Creative Discipline w/ Hassan Akua 

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My creative discipline series continues with Hassan Akua, an actor and filmmaker who values self-reflective creativity that causes people to question life. In our discussion we discuss trusting your art to find its audience, the significance of a natural workflow and embracing creative challenges. 


TS In a recent article I define Creative Discipline as the ability to complete a single project from idea to creation to development to production. However, it may also be defined as one’s creative practice e.g. cinematographer, dancer, or sculptor. How would you describe your creative discipline?  

HA That’s an ongoing process for me. I’ve learned that each project requires a different level of discipline. When it comes to discipline, personally, that's still a muscle I’m strengthening. 

TS What determines your interest as a creative? 

HA My interests are determined by the space I’m in mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

TS What are three things you cannot create without? And why? 

HA I laughed when I read this question. My initial reaction was “I don't need anything to create.”  The truth is, I require my imagination, people, and connection. Each thing is highly valued in my process to form ideas and bring whatever I want to life. 

TS Walk me through your creative process? How do you create? Can you identify a routine? 

HA First an image would come to me. Then I would meditate on that image, and start adding more color. It feels as if I were painting on a canvas. The world starts forming in my mind along with the character’s, dialogue, and most importantly the “feeling.” And once all of these elements come together I write them down in a notebook. After that, I start the process of organizing, structuring,  and creating a visual for anybody I’m working with to grasp the concept.

TS Where does your inspiration come from?  

HA Everything inspires me: nature, people, other artists, music etc… The list could go on to infinity. Even the mistakes I make can inspire me. The world we live in is so vast. There’s so much to work from.


“I trust that my art will find the people it needs to connect with…”


TS For whom do you create?  

HA I can say more now than ever, I create for Me. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for people to see my work.  I could probably do better with marketing myself. However, I trust that my art will find the people it needs to connect with, whether that be the world or ten people.

TS When do you know it’s time to abandon a project? 

HA When you’re forcing the creation of it, and there’s not a natural flow.

TS Have you ever returned to an abandoned project? If so, why?                                               

HA There’s been plenty of projects I’ve abandoned, but have been brought back years later, because I was in a different space and had more resources to bring that idea to life. No project has to go unfinished. 

TS At what stage in your creative process do you invite collaborators? 

HA I will invite any collaborators at any point, especially if it makes sense for the story. But I won’t bring just anybody on board. There’s a vibe that, instinctually, lets me know if a creator will add to the project.

TS How important is it for you to finish a project from start to finish? 

HA It’s important, but in the same breath it’s “Not” especially if you're having to force the project to completion. Sometimes it’s important to incorporate “distance,” so you can receive a different perspective.  

TS What creative obstacles do you face? 

HA When it comes to any obstacle, whether it’s doubts, fear, or working a job outside of my art, I see it as a way to propel me forward. It doesn’t matter if my progression is slowed, I treat every obstacle as an opportunity to “grow,” and add to my creative endeavors.


“Ask yourself a lot of questions.”


TS What tips do you have for creatives who may be facing their own creative challenges? 

HA Embrace them. Ask yourself a lot of questions. Why do you have those challenges? Give yourself time between each question to receive an answer, and use the answer to change the course of action. Don’t rush your process due to external forces. If you have a due date to reach, let that inspire you. Some of my best work came from a lot of pressure.  

TS What projects are you currently working on and where can our readers follow and find your work? And/or What projects are you excited about?

HA  I’m currently prepping for a short film project and a series of letters. I’m excited to direct more, write more, act more, dance more, do more stand-up comedy, and DJ. The possibilities are endless. Everyone can follow me on Instagram @This_ishassn.


Hassan Akua is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York. His journey started with dramatic self-expression that led him to acting and filmmaking. He blends his experiences in art and music to create a perfect relationship with film, and continues to expand his creativity. 


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TyLie Shider

“I consider myself an investigative-playwright with a background in journalism. This is an exciting opportunity for me to marry my degrees in media and theatre as I continue to develop plays and make a holistic contribution to the American theatre.”