When I was in attending high school in New Jersey, I met director Bryan Singer. Bryan had just won a number of awards for The Usual Suspects and was a fellow graduate of West Windsor-Plainsboro; just about 10 years prior. My Freshman soccer coach was related to Bryan and knowing I was interested in film, made the introduction.
Bryan was always very generous with his advice. One day he told me something I now consider “the best advice I ignored.”
In the book “Outliers,” one of the traits of the successful is the willingness to work hard. Sounds like common sense, right? Bryan knew this and told me to, ‘Make movies all the time. Not just because you get a job or someone tells you too. Even if it is something that is 30 seconds.’ What he was trying to tell me was to work towards becoming the best storyteller.
Right about the time that he told me this advice, I went off to college. I had a difficult time straddling the world of building new relationships, judging schoolwork and making side project films. I remembered the feeling of telling my new dorm neighbors time and time again that I couldn’t spend time with them because I was busy doing other work.
Pursuing my craft started to feel really lonely. Some days I felt like I had a better relationship with my editing computer than I did other people. I eventually decided that relationships were more important.
Filmmaking became something that was in opposition to his advice; something I only did when someone told me to create a project. Months would go by without even thinking about making a movie and when it came time to make my Senior thesis film, I felt a lack of confidence. I no longer saw a movie play out in my head. I would second guess myself. The hobby that I once loved turned into a source of stress.
If you want to make movies, become a pro athlete, be an entrepreneur, or one of a thousand other elite professions, maybe think about the advice that I ignored.