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The Problem of Perfection

Well, it seems like only last week that I was sitting here musing over the laws of physics and how they could effect the filmmaking process. Overcoming the inertia of sitting still and turning filmmaking dreams into filmmaking nightmares....... I mean realities, is one of the most difficult obstacles for the fledgeling filmmaker to overcome. A contributing factor to this most diabolical of phenomenon, is none other than "The Problem of Perfection".

I can hear your voice even now, gentle reader. "What is this, how do you say...... problem of perfection"? Simply put, the problem of perfection comes into effect when said would be filmmaker, is paralyzed into inaction by the fear that their would be film, will not be perfect, or great, or pretty good, or even watchable. When faced with the idea of making something bad, some filmmakers will opt instead to make nothing. Such action, will in turn take away one of the key ingredients necessary to becoming a filmmaker. That pesky little business of making a film. Nonetheless, I myself, gentle reader, find that there have been several occasions that I stop before I start, because I'm afraid the resulting piece of work will not live up to my own, possibly too high, standards.

"So, should the owner of a camcorder who looks to be a filmmaker not worry about having standards? Should they make something that they know is not going to be worth the Mini DV tapes that it has been shot on"? No, gentle reader, not at all. I feel that in the pursuit of filmmaking one does need to do their best, and maybe even have a slight naive perspective when it comes to their projects. If you don't believe that you can do good work, why should anyone else? The aspiring filmmaker must believe that their film can change the course of cinema, and that their already written Oscar acceptance speech will be making it's public appearance very soon. It is those dreams that will help push the film forward when facing the overwhelming odds that one must face when getting any kind of film finished. However, the problem of perfection can come into play when newbie filmmakers hold their newbie projects up to the blinding light of those dreams and watch them turn into dust. They turn to dust because the reality is, they do not measure up. Then said newbie filmmaker finds themselves doing nothing because each idea, outline, and draft seems short of box office dominance and Oscar gold. The desire to make a perfect project stops them from making any project at all. In order to become a real live, honest to goodness filmmaker, one must make films. There is no way around that particular requirement. In light of that fact, gentle reader, I would venture to say that a less than great project that is finished, is always going to be more productive than a perfect film that lives in one's head. In reality, one's head is probably the only place that a perfect film can live. As I continue on my journey to become a real live, honest to goodness filmmaker I am trying to hold onto my innocent naive notions (that success can be mine), while at the same time realizing that I will not be making Citizen Kane every time I set up my camera and press record. I think the secret lies in shooting for the stars, but being prepared to handle it, if you only get two feet off the ground. I think that Johnny Depp said it best in his portrayal of filmmaker Ed Wood in the film by the same name. "Really?! ........... Worst film you ever saw?......... Well, my next one will be Better"!!


  1. Who can go wrong quoting Johnny Depp as the legendary Ed Wood?

  2. "Striving for perfection is the greatest stopper there is. It's your excuse to yourself for not doing anything. Instead, strive for excellence, doing your best."
    Sir Laurence Olivier


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