Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chasing Failure

Last week I went to see Paul Haggis being interviewed at the TIFF's new permanent location. I have to admit, it was pretty cool and he said a few things that made me nod my head and think, oh, I should do a DWT blog about that! But clearly I'm getting old, or I've been very distracted, or both, because I forgot most of them.

But one comment was during the Q&A. Someone asked about him about the importance of failures. Haggis had talked during the interview about a few TV shows he'd developed that he really loved and believed in that either never got picked up, or got canceled right out of the box, like EZ Streets. And he also talked about how he'd been shopping the scripts for both Crash and Million Dollar Baby for years before he managed to get the money together to produce them. 

And his answer to the person who asked (a young filmmaker) was: run hurtling toward failures. Pursue failures, because that's the only way to succeed.

I thought this was good and brave advice... because really, if we aren't doing this in some way, aren't we playing it safe?

I dunno. I suppose it's just another way to say, take risks, pursue your wildest dreams, do it the way you want to do it... but I think it is kind of freeing to think about chasing down failures. Hey, don't we writers actively pursue rejection and criticism in a way?

Is this too negative a way of thinking about this? I can't decide...


Molly O'Keefe said...

Oh, I love this. I really do - it's a great reminder to not only work on the projects that most excite us, but to do it no holds barred. I like it - I hope you remember more from that talk!

Sinead M said...

I love it as well. It's chasing the books that terrify us, confound us and challenge us.

Stephanie Doyle said...

I agree. You can't pick the story you think will sell - you have to pick the story you want to tell.

Ooh that rhymes. I'm a DWT poet!

Here is to hurtling myself toward failure!

Eileen said...

I was thinking about this as I was reading all the reviews of Spiderman The Musical, which by all accounts is putrid. Still . . . I've gotta admire the spirit of the thing. Julie Taymor went for it. She ran full bore at it. Gave it everything she could. She has apparently failed spectacularly.

But last time out? Last time was The Lion King which is supposed to be fabulous. So she dared greatly both times. She's got one in the W column and one in the Ls. But at least she's not teetering in the middle because of timidity.

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