In your opinion, what is the most common mistake amateurs make when trying out your method?
Carl Eneroth asked: There is something about American movie making that gets so emotional. Now I understand more how it is done. I guess it is all about connecting to others. I am really eager to try this out. I have a number of film projects coming up, smaller, so there will be ample opportunities for practice. Question: In your opinion, what is the most common mistake amateurs do when trying out your method?
It's all about connecting to others—the why it's done is so important that you mention here! And we'll be covering it a lot more in-depth when you get to the People Pillar next.
As for your question—which is an amazing question, by the way—I hope you don't mind if I share what I consider to be two common mistakes (instead of just one) that MANY filmmakers make, not just amateurs:
1. Underestimating or undervaluing the importance of listening.
I think it's natural that, when we come across an inspiring idea or person, or when we're hired by a client for an exciting new project, we have the urge to get started right away. And especially when we have tight timelines, we feel this sense of immediacy to start rolling and getting the footage we need for the film—that something is better than nothing.
But we don't realize that investing our time in pre-production, and especially in listening to and researching our story and people, will pay off in production and post-production as well (not to mention the impact it has on your story's ability to guide the heart to move the mind.)
By taking the time to understand the story, we empower ourselves to make decisions that are much more informed and intentional. We have the opportunity to then dig deeper, and connect our audience to a greater truth. And on a very practical or concrete level, we can avoid mistakes or having to change the story last minute, and we prepare ourselves to go into production with a clear idea of what's relevant and strong for the story or not, which then leads to less footage, and less editing time.
2. Falling back into old habits and forgetting to ask "Why?".
Another common mistake is that old habits are hard to break. It's easy to light an interview like you've always lit an interview, without pushing yourself to ask why this location, this intensity, this softness, this color—what does it mean and how is it relevant to our story?
And this mistake, especially, is not just for those who are new to filmmaking, but it's a goal that we constantly strive for. Our team too.
There are a lot of decisions to make, and it's difficult to always be intentional and story relevant in those choices. But the more we challenge ourselves to always ask "why" — to always think and apply our perspective as a storyteller — the more opportunity we have to create something truly remarkable.