IFH 304

IFH 304: The Meditating Filmmaker – How to Be More Creative


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Over the years I have mentioned my meditation practice and how important it is in my daily routine on the show. Many of the #IFHTribe have asked me to do an entire episode on meditation and the importance it has in the creative process. Today is that day.

In this episode, I go over:

  • My personal meditation practice
  • Why it’s impossible to CLEAR YOUR MIND
  • How to embrace your minds inner voice
  • How science view meditation
  • Neuroscience and what actually happens to your brain when you meditate
  • How meditation can make you more creative

I discuss practical everyday uses for meditation in your creative life. Some of my greatest ideas and thoughts have come to me during my meditations. I’ll also teach you how to meditate for 10-15 min to start and then over time, you can grow your practice to 1-2 hours a day like I do. Once you start meditating it becomes addictive.

Get ready to open your creative channels to full flow. Enjoy!

Alex Ferrari 1:49
So today guys, we are going to talk about meditation for filmmakers for screenwriters for creatives in general, and I've been contacted by a lot of the tribe contacted me to do an episode on meditation to help them with their filmmaking, or screenwriting. And as many of you know, I've mentioned my meditation practice throughout many, many episodes, and many, many interviews I do that is one of the cornerstones of my productivity, my creativity and what I do on a daily basis here at indie film, hustle. So I thought it would be interesting to do a meditation podcast, not like I'm not going to do not taking you through a guided meditation, though, if you guys want me to do something like that, I'll think about it. But this is more about my process and kind of debunking a lot of myths that come along with the concept of meditation. So I'm here to just tell you how I do it, and what I've been studying and what works for me, which is not the traditional way of doing meditation. Now before we start, I will tell you one thing, the second I started meditating, and again, I meditate anywhere between an hour minimum a day to two hours, sometimes longer. On any given day. It has changed my life, it has changed my perspective on things. It has been such a powerful, powerful thing in my life. It has centered me a lot of the anger and frustration and things that were before just consuming my soul consuming my day to day experience. And I just just needed something to help me get out of that. And the second I started meditating, I saw changes almost immediately, I was thinking clearer. I was becoming more creative, I was becoming more focused, more productive. All these things started to come into being anytime I had a question that I needed an answer to, I asked it in my meditations. And a lot of times, those answers would just come to me while I was meditating it, it helps me answered deep problems that I might have in my life, or forks in the road or where I should go. It is pretty transformative. And and there's a reason why so many big entrepreneurs and CEOs and billionaires and all these guys, about 80 to 90% of them all have a regular meditation practice. Now I'm also not going to talk about just the spiritual side of it. I'm going to talk about the science of what happens to your mind into your body when you go into a meditative state. And because I've been doing a lot of research lately in regards to neuroscience and what the actual you know, the things that happen to your mind and what happens to the way your mind reacts and your brain reacts. And meditation has been proven scientifically again and again after research after research after research, that it does help with so so so many different ailments, different stresses and so on. So let's Let me tell you a little bit about my history with meditation, I've been trying for the better part of 20 years to include meditation into my daily life. And throughout those 20 years, I knew the benefit of it, but I always tried it and just never could really get my excuse upon my mind around it. Because I would sit down, and my mind was just going a million miles a minute, and I could not clear the mind, I could not empty the head as so many people have said in the past, and I just felt like a failure. When I did it, it just didn't, didn't resonate with me. So I then tried to do it maybe for five minutes at a time, and maybe eight minutes at a time, 10 minutes at a time, you know, and it just never stuck, I just never found a lot of value in it. Even at that point in my life, I just my head was too, I was just too clouded with so many other things. And then about a year and a half ago, I, I sat down and had a meditation teacher, that I that is an old friend of mine. And we started sitting down and she kind of taught me how to meditate properly. And, and the value of longer meditations and things like that, which I'll get into. And from that moment on, I started meditating for 10, or 15 minutes at a time, then 20, then 30, then an hour, to my record of a day in one day, four and a half hours of meditation. And I'll tell you about that day later. But for the first time of my life, when I started to meditate in the way I'm about to tell you, doors started opening up, I started seeing benefits right away, all sorts of wonderful things started happening to me. So I want to break a myth right now, at clearing the mind, as so many meditation instructors say, does not work because it's impossible. It's like asking your heart to stop beating, it is not a possibility Your mind is active all the time. It is swinging ideas and thoughts and everything, it's just not possible to clear the mind. So what I do is I allow the mind to keep going, I embrace the activity in my mind and your mind should stay active during your meditations. As your thoughts come in and out, hold on to them and then let them go. There is no clearing your mind. What happens to me in my meditations is when I just start thinking about things, it's kind of like when you about to go to sleep, you start thinking about things, think about things and then all of a sudden, you're you're gone, you're in your lala land. But when I meditate like that, I have ideas coming in and out, then all of a sudden, the noise starts to quiet down a little