Brian Koppelman On the Tension of a New Craft

by | Jul 20, 2017

I write songs, and one of the reasons I write songs is because I’m primitive at it. It’s hard. I love doing it. It fires something in me creatively that nothing else does. The reward is that I get to feel like I’m creating in a risky way, and I know it bleeds into the other stuff.

Brian Koppleman

Screenplay Writer, The Moment (Podcast)

The previous quote was a snippet from a fantastic interview Brian Koppelman conducted with Seth Godin on his podcast, The Moment. Koppelman’s film credits include Rounders (writer), Ocean’s Thirteen (writer), and The Illusionist (producer). With credits like those, Koppelman could easily stay in his comfort zone and focus on the film industry. But artists tend to crave the tension a new craft brings into one’s mind.

Once you are many years into an art form, you begin to lose the sense of excitement and discovery that it had in those first formative years. I’ve been playing the guitar for 20 Years, and more often than not, I play the same songs I’ve known for years because I’ve grown too comfortable with the instrument.

Artists need to have an art form they are continually engaging in that makes them feel primitive. I’ve created a way for artists, and even people who don’t consider themselves artists, to sample different outlets over 30 days. I call it the 30 Day Buffet. It’s a list of tasks designed to find a medium that you didn’t know you would love.

30-Day Buffet

Here are a few ideas for a 30 Day Buffet of experiences:

Day One: Draw a nonsense creature 

Day Two: Write lyrics to a song; don’t worry about structure

 Day Three: Try yoga for 30 minutes

 Day Four: Buy an instrument

 Day Five: Write a one-page story

 Day Six: Take 30 photographs and post to Instagram with the hashtag #30picturesaday

 Day Seven: Sign up for a free Crossfit session

 Day Eight: Sign up for

 Day Nine: Buy three albums outside of your normal genres

 Day Ten: Spend an hour learning to act

 Day Eleven: Write a poem

 Day Twelve: Watch a random documentary

Day Thirteen: Join and join a group

Day Fourteen: Listen to a Tim Ferris Show podcast

Day Fifteen: Take a business course on

Day Sixteen: Check out one hobby book at the Library

Day Seventeen: Sign up for

Day Eighteen: Watch three videos on

Day Nineteen: Ask an Author for a 10min conversation

Day Twenty: Sign up for a class at an art museum

Day Twenty-One: Free write for 30 minutes

Day Twenty-Two: Google “Nobody Tells This To Beginners”

Day Twenty-Three: Watch ’20,000 Days on Earth

Day Twenty-Four: Film a tutorial video on something you enjoy doing and upload to Youtube

Day Twenty-Five: Google ‘Newspaper Blackout Poetry’ and try doing your own

Day Twenty-Six: Ask a friend to borrow one of their instruments and learn to play it for 30 minutes

Day Twenty-Seven: Audition for a part in a play at your local theater

Day Twenty-Eight: Buy Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow and read the first two chapters

Day Twenty-Nine: Spend thirty minutes writing a dialog scene between two people

Day Thirty: Reflect back on this 30-day exercise and what you’ve learned about yourself. Journal your revelations

These are just a few ideas. I’d encourage you to make your own or a hybrid. If you tried the 30 Day Buffet I would love to know the results. Shoot me an email:


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