17 episodes

Creativity. It’s as mysterious and elusive to humans as love. We stalk it. We crave it. We try to bring it out in ourselves. 
Every creative work you’ve ever loved has a hero’s journey behind it. Whether it’s a book or a building. A movie, a mural, a musical. It starts with a spark. Then: Endless iteration. Inevitable setbacks. Magical people who appear to help. And the breakthrough idea — that takes on a life all its own. 
On Spark & Fire, for the first time ever, you’ll hear what was happening in the mind of a creator as they brought their iconic work to life. But this isn’t an interview show. It’s a story — told entirely in the artist's own words — against the backdrop of originally composed music of the prepared piano. 
In Season One, you’ll hear from Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project, director Rian Johnson on making Knives Out, Isabel Allende on The House of the Spirits, Kemp Powers on Pixar’s Soul, architect Thomas Heatherwick on The Vessel, choreographer Bill T. Jones on Afterwardsness, book designer Chip Kidd on the cover of Jurassic Park, executive producer Kamilah Forbes of the Apollo Theatre, Susan Orlean on The Orchid Thief and more.
With host June Cohen — cofounder of WaitWhat, former executive producer of TED Talks and co-host of the TED conference — in her first hosting role since TED.
What really happens on the road to success? You’re about to find out. Let these epic stories spark your own creative journey. 
Spark & Fire is a WaitWhat original series in exclusive partnership with Skillshare.
Episode 5 of Spark & Fire, "Turn crisis into art: Tony-winner Bill T. Jones on Afterwardsness, his pandemic masterpiece," has been nominated for a 2021 Webby Award as one of the five best individual podcast episodes produced in the past 12 months.
https://linktr.ee/SparkandFire

Spark & Fire: Epic Creative Stories WaitWhat

    • Arts
    • 4.5 • 269 Ratings

Creativity. It’s as mysterious and elusive to humans as love. We stalk it. We crave it. We try to bring it out in ourselves. 
Every creative work you’ve ever loved has a hero’s journey behind it. Whether it’s a book or a building. A movie, a mural, a musical. It starts with a spark. Then: Endless iteration. Inevitable setbacks. Magical people who appear to help. And the breakthrough idea — that takes on a life all its own. 
On Spark & Fire, for the first time ever, you’ll hear what was happening in the mind of a creator as they brought their iconic work to life. But this isn’t an interview show. It’s a story — told entirely in the artist's own words — against the backdrop of originally composed music of the prepared piano. 
In Season One, you’ll hear from Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project, director Rian Johnson on making Knives Out, Isabel Allende on The House of the Spirits, Kemp Powers on Pixar’s Soul, architect Thomas Heatherwick on The Vessel, choreographer Bill T. Jones on Afterwardsness, book designer Chip Kidd on the cover of Jurassic Park, executive producer Kamilah Forbes of the Apollo Theatre, Susan Orlean on The Orchid Thief and more.
With host June Cohen — cofounder of WaitWhat, former executive producer of TED Talks and co-host of the TED conference — in her first hosting role since TED.
What really happens on the road to success? You’re about to find out. Let these epic stories spark your own creative journey. 
Spark & Fire is a WaitWhat original series in exclusive partnership with Skillshare.
Episode 5 of Spark & Fire, "Turn crisis into art: Tony-winner Bill T. Jones on Afterwardsness, his pandemic masterpiece," has been nominated for a 2021 Webby Award as one of the five best individual podcast episodes produced in the past 12 months.
https://linktr.ee/SparkandFire

    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.

    • 37 min
    How to spark others: Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project

    How to spark others: Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project

    The Silk Road Project was an impossibly ambitious, creatively expansive idea to not only create a category of music that had never been heard before, but also create ensembles to perform it, and audiences who were hungry to hear it. How did Yo-Yo Ma build this vision? He knew from the beginning that it wasn’t about him.

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

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

    Join us every Wednesday on Clubhouse: https://joinclubhouse.com/club/Creativity

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

    • 54 min
    Stick with it: "The Queen's Gambit" producers Allan Scott and Bill Horberg

    Stick with it: "The Queen's Gambit" producers Allan Scott and Bill Horberg

    When you fall in love with a project, stay with it – for as many years as necessary. Its time will come. When screenwriter Allan Scott acquired the film rights to the Walter Tevis novel “The Queen’s Gambit,” he couldn’t have imagined it would take almost 30 years to get that movie made. Allan, along with executive producer Bill Horberg, talk about their long road to turning the cult-favorite book into a Netflix phenomenon; the creative insights (and the key partner) that unblocked the path; and what they’ve learned about staying the course when the world is telling you no.

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

    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.

    • 33 min
    Trust your instinct: Salsa legend Rubén Blades on the iconic song “Pedro Navaja”

    Trust your instinct: Salsa legend Rubén Blades on the iconic song “Pedro Navaja”

    “It’s too long. It’s too sad. It’s not danceable.” Just some of the feedback salsa legend Rubén Blades got from DJs and record labels about his iconic song "Pedro Navaja" on the album "Siembra," which went on to sell 25m copies. That’s more than the Beatles' "White Album." And his story of creating this album with Willie Colón is a testament to three words: Trust your instinct. Don’t let anyone throw you off a creative vision you believe in. But also don’t assume that instinct is innate. You hone your instinct through a lifetime of reading, listening, looking, doing. And don’t believe anyone does it alone. Trusted collaborators are always a powerful, sometimes invisible force driving any creative vision, in any field.

    Congratulations to Ruben for being named "Person of the Year" by the 2021 Latin Grammys! Learn more: https://www.latingrammy.com/es/news/rub-n-blades-es-nombrado-persona-del-a-o-2021-de-la-academia-latina-de-la-grabaci-n

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

    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.

    • 40 min
    Stay authentic to yourself: Randall Park on making "Always Be My Maybe"

    Stay authentic to yourself: Randall Park on making "Always Be My Maybe"

    How do you create something an audience will love? Start with everything YOU love. Actor Randall Park ("Veep," "Fresh Off the Boat," "WandaVision"…) tells the story of a passion project that's become a beloved repeat-watch: the 2019 Netflix movie "Always Be My Maybe." It all started as a tossed-off remark by his friend Ali Wong: What if we made a romcom together? As Randall and Ali wrote the movie, they celebrated what mattered to them: family traditions, the food and music they love, even their favorite movie stars. Learn how you can take what authentically matters to you – and create work that will resonate for others too.

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

    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.

    • 34 min
    Create the conditions for your own creativity: Yaa Gyasi on "Transcendent Kingdom"

    Create the conditions for your own creativity: Yaa Gyasi on "Transcendent Kingdom"

    To make a creative leap, get to know your creative self. After publishing a blockbuster first novel, "Homegoing," followed by a year of touring (and trying to write in hotel rooms), author Yaa Gyasi realized she needed two things to reconnect with her next story: space and time. She shares the creation process of "Transcendent Kingdom" : how she got started, how she gave herself permission to pause – and how to get the feedback she needed.

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

    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.

    • 22 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
269 Ratings

269 Ratings

MagikMoe ,

Ruben. The force of nature

This story is shared by millions of Latinos who were shaped and enlightened by this guy trying to spoon feed us with his wisdom and his flavor.

Opete95 ,

Incredible stories

This podcast is full of inspiration! Thank you for telling these amazing stories that truly spark the creativity in all of us.

Lanceinokc ,

Window to Wonderful

Thank you for inviting so many awesome storytellers and creating a format that allows them to give life to their own stories. June Cohen is the perfect host. Everyone of the episodes has helped me relaize something different about my own creative journey. Simply wonderful!

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