I don’t think anyone can be successful in filmmaking if they fail first. In fact, I believe that failure is part of the process, as well as an opportunity to improve and grow as an artist if you can find creative space in the medium. If you don’t know how to properly get the most out of what you’re producing, how can you possibly make it successful?
You have to go through that first round of filmmaking where you have no idea what you’re doing—no idea how to turn your camera a certain way, how to properly create tension and emotion and story, and how to get your cinematography and editing into the right place without falling into the traps of Hollywood. When you don’t have that, everything about what you’re doing, from what you’re shooting to your sound design—everything is a guess. And then we also come to a point where you can’t continue working that way, because of what you know. So, you either change or you get away from film as a profession.
I think what makes this different from a lot of things you read about is that I’m talking about learning as an art form, whereas Hollywood just happens. That being said, once you begin to do your research, you realize that the industry is in a weird situation from a storytelling perspective. You’re creating something, but you’re not in control of the storytelling. You’re working with directors and executive producers who don’t truly understand how storytelling is created. You’re in a position where you’re creating something, but not in control of it or being able to influence it at the same time.
It’s a strange situation. It’s a bit like, when you’re building a house, you’re trying to figure out what the best way to build it is—how do I get around the roof? And then you eventually find a way to get to the corner of the house that doesn’t completely destroy the whole structure. It’s the same thing with filmmaking. You try to create some story, but don’t have the control.
I remember when I first started making movies, I read scripts for films that I’d previously made. And when I was making The Room I read scripts that had scripts that I’d written. I was like, “Wow, that was different.” There was a period in my career when I thought the way I did movies was weird, but then all of a sudden I had one of the great career trajectories. Now, I make movies with a
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