The Spark File with Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien

The Spark File with Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien

Your one stop shop for creative ideas and inspiration. Each week on The Spark File podcast, Susan Blackwell and Laura Camien reach into their spark files and share stories, ideas and fascinations to ignite your imagination. Obsessed with creativity, Blackwell and Camien also talk with artists and makers, movers and shakers who have taken the spark of inspiration and fanned it into a flame. Hear from inspiring creatives like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sara Bareilles, Eric Stonestreet, Jonathan Groff, Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich, Zachary Quinto, Leslie Odom Jr, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Billy Eichner, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Karen Olivo, Sutton Foster, Michael R. Jackson and many more about their passions and their failures, their inspirations and their aspirations. Refill your creative fish pond with new ideas and fresh perspectives. Listen, then take it and make it!

Episodes

April 27, 2022 57 min

For everything there is a season, friends! And this season is winding down. Time for a brief respite. But, before we go, let’s talk season highlights! And we’ll leave you with an excerpt from In Your Light by Rumi...

“I know you're tired but come, this is the way...In your light, I learn how to love.

In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you,

but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this ...

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Long time listeners will know what a joy this episode was for us!

In the way back times, Susan introduced us to a human spark named Lynne Cox - a celebrated athlete who set swimming records around the world and achieved astonishing feats of strength and endurance (including swimming with a baby gray whale - eighteen feet long! - in open waters)

She is internationally famous for swimming the world’s most difficult waterways without a ...

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April 13, 2022 62 min

John Lennon said, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end”

This week, we admire the imagination and, frankly, the balls of @connorratliff, creator of Dead Eyes podcast.

Connor created an unbelievable podcast experience in order to solve what he calls “a very stupid mystery that has haunted him for two decades: why Tom Hanks fired him from a small role in the 2001 HBO mini-series, Band of Brothers.”

...

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April 6, 2022 72 min

This week, Susan and Laura got to hang with bad ass lighting designer and friend, Marc Janowitz, whose holistic, dynamic lighting designs illuminate a story and light up an audience.

His bold, no holds barred lighting transforms comedians into a rock stars and rock stars into gods.

Tune in to hear how Marc approaches designs for concerts for My Morning Jacket, The Lumineers, Fun., and many others, and comedy specials like Chris Rock,...

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March 30, 2022 67 min

This week, after experiencing unexpected loss, Laura and Susan discuss the role of grief and friendship, and the bittersweet and inevitable intermixing of joy and heartbreak along this journey we call life. 

Inspired by the genius of Brene Brown, Karen Walrond and Susan Cain, Laura and Susan agree with the conclusion that our broken hearts connect us all. 

And as creators all we can hope to do is make works of profound sadness and be...

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March 23, 2022 57 min

This week, Susan and Laura had the distinct pleasure of unpacking the mind of Mike Michalowicz, the man Simon Sinek claims might be “the patron saint of entrepreneurs”.

We have to agree.

He’s a saint, but our kind of saint -  comfortable with subversive humor served with a dash of profanity. 

On a mission to end entrepreneurial poverty, Mike changed our lives (and the way we think about making a living) with his book, Profit First. He...

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Whether the war in Ukraine is causing feelings of unease, uncertainty, or outrage, there are creative ways to activate and support. There are ways to use your talents and resources for the power of good.

Tune in this week to hear of creative acts by artists and others to support our colleagues in Ukraine. If you’ve wondered how you can put your thoughts and prayers into action – this episode is for you!


Friends! We are opening the do...

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Everywhere you look these days there is a con going down… Inventing Anna, The Tinder Swindler, The Dropout, The Puppermaster, Super Pumped, WeCrashed… Con artists are having a moment.  Tune in this week to learn more about the hustle, and how you can avoid being a “sucker”, a “stooge”, or a “gull” – Better yet, turn the confidence game into an inspired spark!



Friends! We are opening the doors to our upcoming classes! Whether you nee...

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March 2, 2022 66 min

Tired of the “starving artist” trope? Sick of the storyline that says “I’m creative and eccentric, I’m no good with numbers” Isn’t it time you felt a sense of personal agency over your finances? 

