About two years ago, I posted something on the site that seemed pretty insightful. These days, I'm pretty sure it was misleading advice. So let's set the record straight.
The article was a take on the old saying, "do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life."
The idea is simple and attractive.
If you genuinely love the process of filmmaking, you'll stick with it and make more films.
And if you make more films, your chances of being successful go way up.
To take it even further, if you love the process enough, you'll be better prepared to deal with the adversity that come with filmmaking.
So not only will you make more films, but you'll be hardened against obstacles you'll undoubtedly face.
Makes sense, right?
So the advice was, learn to love the process. Participate in the process for its own sake, and try to divorce yourself from the results.
Because if you can learn how to do that (which isn't easy), you can reap those benefits, and the results will eventually take care of themselves.
Oh how naive I was.
How this advice sets us up for disappointment
I've since come to realize that there's a bit of truth to "learning to love the process," but the advice is bad in one key way.
It doesn't account for those times when the filmmaking process sucks ass.
It's such a ridiculous, unrealistic expectation to "love the process" at all times. Because no matter what anyone says, there are so many different aspects of making a film, and you won't love all of them.
Which has been a big realization for me, because I honestly felt broken for believing that I didn't love the craft enough.
I wanted to follow my own advice, but I just couldn't force myself to love every little piece of it.
Sure, parts of the filmmaking process can be super fun and rewarding and creative.
But some parts of the process are downright painful, depending on your disposition.
- Ask basically any writer ever, and they'll tell you they hate writing, but they love having written.
- And I don't know about you, but I find most pre-production tasks to be tedious and time-consuming and frustrating.
- Not to mention, almost every step of production and post is fraught with complications and obstacles and setbacks. (I find those fun, but there are still times where I want to pull my hair out and give up.)
- And if you happen to finish a film or series, you can bet your ass that marketing and distributing it will be a painful process.
There are plenty more examples too. Maybe you like the idea of production design, but you don't much care for the day-to-day work of building sets and props.
Maybe you want to be a great producer, but you're such a creative introvert that dealing with people and money and logistics nonstop wears you down.
But you know what, we do these things anyway.
Regardless of how much or how little we "love the process."
Because stories are part of our DNA, and we're driven to tell the ones we care about, no matter the cost.
Because we're driven to create, to make things, to put our own little dent in the universe, no matter how small it is.
Because deep down we know that life isn't about comfort, and it's not about doing what's easy.
Instead, we intuitively understand that life is growth.
And the best, most meaningful growth comes from pushing through discomfort, through pain, and coming out the other side of it with something to show for it.
In that way, the films we finish and put out are like battle scars.
They're a piece of us. They show the world that we have what it takes to push through the pain and get it done.
So no, you don't have to "love the process."
You just have to have a deep desire to create.
There will be discomfort. There will be adversity. There will be pain.
But that's ok.
Because you're going to come out the other side stronger and more capable.
And you'll have some awesome scars to show for it.
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