bit. And I start focusing on one series of thoughts or one thing that I'm thinking about or two things I'm thinking about. And it just kind of pairs everything down. So the noise starts to go away a little bit. But you're always thinking about something. And then sometimes I've gotten to a place in my meditation where I I actually just start, I go in deep, so deep that I don't even know where I'm at, I go into another place in my mind. I'm in such a deep meditative state that I'm still thinking about things but I lose track of time I lose where I am, to the point where I then get up, you know, an hour and a half to two hours later. And I wasn't planning to stay that long. Right before I did this podcast. I was planning to meditate for an hour, I ended up meditating for like an hour and 30 minutes. And I don't even realize when I didn't get like I didn't know I didn't know where the time went. And that's when you are so deep in where you are in that wonderful state in the meditative process. And that's where a lot of the magic that I'm going to talk about a little bit happens. Now, what is the best time to meditate? A lot of people always ask me early morning is historically the best time right when you wake up because your mind is still in that alpha sleep state. It is easier to meditate then it's easier to fall back into that state because when you meditate, you go into that alpha state. So when you just get up, get up, go to the bathroom, come back to bed and start your practice. Now all you got to do is sit up when you meditate so you can sit up in your bed with your back straight. It is extremely important that your back is straight. You could do it on a couch, sit up on your bed on the floor with a pillow against the wall. if that helps. Whatever you do, just keep your back straight. Now as you start to meditate, just become aware of how your body feels. Focus on you're breathing if you like, do you have an itch, scratch it. It's another thing. By the way, if you have an itch, there's no place in the rule books that say you can't scratch it, it's not like you're going to break out of a meditative state because you scratch an itch, scratch it, scan your body, scan your body with your mind to see how you feel, is there an ache is or hurt, sir tingling is your heat is or cold, started doing that in your mind will start flowing with it. And as thoughts come in and out, just flow with it, don't fight it, grab on to a thought. And if you want to go down that path, go down that path of thinking of thoughts. If not let it go till another one comes in, and so on and so on to you, you will start seeing that your mind will start to quiet, the noise will start to quiet and it will allow you to focus, focus on one thought focus on one or two thoughts, ideas, things like that which are so so important. So it does clear out the noise. But it's not clearing of the mind, you're always thinking of something, you're always thinking of thoughts. But there's not 1000s of them going off at a time. And this might take a little time to do. But this is just how it works for me. Now, if you hear a noise outside or outside the door or outside your window or a siren going off, okay, just ignore it. And keep just keep going forward. What I like to do is I put on headphones. So I block out all noise I have some like, you know, waves playing, you know, ocean waves or a noise machine, or something like that to kind of clear it out. I also even wear an eye mask, like a sleeping mask. So I literally cover my entire all my senses, my hearing in my eyes. So I'm really deep in like, so light doesn't affect me, sound doesn't affect me. And it really helps me go in deeper and faster. And I've been doing that since the very, very beginning of these last almost two years of meditating. Now, another question I get all the time, how long should I meditate? Well, I compare meditation to a train leaving the station. The longer you let the train travel down the tracks, the farther and deeper you can go into your meditation. Every time you stop and start a meditation meaning like you know, you've stopped for 10 minutes and you leave, come back for another 10 minutes you leave all that kind of stuff, it's kind of like the train leaving the train station from the station every single time. It doesn't pick up where you left off. In your journey, it's started the exact same time. So the longer you could stay in, the more benefit the cooler the things that can happen to you the ideas of creativity, all the things that I talked about, the longer you're in, the more benefits you will reap. Now the more you meditate, the faster your train will be able to travel as well. So it's not just like Chugga chugga chugga at the beginning, the deeper you could get into meditation, the faster you can get in like I can get in probably within a couple minutes. And I'm deep, I can go in deeper really quickly. I've trained myself, with my practice to go in that deep, it used to take me 30 minutes to go in that deep. And sometimes it does take a little longer depending on where my mind is during the day. When I meditate on By the way, I said mornings are always best to meditate. I personally like to meditate throughout the day. I meditate in the afternoons, I generally don't meditate in the evenings every once in a while I'll meditate in the evenings. But I generally either meditate in the early morning, or afternoon some time during the day, when I find it's easier for me to do it within my schedule. And what I like to do because I'm a morning person, so my my juices are flowing really heavily in the morning. And I find that when I meditate that early for me personally, it's not as beneficial as when I have maybe run the tank out a little bit after lunch or something like that, where I could do that. Now if you start to meditate, meditate for 10 minutes at a time, just the beginning 10 to 15 minutes is fine. Your goal should be to get to 30 minutes, that should take you month, two months, whatever works as long as you keep that practice going. If you have to spend six months to get the 30 minutes, that's fine. But as long as you stay with those 1015 minutes a day, keep going at it, then you will go for longer and longer stretches. And the longer you're in I promise you the more amazing you will feel afterwards. Now, I wanted to tell you about my four and a half hour day. I went