Start Here for Success

Every few days, it seems, someone sends me a sweet little video and within a second of viewing, I’m hooked. In the beginning, the point to the film is not the point. It’s the mood, music and visuals that draw a person right in.

As always, I’m struck by how many resources other art forms have at their disposal. The video that came this week was simple—only two people and an elephant seal required—but it still conveyed a charming little moment at the beach. The ocean sparkles, the penguins strut, the sun shines, and we see a brief courtship unfold between a lady and a seal.


But what if a writer wanted to whip up that beach and that tenderness on the printed page? He has only his words and the means of recording them to do so.  No surf, no sand between his toes, can he still capture that spirit of friendship, that smile, or the moment when she tosses back her head in satisfaction . . . ?


It might seem that the filmmaker has the advantage—all he has to do is lift his camera and shoot. But that comes later. 


The success of his venture, same as for the writer, hinges on step one, never mind what subsequent tools are brought to bear, camera or pen.


Step one is permission. Everything good starts here: no cen


sorship, no limits, no problems, no worries. Just go for it, permission granted.


After that, the filmmaker, like the writer, can his push tools to the limits, or even break with them entirely if he pleases. It isn’t the tools that determine the outcome—it’s the freedom to use them to pursue the vision. And once permission is granted, there isn’t any story that can’t be told.


Just say yes, and have at it.


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© 2019 by Sam Madden