Thursday, October 29, 2009

If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough. Today I'm failing spectacularly.

What a week. I spent the past four days working with some footage I shot just before I left for New York, testing a new film technique I came up with.

And it's not coming together.

The idea's there, but the process isn't working the way I imagined.

It's enough to make me feel sorry for myself. I spent a lot of time and effort designing the test. And dropped a bunch of cash to rent the equipment and hire a crew. That's money I could have spent to take my wife on vacation. My wife deserves a vacation. She hasn't had one since before the kids were born.

As I shut down the computer to head home, I had an epiphany. I realized that I haven't accomplished nothing after all. I've accomplished something much more important. I've failed.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Brian, you're an idiot. Failure is not a good thing."

You're wrong. Failure is a good thing. It's not the best thing. Success, that's the best thing. But failure is the second-best thing. What's bad is not trying.

If everything works out every single time, it isn't hard. And if it isn't hard, what makes you think you're any good?

Directing, by the way, is hard. Inventing a film technique that nobody's ever done before is harder. And putting the two together into something that's worth watching, that's just stupid hard.

So it's no wonder I didn't nail it.

And no, I'm not making excuses. I wish everything had come together the way I imagined it. I have that fantasy, too, you know. The same one you have where you pick up the phone to hear Steven Spielberg on the other end, begging you to tell him how the hell you did it.

Not going to happen. Yet.

But I'm going to go back and work on it some more. Eventually, it'll work. And if it doesn't, something else will.

When that happens, I'm going to be so fucking good at what I do that it's going to look easy. But you know what? It won't be. Unless you're me.

And I'll know that whatever success comes from it comes from skill, not luck.


  1. It's funny because I just had a conversation with my professor about this. He wants me to shoot a feature and I told him that I am used shorts and was (to be honest) scared to do it. He told me that failure is the exact reason I should do it. If I fail down here in the Valley where no one will care, by the time I go a shoot a actual film I won't make any of the same mistakes. Failure leads to success if you learn from your mistakes.

  2. Your professor is right. Make the feature.

    You won't make the same mistakes the next time. You get to make new ones.

  3. Great post post Brian--thank you..If you send me an address, I'll send you some chocolate, while you plot your next move towards victory..

  4. You're an ace. Thank you for this.

  5. Thanks for the nice words. And I won't say no to chocolate. Our spacious headquarters are at 2505 SE 11th Ave., Suite 348, Portland, OR 97202.