25 1 / 2014
What I Mean When I Say Fuck the Fear
The introductory essay, now on Medium.com. With pictures.
17 1 / 2014
Tribeca: Right. The goal, I think, of any documentary film is to invoke conversation.
Penny Lane: I would hope so. There are many documentary filmmakers who seem to want to end conversations as opposed to start them. That’s not the kind of filmmaker I am. “Here’s everything you need to know about this about the subject” is actually a more common form of documentary than something that says, “well, let’s think not about what we know, but about what don’t we know about this.” That approach is just more exciting to me, but it is why certain career paths are closed to me. Let’s put it that way.
Tribeca: Is there any “trend” in the documentary film world that you’re eager to see go away?
PL: I think I just said it – I’m just so bored with social issue movies that want to take a really complicated subject and try to make it simple. I feel like any intellectually honest person can acknowledge that the more you look at something, the more complicated it gets. Audiences should not be treated like they’re stupid. They can tell if the filmmaker is deliberately leaving out any reasonable point of view that disagrees with his or her own."
10 1 / 2014
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
09 1 / 2014
"While creativity at times is very rewarding, it is not about happiness."
07 1 / 2014
"The dream and the film are the juxtaposition of images in order to answer a question.
— David Mamet, On Directing Film"
07 1 / 2014
"We hear a lot of stories about artists and innovators who persevered against all odds to have their work see the light of day: mega-author J.K. Rowlings’ pile of rejection letters, Thomas Edison’s gajillion attempts to invent a light bulb, Michael Jordan being deemed too short to play on his varsity basketball team. We view persistence — and grit! — as the key to success. Yet, after a certain point, persistence has a negative outcome: tunnel vision. You’ve been in it to win it for so long, you no longer know what winning means."
27 12 / 2013
""Succeeding,” whatever that might mean to you, is hard, and the need to do so constantly renews itself (success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it), and there’s the very real danger that “succeeding” will take up your whole life, while the big questions go untended."
George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates
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10 11 / 2013
"If you’re not a baby step away from spectacular failure, you’re probably playing it too safe."
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04 11 / 2013
"Work is prayer. Work is also stink. Therefore stink is prayer."
28 10 / 2013
"So I’m writing this not only in the hope that everyone will cross me off the list of writers to hit up for free content but, more important, to make a plea to my younger colleagues. As an older, more accomplished, equally unsuccessful artist, I beseech you, don’t give it away. As a matter of principle. Do it for your colleagues, your fellow artists, because if we all consistently say no they might, eventually, take the hint. It shouldn’t be professionally or socially acceptable — it isn’t right — for people to tell us, over and over, that our vocation is worthless"