Excluding two years of film school, I've been making films for six years. Not an overwhelming amount of time, I'll grant you, but in a life of only 33 years, not insignificant either.
Recently, I was asked by a film student to be interviewed for his course work. I was flattered, of course, but another part of me seriously doubted what insights I could provide. Six years is not twenty, after all.
The great thing about wisdom though, is that often you don't need to invent it.
So, after internalising my doubt, bordering on guilt for saying yes, I suddenly had a breakthrough. I remembered one of the first pearls of advice I ever received, from someone far more experienced than me.
I was pestering her about writing, still enamoured of the sorcery that writers perform with regularity; turning the clouds of thought and lightning of inspiration into something real.
She glared at me, weary of my inquisition, and distilled something so complicated into a diamond of simplicity.
"Don''t over-think it" she said.
"Writers write. Producers produce. Directors direct"
Sadly, I wasn't sharp enough to comprehend her subtext. Thankfully, she was generous enough to elaborate.
"So many people call themselves writers, but they don't type a word. And I can't even count the number of producers who never make a thing. Plus the only directors worth their salt are the ones who have a pathological focus on directing. No distractions."
It seems ludicrously simple, but time and time again, in the years that followed, I have found these rudimentary concepts to be true.
I have met and spoken, many times, with a "writer" who rarely sits down to write.
I've interacted with "producers" who spend all their time in meetings, never delivering a thing.
And I've had drinks with at least one "director", who last directed something in their mandatory film school project.
Writers write. Producers produce. Directors direct.
It's so simple, yet the litmus test by which so many alleged creatives fail.
Don't over-think it.
Do the work.
P.S. thanks to Sonny for the inspiration, the 'Daily Word Counts Of 39 Famous Authors'. Worth a read.
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