How do you all learn and grow from your mistakes? (4 replies and 8 comments)
I suppose the first step is to acknowledge that the work is bad, and you can’t really look at it anymore because it’s cringe-inducing. That may not be the case for everyone, but it is for me.
I looked up an article from Forbes...
- Acknowledge Your Errors.
- Ask Yourself Tough Questions.
- Make A Plan.
- Make It Harder To Mess Up.
- Create A List Of Reasons Why You Don't Want To Make The Mistake Again.
- Move Forward With Your New-Found Wisdom.
Just curious how a bumbling amateur turns it around and becomes a true professional. And I know the answer isn’t as simple as “make more films” , because lots of filmmakers stay stuck in the place of suck and never get out. Sadly, it’s either lack of necessary talent or the person refuses to FIX their errors.
Sometimes I think I was TOO cautious but the way I learned early on was to make very short films that tested a simple concept or technique. I made a short film that was mostly shot with silhouettes and had a constantly moving camera, all centered around the theme of time. I made another short film that was all about intercutting two lines of actions that converge, with the editing getting faster and faster -- a thriller. I made another short that was all about creating a feeling of romance. They were all experiments and most not worth showing people but they taught me a lot about telling stories visually (since none of them had dialogue, just music.) A lot of my ideas ran along the lines of "how do I create the feeling of dread?", "how to I make an ordinary activity seem epic?"
Talent makes things easier but if you don't work at it, you won't get far -- ultimately people that apply themselves and work hard will succeed more often than someone coasting on talent. However, everyone is also subject to the whims of fate, i.e. luck. All you can do is prepare yourself to take advantage of opportunity when or if it arrives.
Self-criticism, self-evaluation, self-awareness is important but I think most artistic types tend to have those personality traits... in that they see in their minds certain lofty goals, a high level of work, and usually find themselves failing to achieve them to their satisfaction, so they keep trying. You might read or re-read Robert Browning's poem "Andrea del Sarto", about (perhaps) the fourth-best painter of his day (in the group just below Raphael, Leonardo, and Michelangelo) -- it's about his frustrations of being not as good as he could have been... part of the his musings:
I, painting from myself and to myself,
Know what I do, am unmoved by men's blame
Or their praise either. Somebody remarks
Morello's outline there is wrongly traced,
His hue mistaken; what of that? or else,
Rightly traced and well ordered; what of that?
Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for? All is silver-grey,
Placid and perfect with my art: the worse!
Yes, it's amazing that you realized that quite at an early age. To create a feeling, finding ways to create a thriller, a fast pace, and rhythm. I realize I wasn't doing any of that, just now when I read your post. When there's no kind of purpose or aim the whole thing feels uninteresting, it doesn't grab you and you lose the audience with the first image. It's the consequence of not using the visual language of cinema and relying on words. There has to be a balance, so I know I've been overwriting stilted horrible dialogue.
I've been watching a lot of short films lately. I saw this 2 minute short by Roman Polanski, it has no sound or dialogue, and it's basically about a peeping Tom. It's very short but it's absolutely brilliant! I mean that in the technical effort and he's focusing on telling the audience something about this person with no words whatsoever, just using the visual language of cinema. I sort of realized I'm missing the point of it all, the ending is also quite funny. You just know when someone is touched by brilliance, and short films just aren't meant to be wordy or overloaded with "story", they exist in a pure cinematic space, where each frame tells a story and reveals character. Geniuses make it look so simple and easy.
It's amazing, it's really about asking what effect you want to create visually and achieving the effect by composition, but in a way that relates to the story. For instance, if I wanted to create the effect of love at first sight in a high school, there could be a shot of a high school girl looking at a boy from a distance, there would be cuts when they're glancing at each other, so it would go from long to eventually close-ups, maybe a slow-motion effect on the close-up. Just rely on the visuals. Hmmm, I'm going to try that on everything I do next! Why didn't I realize that sooner? :/
That sounds like a Claude Lelouch film to me, 'A Man and a Woman', 1966.
Now that is a beautifully shot filmj, if I may say so. Haunting music score, can never forget it.
The 1986 sequel was so unnecessary, but then it's nowhere as awful as the "Wings of Desire" sequel "Faraway, So Close."
I’ve never seen it. But I’m shooting tomorrow my third short film. I tried something different, I crossed out all dialogue and tried to visualize the story as opposed to have them talk it out. Making images tell the story. The Polanski short, I’ve been watching it over and over.
I could not disagree more, which just shows how different we all are. For me, 'A Man and a Woman' is all about style. Wender's 'Faraway, So Close' might not have been as good as 'Wings of Desire' but nonetheless I felt it was an interesting film.
"Faraway, So Close" had an intriguing premise - to show the pain of living as opposed to the joy of humanity that "Wings of Desire" was about. I wished the film followed through with that. Also, the first one was shot as a moody tone poem while the second had a bumbling caper plot. But it did have some great in-camera effects.
Wim Wenders' effort before "Faraway, So Close" was "Until the End of the World" and while both films shared convoluted storylines, the latter had some striking scenes and ideas.
I shot another short film and it was very rough, I’d be embarrassed to show the footage, but I guess the only good thing was that I wasn’t discouraged. I had an elaborate storyboard, but the room was too small and only had 3 hours of shooting. I think I’m better off trying to get into a film school.
I’ve actually seen 14-year olds do a much better job and that’s not a knock, I just noticed so many young people have become quite sophisticated in filming. I recall seeing a horror film shot by a 13 year old and he did an amazing job, I should find the film, I can still remember seeing it. It wasn’t bad.
But it was five years since I touched a camera, so what did I expect.