“It’s not what you put in, it’s what throw out.”
This the last in my series of “lessons learned” from Tropfest’s RoughCut film symposium in NYC. In addition to interesting speakers and insider expertise, I got some great 40:20 Vision. I love going to events simply because they interest me and then realizing there is so much I can apply to my life and work.
I shared some of the advice from philosopher, writer and social commentator, Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point, Outliers and TV / Film writer and producer Charles Randolph (The Life of David Gale, Love and Other Drugs) before I started this series of posts. They spoke together about their experiences and “what they know now.” about writing, acting and living as they interviewed each other for the panel.
1) “It’s better to talk to the person fourth down from top that the top. The top level is constrained by what they can say and the mid-level people are the shopkeepers – the ones in the know on how to run the business day to day.“ – Malcolm Gladwell
40:20 Vision: We all angle to talk to the top guy and of course in leaner hierarchies, everyone is in the shop, but the point is where to get the real deal…go down.
2.”Getting too cute is dangerous – it’s like the 4th Radiohead album or Carmello Anthony throwing in traffic. He’s great …but why throw in traffic when you can pass?”
3. “If you have writer’s block and something is not working in a screenplay – change the weather. It’s about looking at the scene differently. It opens doors.”
4. “Read a lot. This is so important in a world of ideas. Get outside your field and read.”
5. Never underestimate a good friend’s help.
6. “It’s not what you put in, it’s what throw out. That comes with experience. It’s like acting.”
“I worked in Israel with their twelve best actors. While in US an actor works maybe 30 – 50 days a year, these actors work 300 days of the year. They do TV during the day, theater at night and movies on the weekends. They are forced to throw out the extraneous. When you are constantly in your craft lose your self-consciousness – you can throw that out. A screenplay is a series of questions – you have to decide what to embrace. “ – Charles Randolph
40:20 Vision: There’s a tendency at first to put in every piece of information in a presentation, pitch or story….we learn overtime that simple is brilliant. If you keep revisiting something, wondering if you need it …you probably don’t need it. Be your own harshest critic for what is needed. If its only purpose is to make you look clever, again, you probably don’t need it. This works in life as well – sometimes it’s best to edit yourself. You could also say life is a series of questions…you decide what to embrace.