Baz Luhrmann Talks Netflix Series 'The Get Down' and Creative "Self Medication"

Speaking Tuesday at the Adobe MAX conference, he asserted: "Don't wait for permission to go out and create."
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Visionary filmmaker Baz Luhrmann described his upcoming Netflix musical drama series The Get Down as the story of how “pure creativity came to life” — an appropriate subject for his keynote presentation during the Adobe MAX creativity conference on Tuesday at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

"Don’t wait for permission to go out and create,” urged the director of Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby. “Creativity is some sort of self-medication. … It’s a need to express [oneself], and we need to do it in different ways. I can’t control it; I can only curate it.

“Of course, listen to everyone; but in the end, listen to yourself. When I have gone off track, I thought there was a ‘right’ way, and there isn’t,” he added.

The Get Down, slated to debut in 2016, is set in New York, circa 1978 for the first season, and allowed the director to work alongside some of the creators of the hip-hop movement," Luhrmann said. “The thing that attracted me was how, in an environment where there seemed to be so little, ... pure creativity came to life. I really enjoyed digging deeper into that. And I feel it's relevant now.”

Luhrmann described the series as a “simple narrative. Disco’s king in terms of music, ... and these kids are onto something that’s going to change the world and define the cultural world we live in today. These young people were creating just for creativity’s sake; they owned it.”

On technology as a creative tool, he noted that he and his collaborators, including his wife, four-time Oscar-winning production and costume designer Catherine Martin, used to make collages for a visual start to his early films such as his Romeo + Juliet. Since then, Adobe Photoshop became their “electronic collage machine. … By the way [Martin] flies that thing like an F16," Luhrmann added.

With its MAX conference, Adobe announcements included updates to its Creative Cloud applications, as well as two new mobile apps, Photoshop Fix and Capture CC.