'Carry bolt cutters everywhere' - Werner Herzog's 24 tips (for copywriters) | 'Carry bolt cutters everywhere' - Werner Herzog's 24 tips (for copywriters) | DMA

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'Carry bolt cutters everywhere' - Werner Herzog's 24 tips (for copywriters)


Werner Herzog is arguably the greatest living filmmaker. He's also been shot at during interviews, Klaus Kinski tried to kill him, and he came close to losing his sanity and his life in the South American jungle making Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo

Herzog, better known as the voice of the documentary filmmaker in the opening sequence of Penguins of Madagascar, is also the the subject of a new book, Werner Herzog - A Guide for the Perplexed: Conversations with Paul Cronin. This list comes from back cover of this book.

Yes, Herzog is talking about filmmaking, but replace phrases like 'roll of unexposed celluliod' with 'pen and paper' or, um, 'word processor' and you get the idea.

  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 own 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.

Interestingly, Hezog also hosts his Rogue Film School which bears some similarities to our own Future Writers Labs.

The blurb for Herzog's film school reads: "The Rogue Film School is not for the faint-hearted; it is for those who have travelled on foot, who have worked as bouncers in sex clubs or as wardens in a lunatic asylum, for those who are willing to learn about lockpicking or forging shooting permits in countries not favoring their projects. In short: for those who have a sense of poetry. For those who are pilgrims. For those who can tell a story to four year old children and hold their attention. For those who have a fire burning within. For those who have a dream."

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