From David Lynch's MasterClass

Catching Ideas

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

Topics include: Focus on the Idea • Follow Your Intuition • Drawing Ideas From the World • Draw From Your Hopper • Make Time to Daydream • Don’t Scare the Fish Away


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

Topics include: Focus on the Idea • Follow Your Intuition • Drawing Ideas From the World • Draw From Your Hopper • Make Time to Daydream • Don’t Scare the Fish Away

David Lynch

Teaches Creativity and Film

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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.

Perfect class! This approach is exactly what is needed for staying engaged and retaining the guidance.

For me all the artistic experiences (painting, acting, architecture...) are the same in creativity, following the ideas and giving reality to them.

it was an amazing masterclass!! I loved it with all my soul! thank you so much for sharing! I feel so close to David now. thank you

What a wonderful view into this phenomenon that is David Lynch. Surprising. Have been watching his films for years (I am about his age) but had conjured a persona that is quite different from this unique and perceptive happy gentleman. The class has been an instructive delight. Thank you.


Mia S.

"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 a story comes that you like. And 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 today's world - having time to daydream, to sit by yourself and daydream, it's really important for catching ideas and going over things, just daydreaming. From the outside it looks like, maybe you should take this person not necessarily to a hospital but to maybe a psychiatrist, or tell him to get a job. But it's real important - looks like you're doing nothing, but what you're doing is so important for catching ideas, to have that time to sink into daydreaming, because it can go deeper and deeper and you can catch things that you can't catch in any other way. As I said, in this world today, people don't have a lot of time to daydream. But that's where - one place where it can happen; but it could also happen at any moment, doing anything. Because in the back of 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 water, they fly right to you. 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, sleep, you get fatigued, fatigue is not good for catching ideas. And they, like I say, squeeze the tube through which the ideas flow - 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 along with them - things that you're going to need, like energy, awareness, understanding. It's real important."

Mia S.

"Many things from our childhoods stick with us, from our world, our friends, experiences, feelings, dreams. All these things go into the hopper and they swim around, and all these new things come in and they swim around. If you have time to daydream, they can conjure some things. It's a very beautiful story; everybody has these things swimming about, and the possibility is there that they can trigger ideas. Everyone's hopper is pretty full and they say that the window to the hopper is wide open when we're growing up taking in all these things, and for safety's 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 Circle Drive, one night (I think it was around 9:30); you know, in the '50s, in small towns, there were street lights but they were dimmer than the lights of today, and 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 have 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 a curb. I'd never seen an adult woman naked, and it was quite a powerful experience; and I knew that she was hurt, in trouble, and I wanted to help her but I didn't know what to do. It's not every day you see a battered, nude woman come out of the bushes, but these kind of things happen. And then in this story, this happened: (clip from Blue Velvet)."

Mia S.

"A lot of ideas come from our world and our world holds a lot of violence - violence in the homes, on the streets, in the city, in the country, in all the countries - a lot of violence, a lot of corruption, suffering, tension, anger, hate, 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. I always say, 'Have the suffering and the violence and all the things of human nature (negative and positive) in the script, the film, 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 and all these different things, but the ideas come 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 conjures these stories that come."

Mia S.

"I say intuition is the number one tool, really, of the human being. Intuition, the way I think about it, is mind and emotion, intellect and emotion, together. It's a feel-thinking, it's a knowingness. And it is extremely important. Everybody 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. Intuition is 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 got to go where it is and get more, it's like fishing. You can put your hook on a desert and lay it on a desert in the sand; you wait for a long time for a fish, maybe it's huge, huge ages of time before water and fish come. So you've got to go where the treasure is. I guess the analogy is, The chef doesn't make the fish, the chef just cooks the fish. And the chef can cook it really high-end, fantastic, or they can cook it very poorly, maybe even not cook it all the way through and people get sick. But the chef doesn't make the fish, just like these ideas - the person catching the idea doesn't make the idea. It's crazy, we really rely on these gifts to do anything."

Mia S.

"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, I always say, like a spark of electricity, inspiration kind of thing. But then you kind of calm down and more leisurely examine it, and on examining it, it's like you turned on your TV and the first thing was like a white flash, and then it kind of comes into - it pops on an image, and that's the image. Then out comes a sound and a feeling, and you just see it. Then you write down what you see and what you hear and the mood, and you feel very, very good. You've got something. If it's a cinema idea, I like them for two reasons: one is the idea itself, and the other is the way cinema could say that idea. 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."

Mia S.

"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.' It's like putting a little piece of bait on the hook and lowering it into the water. 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 bring it up out of the water, that's like the idea coming into the conscious mind - you see the fish, you see the details of it, the fish's eyes, the mouth, the fins, all the shiny 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 lower than fish in and other fish will swim to it that are part of that school. You'll catch more and more fragments and a script will start emerging. It kind of goes like that for me. Another analogy is, there's someone in the other room with a puzzle that's completely together, and they flip one piece at a time in to me. 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, something about them - but you just save those, and then more come in, more come in, and then you start seeing something emerge. Finally, the puzzle is finished."

Mia S.

"I always say, 'Ideas are everything.' So I go where the ideas lead. It could be to the painting studio, it could be to an office to work on a computer, it could be a sound - a 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. We're 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. 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 of 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 it's very important."

David B.

Amazing!... To be able to hear Lynch talk about creativity is like watching real magic happen before your eyes. What a treat! It's so difficult to talk about the creative process, let alone explain it in great detail which he does so well. His simple approach is so powerful!

Miladin M.

...very, very nice. "The cook doesn't make the fish." Nice metaphors / analogies, a very lovable guy...

Ruben Maria S.

I feel lucky to be able to listen to him. And to have the time to daydream.