Woody once said that whenever he started to write his films that in his bedroom, he would think they were going to be the greatest things ever made.
But then, once production was a go, he would start backing up the dump truck of compromise. And by the end, when the movie was about to be released, he would hope and pray that he wasn’t massively humiliated.
Because you can’t vouch for the final product, he warns. You can hope people talk about it, but you can’t promise that they’ll like it.
Proof positive, that everything we create has two births.
First, as an idea in our head, where it’s flawless and foolproof and innocent.
Second, as the real and tangible output of that idea in the world, where it’s powerlessly exposed to the harsh, raw light of reality.
The challenge is surrendering to that gap. Accepting that whatever is in our brains cannot be fully and perfectly realized on screen, on the page or on the stage. And remembering that the work never comes out quite the way we think it will.
But at the same time, not beating ourselves up for making compromises and managing expectations and ceasing to engage in meaningless battles.
I used to come down hard on myself when my book and music and film projects looked differently in the real world than they did inside my heads. But I’m learning to accept that as the purchase price of producing things.
Because there’s always something lost in translation. Losing the full subtlety of meaning when we move from conception to execution is part of the creative process.
And in fact, that’s a good thing. It teaches us not to be so damn precious about everything.
It helps us pass beyond the limits of the tiny island universe of our minds.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you able to forgive yourself for backing up the dump truck of compromise?
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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