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You’ll Never Get It Right

A long Twitter exchange last week reminded me of a great, probably apocryphal story1

A famous director was being driven home from Paramount after a long day’s shooting. As they inched along Melrose, the director pointed at a burger joint on the corner and said, “I hate that place.”

I mean, I doubt a vegetarian would find much there, but still...
It doesn’t look that bad.

The driver asked why. The director said, “It’s when we drive past that I suddenly figure out how I should’ve shot today’s scenes.”

Like many of you, I write and direct short films on the side. For me, it usually takes about three months to figure out what I did wrong on set. I’m not sure whether it’s heartening or disheartening to know that, even when you make it to the big leagues, you’ll still not have any idea what you’re doing.

But there is a takeaway from this for everybody, from the lowliest PA to the biggest producer– don’t stop reflecting on the work you did. You might not be able to correct that day’s mistakes, but you can be sure not to make them tomorrow.

Tomorrow, you’ll make all new mistakes!

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. I think I read about it in Sidney Lumet’s fantastic Making Movies, but I’m not sure.
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2 Responses

  1. I don’t think of those any more as ‘mistakes’ (I think of my mistakes as MISTAKES!!) but those kinda things are more that once you get it in the can (I’m old) that tiny little prostate in your brain that blocks the idea bladder let’s go a bit and tells you, “You know what would have been really cool?”
    And you compare what you did with what you now think you shoulda did and the new did is much better. Keep your mouth shut, no one else will see past your idea prostate, and you can do better next time.

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