“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong”-Joseph Chilton Pearce.
Being creative can be hard work. Hard to get the words onto the screen for that next draft, hard to get the confidence to write the book, launch the blog, heck even write that funny tweet. Creatives are riddled with self doubt. Fact.
The quicker you realise this, understand it’s part of the process and push through it anyway, the better. Get positive. Start believing in yourself or just pretend you do, and others will follow suit.
Self-belief, tenacity (and talent of course, which can be honed, built on and improved) will lead you to success. True story.
The first time on set as a director, aged 22 for my MA graduation film Rifts was pretty ‘sh** your pants scary’ (and no, I didn’t). A directing virgin, I had to lead a crew of 100 professional crew (as part of the MA, I had to be the only student) and I remember thinking on my first day that this would be as much a performance for me as the actors.
Yes I was prepared as much as you can be (read-throughs, improvisation sessions, rehearsals, shot lists written, storyboards drawn) but it was a huge, massive, head first leap into the deep end, make that, shark invested waters kind of time. My degree, my future career, what felt like my whole life ,depended on that short film (Oh and the mere £12,000 of other people’s money I’d raised to make it).
I did it though and I’m proud of that short. It won awards, caught the attention of the film industry and was undoubtedly the start of my career. Ten years later, my creative life is coming full circle as it is that film which is the basis of an idea optioned by a leading production company that I’m developing for TV. It’s tells the story of warring kebab shop owners in London.
You can watch the film by clicking shorts and RIFTS on my film site HERE.
So, I’m glad I felt the fear and did it anyway. My whole career seems to return to those unsettling waters, hinging on that ‘positive (sometimes kidding myself) I can do it’ attitude.
…Later, after a year’s apprenticeship at a major film company and distributors, post MA, I left to embark on a freelance writing and directing career. Scary, nerve racking times again with no guarantee of work.
My experienced film colleagues advised me to always tell people that, ‘I’m a director’ not a budding director but ‘a director’. It was the best advice anyone’s ever given me. It got me an agent, meetings, teaching and lecturing work in between gigs, funding for my next film and on-going commissions.
If you take yourself seriously, others will too. Simple. Yes the self doubt is always there bubbling away (I’d be concerned if it wasn’t-even Scorcese said he feels it before each film), the worry that people/the audience/your readers won’t appreciate, agree, enjoy your voice, your work, your take on life. And that’s OK. The arts are subjective. Not everyone will like your work, your voice, your blog. Or you. Deal with it. Take criticism. Learn. Retain your voice though and be true to you.
But before all that, to even get you there, you simply need to believe you can do and be prepared to slog, push and improve to reach your goals.
Ignore those negative voices in your head, silence them, envisage you doing it, in order to DO IT otherwise you never will and you’ll always wonder ‘what if’.
I think throughout my career, I’ve always pushed myself a little too far when it came to directing work so the majority of new commissions usually felt that bit out of my depth urging me to rise to the challenge, learn new things, raise the odds, reap the rewards.
I’m pleased to say these gigs, so far, have pretty much turned out well (just don’t ask me about a Sci Fi short film I made-non commissioned which I think I might have accidentally burnt to smithereens).
Sci-Fi is definitely not for me (and I knew it before I even made that film) yet I probably learnt more on that shoot where everything went wrong (filming under flight paths anyone?) than on all the successfully executed shoots that came before it, and since. I also learnt to trust my instinct more than ever. An important lesson.
So say ‘no’ when viscerally it doesn’t feel right, and don’t accept work you know in your heart isn’t for you, because part of being creative means needing to be slightly in love with what you do, or finding enough love for the projects you agree to, in order to make them work and put bread on the table.
That how I feel about my blogging work and anything creative I put my mind too.
Oh and remember that those commissions, publishing deals, finished films, award winning blogs take time. So have courage, stick with it. Dream big. Work hard.
You can do it. I promise.
Vicki’s filmmaking website.
Vicki Psarias is also a professional blogger here and at mummysgotstyle.com. Vicki is also a multi-award winning screenwriter and director, making TV drama, documentaries, short films, music videos and commercials.
Her work has screened on British, French and US TV, along with screenings at international film festivals.
Just a Few of my Favourite Books:
For All writers/budding writers:
Becoming A Writer-Dorethea Brande
The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
Writing the Romantic Comedy-Billy Mernit.
On Directing Film-David Mamet