Sparks_Fire4Don’t wait for permission   Portlandia’s “overnight success” actually started back in 2005 with ThunderAnt, an internet-only sketch series created by Fred and Carrie Brownstein—just for the fun of it.

Sparks_Fire4Stay open—inspiration is everywhere   “Sometimes it’s someone I bump into, sometimes it’s an article I read or something I catch on TV,” says Fred. “It’s just a lot of weird little mistakes that come my way.”

Sparks_Fire4Feed your passion   Fred stays plugged in to what he loves, constantly seeking out new bands and comedians. “I’m so happy I’m alive at this time when amazing things are going on,” he says.

Sparks_Fire4Honor every idea   Fred never takes the creative process for granted, so he captures every idea in his smartphone and sounds them out later with collaborators.

Sparks_Fire4Be patient—timing is everything   “Sometimes things don’t work and you have to be in a different venue and all of a sudden it makes sense,” he says.

Sparks_Fire4Be creative and relevant   You may love an idea, but it has to have relevance to connect with people. “I just look for reactions and if it resonates with anyone I go ‘Oh, okay this is a thing,’” he says.

Sparks_Fire4Create constantly   Even Fred’s vacations tend to be working vacations. “I’ll look at Paul McCartney or Tina Fey and other people who keep making things and it’s because they like doing it,” he says.