Lesson Number One: There Are No Film Prodigies

By  · Published on January 18th, 2017

A new video looks at how failures make for the finest features.

Behind every great filmmaker there’s a really shitty filmmaker, and spoiler alert, they’re the same person. That’s because there’s no such thing as an overnight success when it comes to film, there are no film savants, no film prodigies. While it might be something people have a natural passion for, there’s simply no such thing as a natural talent for filmmaking, it is a skill both technical and creative and as such it must be learned and practiced and progressed over years through a series of small attempts, a lot of which are abject failures.

See, we judge filmmakers by what they put up on the silver screen, and that’s fair, but it’s not complete. A first feature is very, very rarely a director’s first time using a camera, the path to it is paved by shorter works that help build a skillset that once honed can be deployed on a larger subject. Tarantino made My Best Friend’s Birthday years before his first feature, and the utter disaster of that experience changed him into the man who made Reservoir Dogs. This is not uncommon. Pick any director, any director whatsoever – Kubrick, Scorsese, Coppola, Nolan, even director du jour Damien Chazelle – and take a look at what came before their big break and I guarantee what you’re going to find is a lot of trial and error.

On the one-year anniversary of his channel The Royal Ocean Film Society, editor Andrew Saladino walks us through this concept – that there are no film prodigies – and provides plenty of examples to support his theory. It’s a reminder that even the biggest talents start out clueless and will themselves proficient by honing their passion into practice and their dreams into a discipline. If you’re a struggling creative type in any field, this video is the uplifting kick in the ass you need to remind you that success only comes after plenty of failure, and that’s exactly what makes success meaningful and failure valuable.

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