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Always Be Connecting Podcast
27th May 2024

Realising everyone has a story with Graham Steele

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The Synopsis

Creativity is a powerful force that shapes our world, allowing us to explore new ideas and connect deeply with others. In this episode, filmmaker Graham Steele shared his journey of creativity, meditation, and storytelling. His insights provide a profound understanding of how creativity can foster connection and empathy.

The Power of Creativity in Storytelling

Graham Steele’s career in filmmaking spans various roles, from a director of photography to a writer, director, and producer. His journey began with a camera, capturing stories from behind the lens. However, he soon realised that to fully immerse himself in storytelling, he needed to step beyond the confines of the camera and explore the broader picture. This shift allowed him to engage more deeply with the stories he was telling, fostering a more profound connection with his subjects and audience.

Creativity, for Steele, is not just about capturing images but about understanding and conveying the human experience. His work on documentaries, such as the one on Ukrainian refugees, highlights the importance of telling stories that resonate on a human level. These stories not only inform but also evoke empathy and understanding, bridging gaps between diverse experiences and perspectives.

Meditation: A Tool for Creative Connection

One of the most intriguing aspects of Steele’s creative process is his long-standing practice of meditation. For over a decade, meditation has provided him with a non-religious way to feel connected, grounded, and confident. It has helped him navigate the uncertainties of the filmmaking business and discover his purpose.

Meditation has taught Steele the art of letting go, allowing others to contribute their unique perspectives to a project. This collaborative approach enhances creativity, leading to richer, more nuanced stories. By stepping back and embracing the contributions of his team, Steele has found that the final product often surpasses his initial vision.

Embracing the Complexity of Human Stories

A central theme in Steele’s work is the concept of “sonder” – the realisation that everyone, including strangers, leads a life as complex as our own. This awareness is crucial in storytelling, as it reminds us to approach each subject with empathy and openness. Steele’s documentaries aim to capture this complexity, offering a window into the diverse experiences that make up our world.

His upcoming project, “Stardust: The Story of Us,” exemplifies this approach. The documentary explores the cosmic origin of life, emphasising our shared humanity and the interconnectedness of all things. By zooming out and viewing life from a cosmic perspective, Steele hopes to challenge notions of tribalism and nationalism, encouraging viewers to see themselves as part of a larger, interconnected whole.

The Role of Creativity in Fostering Empathy

Steele’s insights highlight the essential role of creativity in fostering empathy. Through storytelling, we can explore different perspectives, understand diverse experiences, and connect on a deeper level. This connection is vital in a world where misunderstandings and divisions often prevail.

As Steele aptly puts it, “Listening is connection.” By truly listening to others’ stories, we can bridge gaps and build a more empathetic and understanding world. Creativity, in this sense, becomes a powerful tool for connection, enabling us to see the world through others’ eyes and appreciate the richness of the human experience.

Conclusion

Graham Steele’s journey underscores the profound impact of creativity on connection and empathy. Through his work, he demonstrates that storytelling is not just about capturing images but about understanding and conveying the depth of human experience. His emphasis on meditation and collaboration further enriches his creative process, leading to stories that resonate deeply with audiences. In a world where we often feel disconnected, Steele’s insights remind us of the power of creativity to bring us together and foster a more compassionate, understanding society.

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