This Video Will Make You Feel Better About Not Making Good Films
There's no such thing as a born filmmaker.
If you're a filmmaker, whether you've been at it for 20 years or 20 minutes, you most likely have some serious doubts about your ability to make quality films. It's understandable; we watch the movies of our favorite directors, compare them to our own and get bummed out that we weren't born film prodigies like them. But this video from the Royal Ocean Film Society wants to assure you that there is no such thing as a born filmmaker and that even the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Richard Linklater, and Martin Scorsese struggled just like we all do at the beginning of their film careers to close "the gap" between their abilities and their ambitions.
The lesson of this video might be one of the most important you'll ever learn as a filmmaker because it combats the very thing that drives people to quit the craft all together: self-doubt.
At the beginning of our film careers, we're passionately in love with cinema, churning out work like it's going out of style, not really thinking a whole hell of a lot whether it's good or not. And then, a few years pass and that passionate love matures, opening the door for our inner critic to come out, judge our films, and make us question if we really have what it takes to be a filmmaker.
I've heard it a thousand times, young filmmakers despondently comparing their amateur work to the masterpieces of veteran directors: "I'm never going to be as good as Kubrick." Well hey, young Kubrick wasn't even as good as Kubrick! He developed his skills over years and years of practice until his abilities eventually caught up with his cinematic vision.
This comment from Richard Linklater sums the whole point up perfectly:
The biggest misconception is people see someone's first film and they think that's what they did on their first day as a filmmaker...I've been at this years and years at this point. There's no overnight success. There's no idiot savant filmmakers. It's not gonna work like that. It's a lot of work, and people don't want to hear that. They want to think, 'Oh, he just did it! Wow!'
Many of us, if we could, would lock up our first attempts at filmmaking in a vault and throw it into the ocean so we could sleep soundly at night knowing nobody will ever lay eyes on them, but those first films are so important. Instead of thinking of them as failures, think of them as your first love notes to cinema. Instead of thinking of them as evidence of your inability to navigate this creative terrain, think of them as your first steps as a cinematic baby.
In the end, it's not what people are born with that makes them good. It's the years and years of dedication and practice.