We are always interested to read advice of creative, original thinkers AND to see what of their wisdom we DON’T buy. We’ve learned the hard way that one size does not fit all. If we are going to forge our unique path, we’d do well to try out what we’re not sure of, embrace what works or rings true, and say no to what doesn’t.

Which is exactly what we did with the great Werner Herzog’s 24 compelling rules for filmmakers, found on the back of his latest book Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed

We’ve bold-faced the 16 we find to be dead YES’s. We see some of Herzog’s language— “nights in jail”…”bolt cutters” — as potent metaphors; taken that way, they resonate strongly. The rest well…some of them are just plain NOT for us. (Our annotations are in italics):

—Always take the initiative.
NOT. Sometimes its hugely illuminating to follow someone else’s lead.

—There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
   We take this as a powerful metaphor for paying dues or withstanding the pain it can take to make a piece of art.

—Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey. 

—Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
   Who doesn’t wallow at some time? We figure it’s part of the creative process, as is finding ways out of the    hole. Being able to tell someone of our despair can be incredibly liberating. 

—Learn to live with your mistakes.

—Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
    Yeah, okay.

—That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.

—There is never an excuse not to finish a film.

—Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
We view “bolt cutters” as a way to cut through obstruction. 

— Thwart institutional cowardice.

— Ask for forgiveness, not permission.

—Take your fate into your own hands.
    Good on the face of it. But we’ve never been sure that our fate IS in our own hands, that it is that simple. We’re getting into the big mysteries here. We’ve gotten as far as “take actions toward our dreams”. 

—Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.

—Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.

—Walk straight ahead, never detour.
   NOT. We find unexpected detours often incredibly illuminating. 

— Maneuver and mislead, but always deliver.
    WTF? We’re pondering this combo platter.

—Don’t be fearful of rejection.

—Develop your own voice.

—Day one is the point of no return.

—A badge of honor is to fail at a film theory class.

— Chance is the lifebloodof cinema

—Guerrilla tactics are best.

—Take revenge if need be.
    NOT. Our experience is that “revenge” is often taken care of by life, down the line…We don’t have to.

—Get used to the bear behind you. Our favorite! YES!YES!YES!


Which are your YES’s and NO’s and MAYBE’s?


Get used to the bear W. Herzog


via Open Culture via Kottke

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