in so deep that the things that I saw in my mind and the things I experienced in my body. Were pretty remarkable. And I tell you this because ideas started coming at me problems that I had deep seated problems I was dealing with in my life at the time Answers started to appear for me. When you have a problem, a deep seated problem in your day, then even deep seated, if you have any kind of issue with someone, or with something, when when something you're carrying with you, or a goal you're trying to achieve or something along those lines, if you ask the question during your meditation, you'll be surprised that the answers that will come back at you, it is pretty, pretty insane. From my experience, at least. Now, mind you, I don't have a meditation group. I don't talk to a lot of other meditators that are as deep as in it as I am. And by the way, I'm not as deep as monks or any other kind of heavy meditators are I you know, I don't know a lot of other meditators. So a lot of what I'm talking about is from my own personal experience, and from what I've studied. Now, I also do something I like to call little mini meditations throughout the day. Now, this is not included my one to two hours a day of full blown meditation. But I've noticed that after 15 minutes to an hour, my battery starts to run down, I consider my energy pack of the day, very much like an iPhone battery. If you don't charge during the day, or wear down lower and lower and lower, and as it gets lower, lower, my productivity starts to fade, and my concentration starts to fade. So every hour, so I'll take five to 10 minutes, and just go to a couch, sit down and meditate for those five or 10 minutes. And I can't tell you how beneficial, those five or 10 minutes of meditation are. If you're just starting out, just close your eyes for five minutes, and breathe. That's it, you'll be amazed at the energy that you come back with you, you become clear your mind starts. It's like like literally plugging your iPhone into a supercharger. And it charges it charges me up every, like every time I do it. It's really, really remarkable. And it's really helpful. There's a lot of studies and research that says that to be more effective in your day to day productivity, you should take breaks, you know, especially if you should never do anything more than 90 minutes without taking a break. Again, this is not possible for everybody, but try to do the best you can every 15 minutes or an hour, take five minutes you get you get breaks, take five or 10 minutes, go somewhere quiet. And just meditate for those five or 10 minutes, I promise you, you will get a lot more done during the day than you normally would. You won't feel as beat up and as tired especially for those in the tribe who are doing those hour commutes or two hour commutes. As you're listening to me, right now I'm sure you want to charge that battery up because you will wear that battery down. And as you wear that battery down, that's when things start to break down, your temper start to come up, you become shorter, you'd never become shorter. You don't think very clearly, you don't. Don't allow yourself to filter things that come out of your mouth. A lot of arguments and fights happen because of this energy drain. And if you're able to do these little technique of maybe a five minute or 10 minute meditation every hour, hour and a half throughout the day, it will help you get through the whole day more productive, more balanced and more centered. Now I was going to talk a little bit about the science and the science is so so clear, and meditation they've done so many studies on meditation and the benefits of meditation. So I'm going to list off a few things that the science says about meditation, you do become less stressed, oddly enough, right? your stress levels start to drop. And when your stress levels start to drop, during your meditation or in a meditation practice, your body has time to rest. It has time to repair itself, your mind becomes clear. You can produce more you can become more artistic, more creative. You can write better when you when you drop that stress. And it's as simple as sitting down and being quiet. Sitting down and doing everything I said earlier in this episode, and meditating, you'll be amazed at what happens when you drop that stress out of your life, that fight or flight stress out of your life. On a side note, in regards to stress in regards to fight or flight, chemicals that run through you every time you're stressed out. It could be anything in this world that stresses you out can be your boss could be your wife could be your traffic that you know your commute your kids, whatever it is, when you have that stress, the the chemicals that create fight or flight. And if you don't know what fight or flight is, it's something that's been programmed in us since the beginning of our evolution, where if there's a tiger, that Tiger will try to attack you and eat you. You create all these chemicals rushing to you to defend yourself and run you either gonna fight it or you're going to fly you're going to take off now in our evolution that was only supposed to be released when There was danger. But because of the world we live in, because of all of the stresses in our life, whether it's financial, whether it's everything I just said, that fight or flight, chemical bath that our bodies and our minds are in, are on almost all the time. So when that happens, you get sick more your immune system goes down, you can't think clearly you can't be creative, you can't do anything. And that is one of the biggest things that is happening to our society in general. But I'm talking specifically to my filmmakers and screenwriters and my creatives out there, that you won't be able to be creative, you won't be able to write, a lot of you guys will say, Oh, I have writer's block, or I can't just get through that one big thing that I need to get done. This is one of the reasons to stress that you have if you can release that stress, with meditation, a lot of things will start to open up, you'll get healthier, you'll be sick less, and your mind will be clearer, your mind will be able to focus on the tasks at hand, whatever that might be. When I say about clearing your mind, your mind, at least for me, at least when I'm stressed out, your mind becomes clouded almost in a fog. And you can't think clearly. So