Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Old Stuff: Permission To Fail

Well, in response to a previous blog, I got a rousing thumbs-up for my lengthy rants from the overwhelming majority of you, but I promise not to take advantage of the support. I'll try and make sure my blogs take as long as they need to take - not one bit more or less. This month is easy. My suggestion to you can be summed up in a word - FAIL!

More precisely, give yourself permission to fail. As I've said in previous articles, the best way to create awareness for yourself as a filmmaker is by doing brilliantly distinctive work. And the best way to evolve to and exist in that space is to give yourself permission to fail. Like many of my comments, this plea to you may seem insultingly obvious. But I go to a lot of festivals and see a lot of films. Many are very professional, very competent, but very safe - been-there/done-that kinda work. While I often admire the production value in such films, there is nothing about them that allows me to remember one second of them (or the filmmakers who made them).

Those filmmakers need to embrace risk, and therefore, failure. They should, in fact, try to fail. Then there's no going wrong because if you fail to fail, you've succeeded. Make sense? Probably not, but you get the idea. Failure is part of life and especially inescapable in terms of invention - creative or otherwise. If you aren't failing, you aren't taking risks, and therefore not growing creatively. Also, the sense of creative freedom that giving yourself permission to fail gives you is immensely satisfying in and of itself.

And how do we come to a consensus definition of failure? We don't. One person's failure is another's stroke of genius. Creative failure is simply whatever isn't working for YOU after you've tried it out. Which gives you the opportunity to learn from it, clean it up or try something new - perhaps something even more daring and exciting. There's so many of you filmmakers out there with jaw-dropping skill that once that skill is married to the original ideas that embracing failure will bring to you, your films will be, quite simply, AMAZING!

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