Friday 5 February 2010

Building Awareness Around The Pressure To Succeed.

The society we live in isn't one that celebrates creativity. Most upcoming filmmakers and actors would love to be able to work on the projects that excite them, and just do whatever creatively drives them. That is what it would be to be truly creative. However, in modern Western society - we are success-oriented. The values of our friends, families and the people we come into contact with are based on achievement and succeeding.

Have you been in anything I would have seen? Are you a millionaire yet?

This is a giant pressure on the back of someone trying to make it in the arts. It's my theory that, anyone who hasn't 'made it' in the Spielberg-called-and-offered-you-a-million sense is rarely going to find time to relax. Ever.

You might sit down to watch a movie. But you only allow yourself to do it because it's helpful to your career. Even if you sit down for a glass of wine, your mind says Do you have any script ideas? Are you calling that producer tomorrow? Don't you need more money? What if Dad asks 'how is work?'

And you never really relax. Your body might, occasionally, be quite still - but you keep chugging away. When your body stops running around for the day, your mind keeps going.

I've also found that most people have a body symptom which represents this. Might be a nervous twitch, or a constant headache. It's something that says "hey, you're not taking care of yourself."

We all fight to make it in this industry. We work hard. And when we don't work, we're still on the go-- defending ourselves to people and plotting career paths.

Just yesterday, during a meal, I was telling my friends a funny story about when I went to the cinema with a friend the other day; and right in the middle of the story a guy who is one of my best friends stopped me and said "Hold on, you went to see a film in the middle of the day?". The meaning of course being, "hold on, I work 9-5 every day and work really hard and you just float around and work 1 hour a month?" -- The defences go up, you're under attack. You deal with it. And then you have a toothache, or a headache, or something-- some little part of you that holds in all the crap that just needs to be released and would be released if you would JUST RELAX.

In terms of success in our industry, and doing it healthily - I really think you need to prescribe some TRUE RELAXATION.

There is a collective pressure from everyone around you to live in the way society expects, to go out, earn your money, pay your bills. That is not quite how it works for people with the artistic sensibility.

You need to go to the cinema.
You need to spend a day scribbling.
You need to spend a day laying on your bed talking to yourself.
You need to sing out loud.

You must not feel guilty about these things.

What did you do today?

I didn't do anything.

We need to be able to do that.

Rest does not need to be justified. If your girlfriend comes home from working in the supermarket and she's grumpy as hell because she worked eleven hours and the boss was horrible, that is sad, it's terrible and needs addressing - but it is not your fault. You are still allowed a day to watch movies.

Most people rest on a Sunday. You might rest on a Tuesday. It's fine.

Rest. Truly rest. Don't justify it. Don't explain it. Don't say "I've just been reading up on stuff and writing to people and applying for stuff." Feel that pressure but RISE ABOVE IT.

Breath. Lay Down. Take a break - you deserve it. You've not had a rest in five years.

Care to share?


  1. Agreed. Even watching a movie is work - you look at how it is shot, how it is directed, etc. etc. It's like homework. A bad movie that is in 349858945 theaters or a bad movie that's in a similar style as yours is even more stressful, because it makes you think "Man, that's not fair. I wouldn't screw it up like them." It's draining.

    I picked up video games again. It is good to have escapism once in awhile. You can't work all day. Most of us have a full time job and do our creative stuff in the other hours. Couple that with a girlfriend/wife, maybe kids... It's tough. I'm against 24/7 escapism, but it's not bad to get your mind off of things for awhile.

  2. I love how you make creative people a different sect of humans- we ARE wired differently!

    My dad is all numbers and logic but he has always been so super proud of how I can weave words together and create.

    Unless we have a support team and a way to decompress, it really does feel like one very long failure between jobs.


  3. I love not having to do the 9 to 5 thing :)

  4. Amen

    P.S Thanks for your kind comment =)

  5. Hear hear!

    When people ask me the "you saw a movie in the middle of the day?" question I just go "YUP! Isn't it great to be a student filmmaker? Totally puts your business administration shenanigans to shame!"

  6. true, true.
    thanks for your comment! i'm sure the guy meant to leave his tape in the car :) bahaha, he wants me.

  7. I am so passing this post along to my workaholic editor boyfriend.