Question: Are you the type of person who carefully checks the temperature of a swimming pool before slowly, over the course of an hour or so, working your way into the water? Or are you someone who dives into the deep end headfirst like a lunatic? If you’re the second type, then you might have a bright future in film.
T. S. Eliot once said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” It’s as true in life as it is in creativity. Like in any great story, we only find out who we really are when we’re put to the test. The catch is, as filmmakers we often have to put ourselves to the test. Nobody else is going to do it for us.
How far are you willing to go for your films? Are you willing to break the law? Get arrested? Spend 18 hours hiding from helicopters to get a single shot of a dam exploding? For Ben Knight, one of the filmmakers behind the recent (and excellent) documentary DamNation, the answer is yes.
If you’re waiting for permission to start making great films, chances are you’ll be waiting forever. Here’s the secret: You don’t need permission. We’re in the ask for forgiveness line of work here. There are no extra-credit assignments. There are no credentials. There are no grades. There’s just you and your camera and your inexplicable desire to put something worthwhile on the screen.