German filmmaker Werner Herzog is considered by some to be “the most important film director alive.” Writer and fellow filmmaker Paul Cronin recently published a book of conversations with the legendary film director, titled “Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed.” The back cover of the book features 24 pieces of advice by Herzog — words of wisdom he picked up over the decades.
The tips are specifically geared toward filmmakers, but they’re pretty applicable to photographers as well. Many of them are simply pointers for life.
- Always take the initiative.
- There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
- Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
- Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
- Learn to live with your mistakes.
- Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
- 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.
- Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
- Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
- Walk straight ahead, never detour.
- Maneuver and mislead, but always deliver.
- Don’t be fearful of rejection.
- Develop your own voice.
- Day one is the point of no return.
- 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.
Image credits: Portrait of Werner Herzog by Gorup de Besanez