20 episodes

Every creative work you’ve ever loved has a hero’s journey behind it. On Spark & Fire, you'll hear creators tell the story of bringing one beloved work to life. 
Iconic creatives — like Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, Pixar director Domee Shi, comedian Patton Oswald, musician Wynton Marsalis, and novelist Isabel Allende — share the endless iterations, the inevitable setbacks, and the breakthrough ideas along the epic process of creation. But this isn’t an interview show. It’s a story — told entirely in the artist's own words.
Spark & Fire is a WaitWhat original series in partnership with the BBC. Season 2 out now.
With host June Cohen, cofounder of WaitWhat and the former executive producer of TED Talks.
Transcripts and images for every episode are available at sparkandfire.com
Sign up for the weekly Spark & Fire newsletter.

Spark & Fire: Fuel Your Creativity Spark & Fire

    • Arts
    • 4.5 • 311 Ratings

Every creative work you’ve ever loved has a hero’s journey behind it. On Spark & Fire, you'll hear creators tell the story of bringing one beloved work to life. 
Iconic creatives — like Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz, Pixar director Domee Shi, comedian Patton Oswald, musician Wynton Marsalis, and novelist Isabel Allende — share the endless iterations, the inevitable setbacks, and the breakthrough ideas along the epic process of creation. But this isn’t an interview show. It’s a story — told entirely in the artist's own words.
Spark & Fire is a WaitWhat original series in partnership with the BBC. Season 2 out now.
With host June Cohen, cofounder of WaitWhat and the former executive producer of TED Talks.
Transcripts and images for every episode are available at sparkandfire.com
Sign up for the weekly Spark & Fire newsletter.

    Commit to your best work (always!): Novelist Ann Patchett on “The Dutch House”

    Commit to your best work (always!): Novelist Ann Patchett on “The Dutch House”

    When Ann Patchett sat down to read through her first draft of The Dutch House, she realized she had made a terrible mistake. A wrong turn, on page 36, sent the entire rest of the novel careening down the wrong path. So what’d she do? Deleted it and started over. Sometimes, committing to doing your very best work means destroying it and going again. In her own words, novelist Ann Patchett shares the story of writing her award-winning novel — from the prolonged period of preparation, and the active defense against distractions, to the advice from friends that she took without a second thought. Plus: hear how she recruited Tom Hanks to read the audiobook.

    Follow along (with transcript and photos) at sparkandfire.com/annpatchett

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 36 min
    How to recover your creative voice: Comedian Patton Oswalt on “Annihilation” & “I Love Everything”

    How to recover your creative voice: Comedian Patton Oswalt on “Annihilation” & “I Love Everything”

    What do you do when you fear you’ve lost touch with your creative voice? You let yourself feel it, and then open yourself up to inspiration. 

    When comedian Patton Oswalt suddenly lost his wife, he also feared he would lose himself. As he processes his grief, Patton takes us on the journey of finding his voice again, through the making of two very different comedy specials: “Annihilation” and “I Love Everything.” You’ll hear how grief can give way to creativity — and creativity can forge a path through grief. With grace and humor, Patton recovers his voice by, first, opening his eyes to the world around him, and then, making himself available for the inspiration to come to him.

    Patton Oswalt has been a stand-up comedian since the ’90s, coming up in the alt-comedy scene. He’s starred in feature films and beloved TV shows like Ratatouille, Parks and Recreation, AP Bio, and King of Queens. His latest Netflix comedy special (and Grammy-nominated album) is We All Scream.

    Follow along (with transcript and photos) at sparkandfire.com.

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 39 min
    Cultivate a child's sense of wonder: "Knives Out" director Rian Johnson

    Cultivate a child's sense of wonder: "Knives Out" director Rian Johnson

    How do you create deeply imaginative work? There’s a method behind the magic. As Rian Johnson (Last Jedi, Looper, Brick) takes us on the journey of joyfully reinventing the murder-mystery, you’ll hear the way he draws on childhood memories (like watching Agatha Christie movies in his grandparents' rambling old house) to inspire his work. You’ll also hear he rigorously structures his creative process – including when, where and how he writes – in order to be playful and present when he shows up on set. Within this story, you'll hear tactics (and lots of creative techniques) you can borrow to fuel your own creative journey, whatever your field.

    Rian Johnson is a director and screenwriter, the creator of "Knives Out" and the director of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." Follow him on Twitter at @RianJohnson.

    Follow along (with transcript and photos) at http://sparkandfire.com/knivesout/

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 38 min
    5 ways to get creatively unstuck

    5 ways to get creatively unstuck

    You hit a creative dead end. You’re lost in the forest of thought. Let’s face it: you’re stuck. But getting stuck is part of the creative journey. 

    We hear it in every story on this show. So today, we’ve chosen our 5 favorite strategies on how to regain your creative momentum, and get unstuck. 

    Featuring Jurassic Park book designer Chip Kidd, Apollo Theatre’s Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes, Soul filmmaker Kemp Powers, as well as a sneak peek into Season 2 with comedian Patton Oswalt and Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz.

    Follow along (with transcript and photos) at sparkandfire.com.

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 20 min
    Season 2 – Coming Soon

    Season 2 – Coming Soon

    Every creative work you’ve ever loved has a story behind it. On Season 2 of Spark & Fire, we will hear what really happens on the road to success — the moments of inspiration, setbacks, collaboration, pivots, and breakthroughs until something new is brought into the world. Regardless of your creative field, there are endless discoveries in each story that could transform the way you approach your own creative practice. 

    Stories from comedian Patton Oswalt, "Wicked" composer Stephen Schwartz, actor & producer Joseph Gordon-Levitt, best-selling author Ann Patchett, "Frozen" composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez, Pixar director Domee Shi, and many more.

    Click Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: sparkandfire.com

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 2 min
    Be utterly honest: Ben Folds on his breakout album “Whatever and Ever Amen”

    Be utterly honest: Ben Folds on his breakout album “Whatever and Ever Amen”

    Capturing an honest moment is one of the riskiest ways to create, but the results are real, and they stand the test of time. As musician Ben Folds tells the story of creating his breakout album “Whatever and Ever Amen” with the Ben Folds Five, you'll hear a very specific story about a rock band recording an album in a house, instead of a studio, with piano instead of guitar, with lyrics drawn from newspaper clippings. But it’s also a universal story for any creative in any field at any time, about the choices – and pressures – that keep you honest.

    Follow along (with transcript and photos) at sparkandfire.com/benfolds.

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
311 Ratings

311 Ratings

JRMS2021 ,

Amazing!

Just listened to the Patton Oswalt episode - if this is any indication of what’s to come in the rest of the season, I cannot wait! This episode was just as hilarious and heart breaking as it was inspiring. Love this podcast!!

j_mcleodmusic ,

It’s back!!

I’m so glad this new season is dropping! The Patton Oswald episode is life changing. I can not wait until more episodes start rolling in!!! One of my favorite podcasts.

shiestye2834 ,

Spark and fire

I love how y’all just take y’all time out of the day to tell these stories

Top Podcasts In Arts

Avery Trufelman
NPR
Blind Nil Audio and Pod People
The Moth
Roman Mars
LeVar Burton and Stitcher

You Might Also Like

WaitWhat
Lemonada Media
On Being Studios
The Atlantic
Hidden Brain
Pushkin Industries

More by WaitWhat