Do I Have the Right to Say What I Want to Say?

I’m one of those people who always thinks of a good comeback, the day after the conversation. One of the nice things about doing a blog is that you can talk about what you would have said.

About nine years ago, I did a workshop talking about my films. In the workshop, I wanted to explain what I was trying to accomplish with my films and what I learned from making them.

With the workshop, I wanted to encourage people to try to make films. I had started to make films in High School, but then stopped when I was in University. I didn’t try to make any films for another 14 years. The main reason I stopped was that I had reached a point where I felt I couldn’t go any further unless I felt I had something to say that people would listen to.

This was a big barrier to my creativity, and I got stalled on several projects because I was worried if what I had a worthy of sharing. I was able to overcome these fears and complete several films. This was one lesson I wanted to share in the workshop.

When I was talking about the struggles, one of the people taking the workshop interrupted me. They told me that I shouldn’t let that stop me because everyone had a right to say what they wanted to. I wasn’t an experienced public speaker and their comment caught me by surprise. I wasn’t sure how to respond, and so I just continued with my talk.

Looking back on this incident, I see that the person did not understand the point I was making. As I recall, some of the others in the workshop did react in a way that made me feel they had understood.

What I wish I had said was to point out that, I had in fact gone on to complete several films.

I would have liked to point out that I felt that if you don’t at some point in your filmmaking question if you should be saying what you are saying, then you are not pushing yourself to your limit. When I talked to Steve Hanon about this issue, he agreed that questioning if you should say what you want to is a necessary part of being creative.

I got thinking about this episode after I posted a comment to a LinkedIn forum on script writing.

I read that Alfred Hitchcock was asked why he remade “The Man Who Knew too Much”. His reply was that a talented amateur made the first version, while a seasoned professional made the second. What I keep in mind was that when he made the first version he had already made over 20 features and many people saw him as one of the best movie directors in the world.

If Hitchcock was only a talented amateur after 20 films, then I need to be much more humble about how good my work is. Several other posts agreed that the really good filmmakers and writers are always worried if their work is good enough.

This is another good reason to worry that your work is not worthy. That fear will drive you to higher goals. Someone who never worries if their work is good, will always be just a hack.

1 Comment

  1. Any serious artist, that is, an artist who is serious about pursuing their passion, wouldn’t stop. They may take an occasional rest from their work, or even leave it alone to re-energize their thought processes; but none of them can stop their brains from thinking about what their creativity is longing for: an outlet for what’s being formulated by that nagging inner voice.

    Doesn’t matter if anybody takes notice right away, if the artist is serious they will continue, and in the passing of time will build up quite a decent portfolio. Eventually, the right enterprise will come along and recognize not only the quantity of work, but the quality as well. Which is an avenue the dabbler could never navigate, or even find for that matter.

    I think most artists share the same drive to get what’s in them, out. Be it from a chemical imbalance in the brain, or an innate need to create something out of nothing all these artists feed off of a sincere critique, relish in compliments, and even go a couple of rounds with self-doubt when no thoughts or opinions are expressed.

    Still, we venture on out of some inner sense to say something to someone somewhere. And even though we know or feel that nobody may want anything to do with our efforts, we can all take solace in knowing that, statistically speaking, each one of us has at least 10,000 other people out there with the same tastes and drives as our own; and that one day a connection will be made, a connection to a larger whole that can only be made by doing something to shut that inner voice up.

    Thank you

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