There’s a lot that happens with collaboration in movies and TV that is phenomenal. But at the same time, there’s some perfecting that goes with it. You all get together and work on stuff and make it perfect, but sometimes perfect looks the same as other perfect. [...] When you write from your gut and let the stuff stay flawed and don’t let anybody tell you to make it better, it can end up looking like nothing else.
— Louis C.K. in an interview with Pitchfork
You know the cliché: You’re out on the town, you’re doing drugs, you’re drinking, you’re running on the walls, you’re pissing on the fireplace. It’s a cliché. Often you run into artists who live that life—and at one point, you find out that they’re not actually producing that much art. They’re living the life of the artist without the work.
— Dorthe Nors in What Great Artists Need: Solitude
- Isaac: Someone holds the copyright to ‘Happy Birthday’?
- Dan: They’re representatives of Patty and Mildred Hill.
- Isaac: Took two people to write that song?
— From an episode of Sports Night
I have the same reaction whenever a musician is exposed for using ghostwriters.
It took seven years from the time I wrote Mad Men until it finally got on the screen. I lived every day with that script as if it were going to happen tomorrow. That’s the faith you have to have.
— Matthew Weiner in an excerpt from Getting There: A Book of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal
“When I wrote the pilot of Mad Men, I was saying, I’m already successful, why am I not happy?”
We have a paradox about progress: many people complain about how stuck in the past their organizations are, yet point to the lack of adoption of remote work as an indicator of it’s uselessnesses, rather than a reflection of their organization’s fearful grip on the status quo.
— Scott Berkun in his article Why Isn’t Remote Work More Popular?
Part of my testiness is that I feel I make 50 compromises a day. When people come to me and say, ‘Why can’t you compromise?’ I’m like: ‘What are you talking about? The fact that we’re having this conversation means that we’ve compromised.’
— David Fincher on dealing with movie executives in an interview with NY Times
Previously: “I guarantee I’m going to make a good movie out of this…”
- Paul: Between friends…
- C.J.: Yeah.
- Paul: Is the water over your head?
- C.J.: No. The water’s exactly at my head.
— From an episode of The West Wing
What’s urgent are emails, texts, tweets, calls, and news.
What’s important is spending a thousand hours to learn a new skill that will really help you in your life or work. What’s important is giving your full undistracted attention to the important people in your life. What’s important is taking time to get exercise, or to collect and share what you’ve learned.
But none of these things will ever be urgent.
So you have to ignore the tempting cries of the urgent, and deliberately choose what you know is important.
— Derek Sivers on the meaning of life
Making films is all about — as soon as you’re finished — continually regretting what you’ve done. When we look at films we’ve made, all we can see are the flaws; we can’t even watch them in a normal way. I never feel like watching my own films again. So unless I start working on a new one, I’ll never be free from the curse of the last one.
— Hayao Miyazaki in his book Turning Point: 1997–2008
I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.
— Ernest Hemingway in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald
Previously: “Sometimes magic is just someone spending more time…”