. The chef just cooks the fish and the chef can cook it really, really high-end, fantastic, or they can cook it very poorly, maybe not even cook all the way through and people get sick. But if the chef doesn't make the fish just like these ideas, the person catching the idea done make the idea. It's it's crazy we really really really rely on these gifts to do anything. Drawing Ideas from the World A lot of ideas come from our world and our world holds a lot of violence. Violence in the homes violence on the streets. Violence. Violence in the city. Violence in the country. Violence in all the countries a lot of violence, a lot of corruption, a lot of suffering a lot of tension. Anger eight. Fear a lot of mistakes prisons are full. Hospitals are full. It's a mess and it doesn't have to be this way but it is the way it is and ideas come from our world. Stories emerge from our world and stories involve things that are in the world you know I always say have the suffering and the violence and all the things of human nature, negative and positive in this script in the film. In this book but not in your life and that you don't have to suffer to show suffering on the screen or in a book you can be very happy showing suffering and that's the key to things stories all through time have had conflict in all these different things, but the ideas come from the work from the world they come from other places, it seems also, but a lot come from just our world and the feeling of being in this world, controversies, stories that come. Draw from Your Hopper Many things from our childhood stick with this from our world, our friends, experiences, feelings, dreams, all these things go into the hopper and they swim around and new things come in all these new things come in and they swim around and if you have time to daydream. They can conjure some things and it's a very beautiful story and everybody has these things swimming about and the possibility is there that they can trigger ideas. Everyone's hopper is pretty full and I say that the window to the hopper is wide open when were growing up, taking in all these things and for safety sake, that window starts closing at a certain point, and you start working with what you've got in there there's a story. When I lived in Boise, Idaho on Park Cir., Drive. One night I think it was around 930. You know, in the 50s in small towns. There were streetlights but they were dimmer than the lights of today and it was it was near a streetlight near a street called Shoshone Avenue and across the way I was with my younger brother out of the darkness came a woman completely naked and she had skin the color of milk and she wasn't walking quite properly I didn't understand exactly what was wrong and there might've been some blood on her mouth. She was pretty much oblivious to me and my brother as she came out of the darkness and walked and sat down on the curb and I never seen of an adult woman naked and it was quite a powerful experience and I knew that she was hurt in trouble. I wanted to help her but didn't know what to do. It's not every day that you see a battered nude woman come out of the bushes, but with these kind of things happen and then this story this happened. (Blue Velvet (1986) Scene) Make Time to Daydream As far as people thinking well I don't have anything to say. Maybe you don't. But on the other hand, that might be the wrong way to look at it. What might be better is to just daydream and catch some things that start a flow of ideas just to see if story comes that you like and more ideas can come more ideas can come and there might be something that you find inside that you really love and then you say. Oh wait a minute. I do have something to say. I could say this thing that came to me. So it goes like that, having time which is so difficult in this. In today's world. Having time to daydream to sit by yourself and daydream. It's really really important for catching ideas and going over things and just daydreaming from the outside it looks like maybe you should take this person not necessarily to a hospital but to reverse psychiatrists. Are you tell them to get a job, but it it's really important if you're doing your looks like you're doing nothing but what you're doing is so important for catching ideas have the time to sink into daydreaming because he can go deeper and deeper and you can catch things and that you can't catch and any other way. As I said, I think that in this world today. People don't have a lot of time to daydream, but that's where that's where at one place where it can happen but it could also happen at any moment doing anything because in the back your mind, you've got that desire. You just keep that desire going, you can catch ideas. These fish can be flying fish. They don't need to water. They fly right to you. Don't Scare the Fish Away What scares fish away or makes it more difficult is stress, depression, sorrow, anxieties, tension, traumatic stress, hate, anger and fear. All these things are in the family of negativity and they restrict a lot of things they restrict happiness in and they restrict and oh, sleep, and they get fatigued. Fatigue is is not good for catching ideas and they, they, like a sake squeeze the tube through which the ideas flow the cloud they cloud the mind. All these things so give yourself a chance to get those ideas and at the same time bring all these positive things that I along with them things that you're going to need like energy and like awareness, understanding, and you know it it's it's real important.

Nelson B.

I love the powerful vignettes and his amazing description/analysis/sharing of ideas on his process (vivid images) in this lesson. I will probably re-read his book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. I do Isha Krya meditation so I am open to learning TM? I hope one day you can direct one of my screenplays? or I am able to get on your production team for film editing? after this pandemic. I remember seeing Dune and Blue Velvet while I was growing up. Wow, this is truly powerful!!


ironic that he is sitting in front of a blank canvas. talking about something that comes out of nowhere

A fellow student

I Love David Lynch and his perception on how to catch ideas. Just wondering now how big is ideas(definition in relation on how to put this as image or dialog?) as if 70 ideas I have future film and how this can be relate to write a script.

Paula O.

I just love to hear him speak. I hope one day I can walk into any major art museum and stand in a room whose walls come alive with Episode 8.

A fellow student

I love this guy. He is one of my biggest heroes. I've seen most of his movies and read his book Catching the Big Fish. I think TM is something we all should be doing to help ourselves and the world. I am so excited to be starting this class!


After 8 minutes of analogies, "...I guess what I'm trying to say is the Chef doesn't catch the fish", I laughed out loud. I love him so much.