Sunday, January 30, 2011

Francis Ford Coppola on Stealing Material

"I once found a little excerpt from Balzac. He speaks about a young writer who stole some of his prose. The thing that almost made me weep,  he said, “I was so happy when this young person took from me.” Because that’s what we want. We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can’t steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice.
And that’s how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you. And Balzac said that in his book: It makes me so happy because it makes me immortal because I know that 200 years from now there will be people doing things that somehow I am part of. So the answer to your question is: Don’t worry about whether it’s appropriate to borrow or to take or do something like someone you admire because that’s only the first step and you have to take the first step."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm an independent filmmaker in New York City, and my first film, which is fairly violent, has garnered strong positive comparisons to the early work of Martin Scorsese. Scorsese's top biographer in fact has called me "the next Scorsese". The comment actually paralyzed me because I've always been fanatical about retaining absolute creative originality. It hurt to be compared to Marty because it makes me think nothing my generation does will ever be original, nor can it be, because we live in a DVD age and have been exposed to so much visual information.

To read this article makes me feel better about my filmmaking. Maybe the key is to not concern myself with how original or not my work looks to people. And just to keep shooting.

This is the article I needed to read today. Thanks to Francis Ford Coppola. And thank you.