You are smart and capable. Tune in for some tips on how you can be even smarter and more capable.


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You know that voice in your head? The one that drives you crazy sometimes? The one that points out your flaws and re-plays your mistakes over and over? 

What is the point of that voice?

Tune in this week as we gain an understanding of how to tame this voice, and put it to good use, thanks to Chatter: The Voice in our Head, Why it Matters, and how to Harness it by Ethan Kross.


Friends! We are opening the doors to our upcoming classes! ...

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February 16, 2022 55 min

Sit back and marvel at this true tale of limitations inspiring ART as a survival job in less than ideal circumstances.

That’s right. The Florida Highwaymen turned to art to elevate themselves and their community out of poverty while reflecting the beauty of Florida landscapes.

These master painters (some trained and some self-taught) captured the beauty they saw around them, and supported their community with the profits. 

Dive into t...

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February 9, 2022 64 min

Want to know what every single creative can learn from the development and launch of Wordle, the simple and most unexpected game of the century? 

Recorded riiiiiiiight before Wordle was sold to The New York Times, we can still learn how creating for an audience of one, making your work accessible and so much more relates to everything we hope to share with the world.

Listen in.  


Friends! We are opening the doors to our upcoming class...

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You have undoubtedly heard her unforgettable voice on hits such as “Everybody, Everybody”, “It’s Raining Men” and so many more.

But Martha Wash had to use her voice to fight to make sure you knew her name.

Tune in to find out how Martha took the record labels to task for abusing the demo track system.

Martha paved the way for all artists - to make sure they get paid, and get credit for the talents they contribute.

Trust us, you’ll be s...

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If you’ve ever found yourself scrolling through your feeds or combing through google search results thinking “there must be something more out there”, well, this episode is for you!

Laura and Susan dive into the concept of “Rewilding Your Attention” - the phrase was coined by Tom Critchlow, shared by CJ Eller and then expanded up on by Clive Thompson. 

And the bat signal was seen by @thesparkfile.

Let us look for the small, weird ...

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January 19, 2022 55 min

This week, snuggle up and join Susan and Laura as they delve into Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May.
If you've ever wondered why we feel a pull to retreat indoors and slow down as the days get darker - look no further. It is not your imagination, and it is very much a necessity that we take time  to quiet our minds and slow our rolls, so that we can look inward and heal, and maybe even ...

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January 12, 2022 75 min

This week, Laura and Susan dig into this taboo topic and explore how and why shame  keeps us from talking about money, and sometimes even doing anything about money. 

But valuing ourselves for the amount of money we have accrued has not always been the norm, in fact, it is a rather new framework.  Listen in and imagine a time when we valued ourselves, our communities and the quality of our lives by a different standard.

Friends! We a...

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January 5, 2022 58 min

Sometimes a spark is so surprising, so complex and thought provoking it can stun you into silence. And so it was when Susan shared Operation Paperclip with Laura.

As outlined in the book, Operation Paperclip by Annie Jacobsen, information on this secret United States intelligence program was recently de-classified and we are now all learning about the plan to bring Nazi Germany scientists to the US to harness their intellectual reso...

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What keeps us from writing those pages we say we WANT to write? What keeps us from taking that first small step toward our goal? What keeps us from doing anything at all related to our creative vision?

Why, its our dear ol’ pal, Creative Resistance.

This week, Laura and Susan dive into the warm and cozy distractions that keep us safe from the consequence of risk - creative risk, that is. These tactics show up anytime we are close to ...

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This week, Susan and Laura dip their toes into the topic of Collaboration via the Metallica Masterclass. They discuss how the members of Metallica, guided by their mantra “whatever’s best” for the project, share how they communicate, keep their egos in check, get the most out of everyone, and how they stay inspired to come together to create great things. 

They share a commitment to the music, yes, but an even larger commitment to e...

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Here at The Spark File, our mission is to spark creativity, free innate self-expression, and grant permission to fear less and create more.  In this episode, we share two recently discovered like-minded creative organizations that have completely lit us up!

Here’s how it happened…First, Pam Harris introduced us to @creativemornings and Creative Mornings introduced us to @streetwisdom_  and Street Wisdom introduced us to @...

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