then you go into instinct mode. When you're in that instinct mode of of survival, you can't create. That's not a place of creation. You ask any of these us really accomplished artists, writers, filmmakers, when you're in that kind of pressure cooker, mindset, it's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be truly creative, or at least as creative as you could be, your potential drops dramatically. And no one talks about this kind of stuff in our in our world, because it's just not talked about. But that's why I'm here I'm going to talk about a goddamnit. That's something I want to bring to the table. And I just see how it's changed my life. And I want it to change yours as well. Like I said earlier, meditation also charges your battery, your mental battery, and your physical battery, you cannot underestimate that power of what that can do. Now another thing that's happened while I've been meditating is my need for sleep has dramatically dropped. So as many of you have heard in a performer episode, when I talk about my daily routine, where I wake up every morning, around four or 4:30, to go work out, I and I go to bed around nine 930 every night, those six hours of sleep or so that I get is more than enough. I've been doing this for months now, working all the time, during the day, hanging out with my family and all that kind of good stuff. And I've been able to make it work. And meditation has allowed me to do that because I don't need as much rest, because my battery's more charged than I used to be. Now I know I've spoken to meditators, and specifically my meditation teacher who can work 1820 hour days, without even sleep, some of them are at a point where they don't even sleep for 24-36 hours. And they just meditate during the day. And it gets them going. I'm not at that level yet. I hope to be one day, but it's not where I'm at yet. But that's pretty amazing. And I've seen it again, in my world of what I'm able to do with it in a small in the small doses of what I'm able to do. I can only imagine being able to do that, like my meditation instructor, she does that. She's also been meditating for 30-40 years. So it's a big difference. She's much, much, much farther along than I am. Another benefit of meditation is amazing things will begin to happen in your life. And when I say that, I mean that when you are able to clear your mind when you're able to focus. So many other dominoes start to fall in your life in a good way. You start seeing things, clear opportunities start presenting themselves, you will start attracting certain amount of type of person to you. And it's pretty remarkable. I can't explain that to too deeply. But I will tell you that. Just trust me things will happen in your life. You become more self aware of your own body of your own experience. And you become more intuitive about what you should or should not do in your life in your career. In your art. You will begin to ask yourself questions you've never thought of before empowering questions because the answers to those questions, start to change your life in one way, shape, or form in a positive manner. Again, because you're able to clear out the crap, things are starting to be able to shine through that were just muffled before and it's it's truly truly amazing. I have an issue in my life. I asked a question during my meditations. And I'm always amazed at what my mind will say when you're able to go within and focus on the end Inside, remarkable things happen. I truly believe that all answers to any question you might have lies within you, not outside of you. It all lives within you. And meditation is a way to get it to it. Now, I hope this little mini introduction to my meditative practice has helped you guys and will help you along your journey as a filmmaker, screenwriter, or creative of any sort. And I want to offer a book up to you guys to guys to read and help you along this path a little bit. It's called the code of extraordinary mind by vision, the honey. Now the book did not help me specifically with my meditation because I was already meditating by the time I read this book, but I can see the value in it and what he brings to it. He talks a lot about his meditative practice. He was teaching meditation for almost five years, 10 years. He has one of the biggest animation apps on on Apple's App Store. And the book itself teaches you to think like some of the greatest nonconformist minds of our era, to question to challenge to hack and to create new rules for your life. So you can define success in your own terms. It is a really, really remarkable book and I can't recommend it highly enough. I'll put a link to it in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/304. Again, I hope this helps you guys. You've been asking for it for a while. So I've brought it. It's a little bit outside our regular scheduled programming, but I do believe it's going to be beneficial to a lot of the tribe out there. So if you haven't gone already, please head over to indiefilmhustle.com/mob and pick up my new book shooting for the mob based on the incredible true story of how I almost made a $20 million movie for the mafia and Hollywood. It is a insane, insane ride. So definitely check it out. And that is it for another episode of the indie film hustle podcast. May your meditative practice help you on your filmmaking, screenwriting and creative journey. As always, keep that also going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.



  • [easyazon_link identifier=”1401944590″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter[/easyazon_link] (FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSION)
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”1572245379″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself[/easyazon_link] (FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSION)
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”1401953093″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Becoming Supernatural: How Common People Are Doing the Uncommon[/easyazon_link] (FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSION)
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”1401938094″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself[/easyazon_link] (FREE AUDIO BOOK VERSION)
  • Alex Ferrari’s Shooting for the Mob Book- Amazon Link


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