Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘failure’

“To do any kind of creative work well, you have to run at stuff knowing that it’s usually going to fail. You have to take that into account and you have to make peace with it. We spend a lot of money and time on stuff that goes nowhere. It’s not unusual for us to go through 25 or 30 ideas and then go into production on eight or 10 and then kill everything but three or four. In my experience, most stuff that you start is mediocre for a really long time before it actually gets good. And you can’t tell if it’s going to be good until you’re really late in the process. So the only thing you can do is have faith that if you do enough stuff, something will turn out great and really surprise you…I register the danger that it might not work. But honestly sometimes you have to just do it. There are definitely interviews that we all go into knowing, ‘Ehhhhh , here’s all the things that can go wrong and here’s the one or two things that it can go right.’ And you just gotta do it…I had this experience a couple of years ago where I got to sit in on the editorial meeting at the Onion . Every Monday they have to come up with like 17 or 18 headlines, and to do that, they generate 600 headlines per week. I feel like that’s why it’s good: because they are willing to be wrong 583 times to be right 17. It kind of gives you hope. If you do creative work, there’s a sense that inspiration is this fairy dust that gets dropped on you, when in fact you can just manufacture inspiration through sheer brute force. You can simply produce enough material that the thing will arrive that seems inspired.”
Ira Glass, Host & Executive Producer of This American Life
Interview with Kathryn Schulz

Read Full Post »

“Prior to creating my first television show, Public Morals, I made eleven movies in twenty years, and half were considered failures…If you allow yourself to get crippled by the possibility of failure, you’re going to rob yourself of a lot of great experiences. There are very few great films, but something great, be it a new relationship or learning a new technology, has always come from my experiences making films even if the film itself was disappointing.”
Filmmaker Edward Burns (Sidewalks of New York)
Independent Ed, Inside a career of big dreams, little movies, and the twelve best says of my life

In his book (which I highly recommend), Burns points out that several of his key filmmaking partners to this day came from his less than successful movie Looking for Kitty (2004).

P.S. Burns’ first Tv show, Public Morals, debuts in August on TNT. Steven Spielberg (who directed Burns in Saving Private Ryan) is the executive producer.

Related posts:
Tennessee Williams on ‘Apparent Failure’
Who to Blame for Your Failures
‘Failure is an option.’
Commitment in the Face of Failure
Failing—Learning—Succeeding
Hollywood Failure—Robert Altman
Susannah Grant on Failure
Aaron Sorkin on Failure
Spectacular Failures
J.K. Rowling on the Benefits of Failure

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“I attempted to write my first novel when I was twenty-four. Bagger Vance[my first published book] came out when I was fifty-one.

“Twenty-seven years is a long time to labor without success. Can you imagine how many times I was taken aside by spouse, lovers, family, and friends and given ‘the talk?’ Can you imagine how many times I gave it to myself?”
Steve Pressfield (The Legend of Bagger Vance)
My Overnight Success

There’s no guarantee that if you plug way at writing for basically three decades that you’ll eventually not only become a published author, but  also see your first published book turned into a movie starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, Chalize Theron and directed by Robert Redford—but it’s nice to point out when it happens.

In his post Pressfield expands on his “nearly three-decade odyssey” by offering some nuggets like:
1. It’s hard.
2. You gotta be a little crazy.
3. It’s worth it. 

But he also says that it wasn’t all wilderness;

“Within those twenty-seven years, I earned a living for at least a dozen as a professional writer. I worked in advertising. I had a career as a screenwriter. And I spent six years writing unpublishable novels (which counts as work too.)

“In other words the process, although it had many crazy and desperate years, was simply one of relentless, diligent labor and self-education. I was failing. But I was learning. By the time, twenty-seven years in, when I sat down to write The Legend of Bagger Vance, I was a seasoned pro who understood the principles of storytelling, who possessed abundant self-discipline, and who had had enough success in related fields to tackle this particular enterprise with confidence.”
Steve Pressfield

Check out the full My Overnight Success article as well as his book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Winn Your Innner Creative Battles. 

Happy New Year.

