Juli Jackson recently searched the internet for “filmmaker encouragement” and came across my blog post, The Gift Every Filmmaker Needs.
In the comment section, she wrote, “I completely agree that silence is discouraging. It wasn’t until I read your post that I even realized I was feeling discouraged because those close to me have been silent.”
Why are we so often silent with one another? Even if we subjectively don’t like something, there often is something objectively valuable we can encourage.
I suspect our increasingly competitive, win/loss way of life has something to do with it. In other words, like money, encouragement is viewed as a limited good, so the more we give, the less there is to receive.
What does this have to do with filmmaking? Everything! Encouragement fuels creativity; it emboldens it. My Mac dictionary says, “To encourage is to give active help or to raise confidence to the point where one dares to do what is difficult.” Can anything be more beautiful than that? Imagine, with a few words you can “raise confidence to the point where one dares to do what is difficult.” And, no doubt, independent filmmaking is difficult – extremely difficult.
Ironically, I have received the least encouragement from my filmmaking peers. You would think they would appreciate the challenge and my need for encouragement; however, with the limited good perspective, it’s no wonder they rarely encourage; they want to ensure there is enough for them. Like a small pepperoni pizza at a large party, they dare not offer me a slice…
But isn’t a need for encouragement a sign of weakness? Does a bona fide artist, someone “called” to create need encouragement? Yes, absolutely! Encouragement is an essential human need, like food and shelter; it is bread for our soul, it warms our spirit. Sure, we can survive without it, but we cannot thrive without it.
Let’s encourage more. Let’s not be silent. Take a moment or two everyday to applaud effort, even if you subjectively don’t like it. Spot the objective goodness and encourage it. Imagine: with a few words you can “raise confidence to the point where one dares to do what is difficult.” How beautiful is that?!