Sally Potter

Barefoot Filmmaking

Just before I started work on RAGE I wrote myself a private manifesto. I called it “Barefoot Filmmaking” and it was a way of reminding myself what I believed in and how to approach work on this new project. It is something I have often done over the years, partly as away of tracking my own principles and as a way of energising myself when I have felt like an outsider, working against the grain.

A manifesto, even when kept private, dignifies an approach which may otherwise remain obscure. A recent lovely post on the forum made me decide to look up this last document again. I have subsequently revised both how I think about some of these things and what to call this way of thinking. “Poor Cinema” is my favourite, but in the past, when I started out, I called it “Kitchen table filmmaking” as that was so often where I ended up working. Anyway, here it is:

The best time to start is now (don’t wait)

Take responsibility for everything (it saves time)

Don’t blame anyone or anything (including yourself)

Give up being a moviemaker victim (of circumstance, weather, lack of money, mean financiers, vicious critics, greedy distributors, indifferent public, etc.)

You can’t always choose what happens while you are making a film, but you can choose your point of view about what happens
(creative perspective)

Mistakes are your best teacher (so welcome them)

Turn disaster to advantage (there will be many)

Only work on something you believe in (life is too short to practice insincerity)

Choose your team carefully and honour them (never speak negatively about your colleagues)

Ban the word “compromise” (or the phrase “it will do”)
(the disappointment in yourself will haunt you later)

Be prepared to work harder than anyone you are employing

Be ruthless – be ready to throw away your favourite bits (you may well be attached to what is familiar rather than what is good).

Aim beyond your limits (and help others to go beyond theirs)
(the thrill of the learning curve)

When in doubt, project yourself ten years into the future and look back – what will you be proud of having done?
(indecision is a lack of the longer view or wider perspective)

Practice no waste – psychic ecology – prevent brain pollution
(don’t add to the proliferation of junk)

Be an anorak – keep your sense of wonder and enthusiasm
(cynicism will kill your joy and motivation)

Get some sleep when you can (you wont get much later)

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