16 December 2009

Learn to Lose Like Indiana Jones

by Tyler Weaver.  Follow me on Twitter.

I am doubtlessly under-qualified to be espousing thoughts on film careers.  Mine is in its nascent stages, but I've been in the arts for most of my life, be it as a drummer, an orchestral musician, a composer, a writer, or a filmmaker, and I've been asked by family members and friends and former students for any advice I can give them regarding a career in the arts.

The most important lesson: learn to lose like Indiana Jones - failing repeatedly, yet always dusting yourself off, picking up your hat, and going back at it.

I've had more false starts, putdowns, hard knocks, and interference in the four years since I ended my time as a composer and began as a filmmaker than I care to remember.  But with each failure came the realization that the only failure in failure is the failure to learn from your failures.

Like the characters we create, why do we dust ourselves off and pick ourselves up?  Because in the overarching script of our lives, this is what we have to do.  We love the work.  I know I do - even though I loathe every second I'm writing.  It's a love-hate relationship of intense distrust, disdain, and necessity.

Those that don't learn to lose will never succeed.  Because the ultimate success is in the act of doing what we love - not in living up to our own (or other's) aspirations of greatness and practicing Oscar speeches.

It's a hard lesson to learn, but one that is essential.  It is not merely a lesson - it is a dramatic shift in mindset from what we've been told is the measure of success (the endgame, the profits, the statues) to what we must ultimately believe is success - doing something we love, and getting knocked down, bloodied, and beaten, but coming back for more.


Anonymous said...


I have a folder nearly bursting with rejections. I also have a folder with the various contracts for my work over the years. The longer I'm at it, the more the latter folder grows. The rejections never go away, but they do slow down.

A good author/friend of mine has a saying: "There's a word for a writer who never gives up: 'Published.'"

Joanna D'Angelo said...

Well said! I think the fact that we sit alone in front of our computer screens for hours on end with only our thoughts to keep us company can certainly lead people to ask, "Why in God's name would you put yourself through such torture?". I ask myself that every day - when I struggle to shape something out of the words that flow from my brain. You're right - there is something deeper driving us - something that compels us to write - some need to convey the darker/lighter side of this crazy, mixed up human experience that we share. Thanks for the post. ;)

dpbaker said...

Great post!

I have had many ups and downs in the last 15 years pursuing this biz. I have punched the door to break until my hands bleed, and my head cracks.

I have taken it sides ways, from the front, bottom, shot at it, blow torched it, tried to blow it up, ram it, you name.

I guess you could call me a failure if I have not opened it yet. In reality, all the years of failure and persistance have turned me into an iron man.

They have made me the person I need to be, if I am going to even attempt to go into the big arena and try to play there.

If some just gave me the key from the start, and I walk in. I got to the "destination" of bullshit dreams and illusions that most dream off, I wouldnt be alive at the other side of that door. Not in spirit anyway.

And I would not last 5 minutes in the arena that I want to go into.
The hundreds of little failures, false starts, set backs are teaching me the right way to do it the next time. They have armour plated me

A lot of society takes itself too serious to make mistakes. To fail. That's its downfall. Play it safe, don't fail? No, play it safe and die with a waste soul.

Love this Rossevelt speech

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