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Life advice by Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog is possibly one of my all-time favorite filmmakers. I so love his documentaries and watched almost all of them! And if you’ve watched some of his interviews, you’ll realize that he’s also an armchair philosopher. 

found this gem while perusing Kottke.org (thanks, Jason!) and decided it was steal-worthy enough to be reposted here. The list of life advice you’re about to read is from Paul Cronin’s book Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed. The book is based on Paul’s conversations with the legend. And you’ll find this list below on the back cover! 

Note that the list is essential advice for filmmakers that I believe each can adopt as general life advice. They sure will make you think. 

Here you go!

1. Always take the initiative.

2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.

3. Send out all your dogs, and one might return with prey.

4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.

5. Learn to live with your mistakes.

6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.

7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.

8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.

9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.

10. Thwart institutional cowardice.

11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.

12. Take your fate into your own hands.

13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.

14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.

15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.

16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.

17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.

18. Develop your voice.

19. Day one is the point of no return.

20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.

21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.

22. Guerrilla tactics are best.

23. Take revenge if need be.

24. Get used to the bear behind you.

(H/T: Jason Kottke)

While I love this list, I don’t expect everyone to feel that way. But if there’s even one viewpoint that resonates with you, highlight it, share it with the ones who matter to you, and spend the next 12 months living out that advice. See what happens. Keep me posted on your progress.

P.S. Another post on Werner Herzog.