By Clay Banks

Clay Banks @CoachClayBanks Professional Performance Coach Specializing in On-Camera Work Los Angeles.

It’s all about CREATIVITY!

Seeing as this is my first article with you all, let me introduce myself. My name is Clay Banks, although most all of my students eventually just call me Coach. I’m a veteran Master Coach in the Los Angles area where I own and head up a powerful on-camera Film & TV acting studio called Clay Banks Productions & Studio International — or, more affectionately, CBSI.

Amidst all of the training that takes place at CBSI, we consistently place a strong emphasis on tapping into, becoming, and staying CREATIVE.

If you spend any time at all around CBSI, it won’t take long before you hear the phrase, “Survivalist vs. Creative Genius”. Our SURVIVALIST (functioning self) and our CREATIVE (inner artistic genius). They are distinctively different and our brains respond accordingly.

At any point in time people are divided into two separate parts that, more often than not, aren’t equal.  As mentioned, those two parts are The Creative Artist Self and The Survivalist Self.  There is a dual nature in most individuals that must be managed, and knowledge of this duality is crucial in making forward progress.


  1. Who is the Survivalist?


The Survivalist is the functional part of you. This it the you who thinks through life, navigating life’s situations for survival. The Survivalist part of you handles the maintenance of personal finances, your job, your personal relationships, keeping order, and things of that sort. This is the part of you that makes life work and allows you to survive. The average person mostly functions as a survivalist and is simply a consumer looking to create and sustain a comfortable lifestyle. But that’s not you! The difference is, as an artist, you have an inner creative genius that’s craving to come out. Or, is already out and needing to…well, create! The Survivalist stifles The Creative.


  1.   Who is the Creative Artist?


The Creative Artist is the artistic part of you. It’s your passionate and creative self…the person who wants to create/produce/act. It’s that part of you who has you reading this article right now. This part of you wants to take territory away from the Survivalist…and your Survivalist isn’t all that crazy about losing this territory. Because of this, there’s a continuous battle between the Creative Artist and the Survivalist…and you are the one who has to fight that fight.

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Just like many other things in life, if we don’t fight, we lose. If we don’t use it, we’ll eventually lose it…whatever it is. The creative mind is no different — it must be subdued. And once that happens, it needs to be exercised…often!

Now, simply pulling information or knowledge from your mind that’s been previously stored up there isn’t necessarily going to assist in your creative development. It’s not about pulling from the past. It’s about creating in the present… and not being fearful to try new things. And often! When you venture off from the familiar and discover new dimensions of yourself, CREATIVE GROWTH is more often than not the amazing byproduct. So, try this.


  • SLOW DOWN, OR IN SOME CASES, SPEED UP. JUST CHANGE OUT OF YOUR NORMAL (When done correctly, this shouldn’t feel comfortable. After all, that’s the point.)
  • GET PAST YOUR FEAR OR INSECURITY–OR EVEN SAFETY FOR THAT MATTER–AND STEP OUT INTO UNKNOWN WATERS. (Without placing yourself in harm’s way, just go! Without having to think and plan everything out. Be spontaneous.)
  • ONCE YOU’VE CLICKED INTO SOMETHING THAT GETS YOUR ATTENTION, CONTINUE TO DRIVE YOUR CREATIVITY EVEN FURTHER. PUSH IT, TWIST IT, TURN IT DOWNSIDE UP AND OUTSIDE IN. (Push through the status quo and don’t be concerned with how you look. You’re an artist… it’s your job to look different.)


Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 11.57.49 PMTake chances. ** Be brave. ** Don’t analyze. ** Press in and Press on. And, once you find something interesting and creative — keep challenging yourself to take it in new directions. After you’ve spent some time doing this, you’ll eventually become so familiar with the unfamiliar — so comfortable with the uncomfortable — so safe with the unsafe — that people (as well as yourself) just won’t be able to not find you fascinatingly interesting. If you continue to persevere…and if you’re fortunate — they just may pay you for it. They just may pay you lots and lots and lots!

THE ARTISTS FREEWAY – [Your FREE Weekly Creative Exercise]

  • Take some time that’s been specifically scheduled for your CREATIVE ARTIST. (Plan a few artist dates.) Don’t let anything get in the way of this time.
  • Because of the endless avenues of creative pathways one can travel, narrow in on something you feel you’d like to pursue. E.g. PAINTING — WRITING — SINGING — PLAYING MUSIC — SCENES/MONOLOGUES CHARACTERS — COMEDY — FOOD — DANCE — AVANT-GARDE — ETC.
  • Jump in and let the fun begin! (Remember, don’t edit or judge yourself.)
  • Once you’ve explored around and pushed yourself beyond yourself, HERE COMES YOUR ACTION TASK…grab a piece of what you’ve been playing with and see about shaping a part of that into a (roughly 5 minute) presentation.
  • At this juncture I would ask my students to bring whatever they need to make it all happen into the studio with them and take the stage and show us what they’ve got! In the case of any of you reading this right, now, take it and shoot it with your video camera or phone. Then watch what you’ve done…and you’ll see the power in simply doing something!

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Remember, this isn’t necessarily as much about a beautiful execution as it is about the creative, organic nature of the experience. So, don’t try and over-rehearse. Just do it! And, if you find you’ve done something similar a few times, seek out ways to do it different each time. This keeps everything nice and fresh! The way an actor is required to be.

Again, if you’re not presently in a studio that will embrace such radically creative behavior, just do it for the sake of doing it. However, if you’re a junky for performing, simply show it to your friends. Or, come on in and sign up for some classes here at CBSI… you’ll have a blast growing in your gifts! We make sure of it!

Coach Banks

Clay Banks @CoachClayBanks Professional Performance Coach Specializing in On-Camera Work Los Angeles.


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