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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Taking the easy path

Maybe we believe in the hero's journey too much. Yes, we believe it works for stories. And yes, we believe that we must overcome our own obstacles when we are writing our scripts or making our films.

But should we also believe that it applies to our life and career?

Maybe you know someone (maybe it is yourself) that believes that they must take the hard way everytime. I certainly know a few people like that. But, surely, sometimes the easy way is better.

You must have all seen interviews with successful people who are trying new things. "I find comedy boring now and want to be a straight actor. "

The thing is, they became successful by doing the thing that came easy to them - the comedy. Now fair enough, everyone needs the next challenge. But for us who are less successful doesn't it make sense to use the advantage of doing what comes easiest. Like they did.

Let's talk examples.

You are great at funny, witty dialogue but find plotting characters a pain. They don't develop well and are cliche. Well maybe it is time to look at doing sketches.

You spend more time watching films and analysing films then working on them. In fact you only work on them out of respect for the films you love. Maybe it is time to be a reviewer, a critic or work in the production office.

You struggle with setting up stories and thinking of the big canvas on which to write a film. Well maybe you would be better at series and soaps and its time to focus on that - maybe even do a spec episode.

Remember, this isn't your career for life. Just a way to kick things off in a successful manner. Personally I love incredibly detailed films, Kubrick style. Yet experience has shown me that in my own work I am finding it 'easy' to do the short fast film making, which many others struggle with. Films like the Mr Vista series, the sketches for The Politics Show or the recent Keep Britain for British Serial Killers.

They always seem to do well for me as they are fast and capture the moment, like a blog post. But in my mind I used to find them 'less worthy'. This attitude may have been wrong.

Perhaps 'easy' is best? Why make life hard? Are you wasting energy on fighting what you are truly good at?

Photo of Mr Vista living it up in XP land!

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