Related posts:
Bob DeRosa’s ‘Shortcuts’
Beatles, Cody, King & 10,000 Hours
Tennessee Williams on ‘Apparent failure’
‘Failure is an Option’
Aaron Sorkin on Failure
Overnight Success“It doesn’t seem that long ago I had hopes of being the hot kid, selling my first story in ’51 when I was 25. I got on the cover of Newsweek in April 1985, and was seen as an overnight success after little more than thirty years.”—Elmore Leonard
Spectacular Failures 

P.S. Countdown to 2000th special post on January 22, 2015—11 posts

Scott W. Smith

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Since this is the last day of spring 2014, I thought I’d do a little spring cleaning and doing something I don’t often do–write two posts in one day. (There may even be a third one later.) But in light of yesterday’s post (Susannah Grant on Failure) by the screenwriter of Erin Brockovich, I thought I’d sneak in this quote I read in last Sunday’s NY Times that was part of a graduation speech at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“Failure is going to be a part of the process. You’re all here because you’re good at not failing, right? This is the culmination of doing a great job at not failing. There are no G.P.A.s after this. There’s going to be lots of setbacks. There’s going to be lots of failures. No one introduces me as the founder of My Mobile Menu, also known as Mmm, because that was the company we started before Reddit, Steve [Huffman] and I started that, and for a year and a half worked on something that went nowhere. But that’s O.K. Failure is an option.”
Alexis Ohanian
The 31-year-old co-founder of Reddit (one of the 50 biggest websites in the United States)
New York Times
Sunday June 15, 2014

P.S. Just to tie in a great filmmaker born in Kenosha, WI—who knew both success and failure in his career —read the post Screenwriting Quote #38 (Orson Welles).

Related post:
The Shakespeare of Hollywood spent part of his childhood not far from Kenosha in Racine, WI.
J.K. Rowling on the Benefits of Failure

Scott W. Smith

 

Read Full Post »

A nice segue from my recent Rod Serling posts (and even my golf/movie related posts from a couple of weeks ago) is the following quote by Oscar-winner screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Serling was born in Syracuse, New York and Sorkin went to Syracuse University.

“I have a lot of experience with failure, and I hate it. It’s going to happen again, but it’s like electroshock therapy. So combined with the pressure that you put on yourself, that’s pretty much the jet fuel for writing. You know when you’re not [writing well], when you’re slogging through it and it’s all coming like molasses, you know something’s wrong. But when you’re writing well, there’s nothing like it. It’s like the golfer who hacks his way around a golf course all day long, but then for some reason, you don’t know why, just hits a beautiful shot. That’s the reason they keep coming back to the golf course.”
Aaron Sorkin (West Wing creator)
Emmys Roundtable—The Hollywood Reporter 

Bonus failure quote from the same article:

“When I’m being really honest with myself, the only thing I ever learn from is failure. Because Breaking Bad is the rare success I’ve had in my career.”
Vince Gilligan

Related posts:

J.K. Rowling on the Benefits of Failure
Commitment in the Face of Failure
Spectacular Failures
Rod Serling on Rejection
Winning. Losing and Little Miss Sunshine “From my perspective, the difference between success and failure was razor-thin…”—Oscar-winning Screenwriter Michael Arndt
Orson Welles at USC in 1981 (Part 3) “Anybody who goes into film has to be a little crazy. And has to be ready for every kind of disappointment and defeat.”—Welles

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“The toughest athlete in the world is a 62 year-old woman.”
D.L. Stewart, Dayton Daily News

“It was an old dream. It was lingering for so long—three decades ago . The only world-class swim that I had sort of tried and failed at in my early 20s was going from Cuba to Florida. It was deep in my imagination. No one has ever done it without a shark cage. It’s daunting. It’s more than a hundred miles across a difficult passage of ocean. It’s probably at my speed and my age—for anybody’s speed at anybody’s age—is goning to take 60 maybe 70 hours of continuous swimming. Never getting out on the boat. And I started to train. I hadn’t swum for 31 years—not a stroke.”
Diana Nyad
TED talk 2012

After 41 hours and being stung by box jellyfish Nyad’s “dream was crushed” when she aborted the swim from Cuba to Florida in 2011. She had actually failed to swim from Cuba to Key West back in 1978 when she was 28-years-old. She failed again in a  2010 attempt. And in 2012—she failed again. So on August 31, 2013—at the age of 64—when she stepped into the water in Havana, Cuba it was her fifth attempt at dream more than three decades old. A dream to do something no one had ever done before.

Today at 1:55 pm SDT she successful completed the marathone swim and walked to shore at Key West after 53 hours of continual swimming and had just enough energy left to give three messages:
1) We should never, ever give up
2) You’re never too old to chase your dreams
3) It looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team

Congrats to Nyad and her team.  And thanks for the inspirational story.

Scott W. Smith

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: