How to be Taken Serious

Illustration by Slash Filmfestival Vienna / André Breinbauer

Illustration by Slash Filmfestival Vienna / André Breinbauer, automixis.com

When I was at the Slash Film Festival in Vienna I met one of the directors whose film was being screened. We talked about his movie and his next projects and then he asked me what I was about. I told him about the stuff I do and suddenly he asked:

Are you are filmmaker?

Not really. I have shot some short films, one of which you can see online. And I´m preparing my next short…

I answered, showing him my sketchbook with the preparatory sketches for The Ballerina.

The guy instantly lost his interest in my person. Why? I just had broken one of my holy rules, which is:

Never talk about what you are going to do. Get things done, deliver and talk about them.

When I was a teacher (this was another life) I stepped in front of my class on my very last day. I told them that school is temporary. The quarrels with the fellow students, the learning pain is temporary. I told them to take out of school (intellectually wise) as much as they can and work on their portfolio in their spare time. I wanted them to hone their craft. I wanted them to go into a job interview and not to rely on their certificates. When it comes to (creative) jobs, my idea is that certificates are just some kind of promise: The students’ promise that they will be good and creative employees. Instead, I wanted them to show what they are capable of, what they are made of. I wanted them to get into this job interview and show the projects they have finished. That way they would be taken serious.

I think that the same holds true for every other aspect in life.

If you want to be taken serious you don’t want to talk about all the cool stuff that is in your head, future projects you will be doing one day that is yet to come. This is what everybody else does.

Instead you do the projects. And more importantly: You deliver.

If you are a recurring reader of my blog, you might think now: “That sounds nice, John, but you have also some unfinished stuff in your cellar.” And you are totally right. The thing is, I stand for my mistakes, I take the blame, I learn from the failed projects (and there are lots of them), and I don’t repeat them. I move on. And at the end, I deliver. So can you. 🙂

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11 responses to “How to be Taken Serious

  1. Totally agree, you have to not talk about what you want to do, get it done, and then talk about it. It can be frustrating, but I find if you talk about projects too much before completion it kinda bursts the bubble, and you can even lose interest in what you are doing. Once its done, delivered, ect, then its time to talk about what you’ve done. I think we all start as dreamers and gradually hone that skill to become a do-er, its just finding the right balance is all.

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    • I think so, too. Of course there is also a way of thinking like: Tell everybody what you are doing to build up your own pressure to finish it, which also has something to it. Like building some kind of external motivator. But I do not like that that much. As you said, I think it’s better to just get it done 🙂

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      • Yes, it can give you an more of a push to get things done, and give motivation. As a general rule though, still thinks best to get things done first.

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  2. Pingback: On How To Get To A First Draft | I create worlds. John E. Brito's Blog·

  3. Thank you for this blog. I am a write of many forms. Mostly free style writing. What ever comes to mind in the moment. That’s on my own time. Past few years I have been trying to perfect we written interviews. Mind you I have never taken a writing course a day in my life. I have a natural gift for it. Or at least I’d like to believe that I do. I have enjoyed this blog and it has inspired me to keep pushing harder with projects I’d like to just toss n never look back on.

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    • Thank you very much for the kind words. It really touched me knowing, that there is somebody out there who would be insprired by reading the stuff I am posting here. I really wish you the best with your writing, because I believe, that if you pour your heart into something and create it honestly the way you would enjoy it reading for yourself, the end result will be great. Keep on pushing! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t heard this advice before and it completely makes sense. As I look back, I can see how when I was “writing a book” I received plenty of blank stares and raised eyebrows. Now, as an author of published books, those skeptics aren’t so glassy-eyed. For most of us, we engage in the creative arts for the long haul, and fortunately, we stick with it because we love what we do.

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    • Yes, I think, that it costs us a lot of self discipline not to talk about the things we are currently doing, which usually are the things we love doing the most. I usually only talk to those who the very closest to me about what I am currently working on. And even then I get these looks now and then, but that’s okay. It helps to motivate me and not loose my focus 🙂 And hey, congratulations that you finished *and* published your book!! :))))

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