Tag: confidence

3 Things I Learned About Filmmaking from… Highland Dance Competitions

dncWe each take many paths in life and learn from all that’s around us. Learn something on one area of life and cross over to another. Here are three nuggets that crossover for me between Highland Dance competitions and filmmaking:

1. “Dance Beautifully” Does Not Necessarily Mean “Dance Standard”

The closer you dance in a competition to “dance standard” (in the eyes of judges) the more awards you win. The higher the level of competition, the more challenging it is to win awards, because eventually there are only slight differences between those who win awards and those who don’t. Yet… anyone in the audience will tell you passionately and honestly that so many of the dancers dance beautifully, awards or not. This declaration is not friends and relatives being kind the dancers, it’s the truth. Parallel this situation to movies. You can enjoy a beautiful movie whether it wins awards (achieving “movie standard” in the eyes of judges) or not.

2. Dance YOUR Dance

When competing on stage at pre-premier level, different dancers know different steps to pretty much all the dances. To the audience it’s like watching several different dances on stage at the same time, dancing to the same music. Sometimes it looks like one of the dancers is going to bump into another because of the varied choreography, but somehow they manage to steer clear of each other. On stage, if you forget a step, a glance left or right to a competitor can just confuse you more because chances are they will be dancing totally different steps. You have to know your dance and dance it with confidence no matter what’s happening around you on the stage. Good advice for filmmaking too. Choose your path with confidence and take it, no matter what the competition is doing around you. Be aware of what’s happening around you (so you don’t “bump into other dancers”), but be true to yourself.

3. Despite Any Errors, “Dance On”

Highland dancers forget steps. They knock the crossed swords out of alignment. A shoe can fall off. The piper can make a mistake in the music. One step can be wrong. So many errors can happen “on the day.” Dancers can stop and wait for the dance to end, stop and leave the stage, or they can dance on. “Dance on” doesn’t erase the error, but can provide a sense of accomplishment at overcoming obstacle, and for the bigger errors that the audience notices, it also triggers deep-felt admiration in the whole room. Take that determination into filmmaking. Mistakes will happen, but work with them and finish the film. Film is not as much a live performance as Highland Dancing, but sometimes you can’t go back to fix a shot; you have to “dance on” to the end.

What crossovers happen in your life?

Cheers… with a little FILM and INK,

Inspiration at the Movies: My Neighbor Totoro

“I’m not scared at all.”
Mei (My Neighbor Totoro, 1988)

How young children (claim to) have no fear of the unknown! Especially when a big sister or brother challenges them to be fearful of something that they know a little more about.

Mei’s declaration reminds me how much we learn to fear the unknown as we grow up. And yet I believe that the child inside us is always there. We only need to reach within ourselves to recapture the perspective, the whimsy, the power of childhood.

And then when you face a challenge, you can say to yourself: “I’m not scared at all!” Wow, with that kind of power, imagine what you could achieve then!

Cheers & a good shoot to you,

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Inspiration at the Movies: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

“Soon we must all face the choice between what is is right and what is easy.”
– Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2005)

These words ring so true when I think of eating: choosing between what is healthy and what is fast-n-easy. Whoah… that’s a hard one!

Yet, I’m not sure that our choices are always “easy” vs “right.” Indeed, doing the right thing in many cases takes enormous effort. When faced with a difficult choice such as “easy” vs “right” we need to find the belief in ourselves – the bravery – to choose the right path.

Step one is recognizing the choice and listening to the inner voice to know which path is the right one. That choice may not be clearly visible until you’ve taken time to consider the situation. “Easy” choices tend to be about “doing nothing,” “doing what you’re told,” “doing what’s expected of you.” And yet, I cannot say that’s even true all the time. If you’ve ever watched a chicken hatch from an egg: it appears to be an impossibly hard task, and yet you cannot and should not help. If you do, the baby chick will not be strong enough to survive in the world. You must do the right thing by “doing nothing” and let the baby chick work it out.

Step two is then finding the bravery to then act on the right choice (for even “doing nothing” is taking action!). Call it inner confidence if you must, but I prefer to call it bravery. For in bravery there is fear and uncertainty… yet you act anyway. And typically, that’s how I feel inside when taking the right-but-not-easy path. Don’t you?

Step three is having faith as the events roll out. Tense times, but they pass and eventually you will see the outcome of your choices, helping you to make more educated choices in the future (notice I didn’t say “better”?). And new choices will indeed present themselves soon enough, won’t they?

Cheers… to the bravery in you and me,