Coming to Terms with Poor Results / by Chris Weigl

I had a French teacher in high school who used to call on me first thing each class because she knew I didn’t get the homework done right.  It didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried she just used me as an example to lecture the class about the necessity to study harder.  I remember thinking: “why doesn’t she get that it’s not a lack of effort on my part that is bring about these results?”  It was incredibly frustrating and I almost felt like I was being bullied in that situation because I knew she was going to do it to me and it was terrible.  No one likes getting called out when they genuinely don’t understand something.  They need help and you don’t go to someone for help after they just ridiculed you in front of your classmates.

It’s with that experience in mind that I reflected on my own sub-par film shoot this past weekend.  The shoot was energizing.  I felt good about how things went and I thought we got through it all right.  When I went through the footage I saw that what we were seeing in dailies were not reflected in the actual footage.  It was like freshman year French class all over again only this time I had to edit this material and watch it again.  I’m a big believer that you need to learn from your mistakes.  I’ve made so many mistakes in my life that I’ve learned quite a bit over the years, but no matter how hard you try there are still times you’re going to come up short.  That’s what happened this past weekend.  I tried the best I could, I shot the scenes in a way that I felt would work and I just couldn’t execute my gameplan.  It happens to the best people out there, I know it because I’ve seen it.  My natural inclination is to toss my camera to the side or say something to the effect of: “well, this is why you’re a writer.”  That’s not going to fix my problem though.  I did a sub-par production, now what?  Now, we get back up and try again.  I wasn’t shooting a video for a client or I would have reimbursed them.  If we’re not satisfied with what we shoot we certainly aren’t going to charge our clients for material that is anything less than what they expect.  So, back to the footage I went and I combed through it as best I could.  There just wasn’t a lot to build off of.

As I thought about everything we did for the shoot, I reflected on what I wasn’t able to do that I wanted to do and that’s where I got an idea for a cool new shoot that we’re going to do next weekend.  I’m going to use a different approach and see if that works for what we’re trying to do.  It will either work or it won’t.  I’ve put enough effort into this where I know what I want and I have a very good understanding of what I don’t want.  The question is whether we can put the pieces together in a way that can unite the business side and the creative side and that is sort of like throwing a small mammal in my backyard when my dogs are out playing.  The chances are that one of the dogs is going to be fast enough to catch it, but if the mammal is smart enough and resourceful enough it will figure out what it needs to do to escape their clutches before it’s too late.  I’m counting on having similar resourcefulness and the cooperation of a team of professionals that can look past one shoot that didn’t go as planned and see the bigger picture.  All of this sounds much easier than it is, but owning your own business is not easy.  It’s an uphill struggle and it’s even worse when you’re the one who makes mistakes, but if you’re a true believer then you see the opportunity in the mistakes and the possibilities that come with failure.  Failure is just another chance disguised as something you don’t want to see.  If you look at failure in the right light it can be just as pleasing to the eye as success and will ultimately be more worthwhile because we tend to learn more from our mistakes than we do from success.

Ultimately, as artists we cannot be complacent nor should we be content to hold ourselves to the standards of the status quo.  We must hold ourselves to a higher standard.  We must rise above the level of mediocrity that has become commonplace in our industry.  We must show the world a new definition of what is possible and in order to do that we must raise the expectations of what is acceptable to us.  If we are to be successful - as businesses and as an industry - we cannot accept the status quo.  We must be willing to challenge it and raise the bar of what is possible in the world of entertainment.  The true worth of an artist isn't measured by the amount of money they make or even by the content they produce.  The true worth of an artist can only be measured by the change they inspire in the world.  That is what we are trying to do.  We hope that you will join us in our cause.