Film Makers: No One Knows Anything.

Seattle Film MakerWe have no idea what we are doing. I’m talking about indie film makers here. I’ve worked around enough of you to see what’s going on: stumbling around blindly with a fake-it-till-you-make-it attitude, all bluster and hubris as if no one is in on the joke but you. The worst offender out of all the hacks and whores in this town?

Yours Truly.

Two years ago I knew nothing about making a film. Nothing. I still know very little. I just began writing recently. The difference between you and me? I’m a much better learner than you. And a faster one. I can see patterns and connections where others see only chaos and confusion. I already understand much, I am applying it, and I have put plans in motion. If that sounds arrogant, it should. After all, I am the dilettante douchebag. But at the core of my ability to learn and absorb a discipline like film is a surprising quality:

Humility. It is a quality you do not possess, and why I will succeed where other wanna-bes will fail.

Am I being specious by saying I can be distastefully self-assured and humble all at the same time? Not at all. Accepting that you don’t know all there is to know is an empowering, liberating experience. Taking our ego out of our art, work, and products is the first key to enjoying success. I’ll give you an example.

I write a lot. Ninety percent of it is shit. Absolute garbage.  I show it to my editor and she says, “This is good. Keep it. That part does not work.” So I toss the stuff that doesn’t work (90%) and then a crank out an assload more for her to look at. Does it hurt to have her say she doesn’t like what I wrote? At first it did, now, not as much. All I care about is having a good product and learning how to to do it better. Bugger my ego.

You’d be surprised how many people cannot divorce their ego from their work. Well, maybe you would not be surprised. If you tell a person you don’t like a certain bit of their work it’s like you’ve stabbed them in the heart with a glowing fire poker. They hate you. They hate themselves. They question their entire existence and why they are even trying to make something special when so many assholes like you insist on shitting all over them in a transparently jealous fit.

This is a prime example of what I’m talking about: despite not knowing anything I continue to learn how to be a better writer while others remain stuck because they are afraid of having their genius questioned. I am doing the same thing with film making, so watch your ass.

Not really. I’m kidding.

I am not in competition with you. At all. I firmly believe that when someone succeeds in our community of film makers it brings us all up to a higher level and opens up further opportunities to ply our craft. If you can’t do that, I will do it for you. Or rather, I should say my team will do it for you.  I have surrounded myself with others who know a little, but are learning, quickly. I have also reached out to people who actually do know things: start-up consultants and web design specialists, project managers from other industries, transmedia visionaries and experienced directors, degree-holding assholes who can identify a problem with my product in a matter of moments. You should thank me. I am doing all the hard work for you.

So let’s all stop blowing smoke up each other’s asses, shall we? I can identify bullshit from a thousand yards, and believe me, this town reeks like a Texas feed lot in the dead of summer. That distributor you keep hinting about that you are in negotiations with? Never happened. The cloak of legitimacy you shroud yourself in as you sagely hold forth on the proper way of doing things? Give me a break. I’ve seen your work. It’s terrible. I wouldn’t have said anything, but you were being such a dick and elevating yourself above me that I had to let you have it. What have I done that’s so great, you ask? Not much. The difference between you and me is that I’m honest about it. And I’m honest about what I’ve got going on. Let the work speak for itself, I say. That goes for all of us, myself included.

Join me, won’t you? Join me in admitting that we don’t know all there is to know, but that we are committed to learning. Be my comrade in the trenches of obscurity. We both know that no one is looking for us. Some day we may make it. Probably not. But in the mean time we can have a shitload of fun.

That I know for sure.

1 Comment

  1. Amen!
    This might be the most honest and important blog post about filmmaking, art or anything I’ve ever read.
    I feel (and act) the very same way you do but never thought about it as elaborately as you did here.
    Nice job, thanks for that!

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