Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Quote of the Day

with 2 comments

When the system doesn’t respond, when it doesn’t accept what you’re doing—and most of the time it won’t—you have a chance to become self-reliant and create your own system. There will always be periods of solitude and loneliness, but you must have the courage to follow your own path. Cleverness on the terrain is the most important trait of a filmmaker.

Always take the initiative. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in a jail cell if it means getting the shot you need. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey. Beware of the cliché. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief. Learn to live with your mistakes. Study the law and scrutinize contracts. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern. Keep your eyes open. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it. There is never an excuse not to finish a film. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.

Thwart institutional cowardice. Ask for forgiveness, not permission. Take your fate into your own hands. Don’t preach on deaf ears. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory. Walk straight ahead, never detour. Learn on the job. Maneuver and mislead, but always deliver. Don’t be fearful of rejection. Develop your own voice. Day one is the point of no return. Know how to act alone and in a group. Guard your time carefully. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema. Guerrilla tactics are best. Take revenge if need be. Get used to the bear behind you. Form clandestine rogue cells everywhere.

Werner Herzog, A Guide for the Perplexed

Written by nevalalee

November 3, 2020 at 8:40 am

2 Responses

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  1. Very inspiring words. Thank you for sharing.

    Sharifah

    November 3, 2020 at 11:21 am

  2. Whatever agency it was that made Werner Herzog, they broke the mould afterwards. If a writer had invented him, he’d rate as one of the great fictional characters of world literature.

    I have this book, read it when it came out, and enjoyed it. I’ll have to pull it out again.

    Mark Pontin

    November 10, 2020 at 8:11 pm


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