“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” –David Bowie
David Bowie was supposed to be immortal, a larger than life personality, constantly changing ever evolving. If any one would be able to avoid death it would be The Thin White Duke. With his passing it reminded me of the very unfortunate realization that death affects us all. Sixty-Nine. Cancer. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve accomplished. One of the things that made David Bowie’s career so special was his ability to constantly reinvent his art, taking chance after chance in creating something new. He followed this right until the bitter end, turning even his death into an artistic statement.
One thing that I want to take the chance to write about today is this, taking risks to better your art even in the face of uncertainty. You will fail and at times you might feel like you have absolutely no idea of what you are doing or why you are doing it. Once you arrive at that point, you don’t stop, you keep going. Realizing that you are not alone. Creating great art is not a singular endeavor, it takes collaboration. Even the greats didn’t work alone.
Bowie worked with Mick Ronson, Brian Eno, Tony Visconti, Iggy Pop, Freddy Mercury, Trent Reznor, the list goes on and on but you get the point. All individual greats, yes, but that doesn’t stop one from reaching out; to push the limits of what you are capable of. It doesn’t make you any less of an artist if anything its quite the opposite.
Many times you will hear people complain about their own work stating every little thing that they did wrong or wished to have done differently. They feel as though they have failed, thinking, oh if someone else had done the job instead the project would of turned out much better.
The problem that many people face, myself included, is the notion that we have to do everything ourselves. If the project fails it’s because I failed. We must erase that mentality.
The great thing about film is that you are able to combine every other art form imaginable into one cohesive piece, all advancing a common goal-the story.
The details, the delicate care that everything is there for a reason, from the art direction, to hair and makeup to the acting and even the choice of lens. The art is only as good as the sum of its parts, so I challenge you to push yourself through others, surround yourself with people who are more talented then you. Pushing each other and working as one to create something great. Don’t create just to create, have purpose, motivation. Celebrate your successes but be reminded of your failures.
In football, sometimes the running back has nowhere to go. You might see a great play where tackles are broken, cuts are made, but the play barely makes it back to the line of scrimmage and you might think he did all of that and he didn’t even gain a yard. Yes, that is true, but the most important part is that he didn’t lose one either.
Iman Abdulmajid, David Bowie’s wife, tweeted just days before her late husbands death: “Life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. It’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it.”
Yes, it’s scary; no it might not turn out exactly how you hope, but the stories that you truly care for and the characters that you’ve come to know are worth taking risks for. Playing it safe never got anyone anywhere.