Humility: An Essential Ingredient to Learning
Last night I caught up with some filmmaking friends, it was the first time some of them had met in person.
Over a few drinks we discussed filmmaking and in particular Sash asked for some feedback on a screenplay for a short film he had sent to us earlier. Sam and I had little to say. Mary had already been working with Sash on the script. Allan took a deep breath and after making sure that Sash really wanted his thoughts dived in.
I am not going to even try to write here some of the points that Allan made, but I was sorry that I had neither a note book, nor recorder for this informal session. It was an impromptu masterclass in screenwriting, which for me opened up new ways of looking at screenwriting, character development and audience engagement. It was nothing less than intoxicating (although perhaps the wine helped).
I consider myself an above average amateur writer. Who might be able to do some writing at a professional level. -Articles or content marketing pieces not screenplays! But it was obvious that writing screenplays is Allan’s passion, and he is very much the professional.
But what really impressed me, perhaps more than Allan’s knowledge, was Sash’s ability to suspend his automatic defense of his work. To open up to the information that was being given to him and to take notes, question for clarity and critically look at the product of his labours.
Afterward it occurred to me that in this field, as in many others, we walk a line balancing ego against humility. People in creative industries and projects need a healthy ego to allow them to push forward against the inertia and resistance their ideas face every day. Yet that ego unchecked will stand in the way of learning opportunities such as the one that was presented last night.
I could see that both my friends, Allan & Sash have sufficient Ego to drive their careers forward, yet have access to the humility needed to learn from any source they encounter in order to become the best that they can be. And for me witnessing this, and coming to this realisation was an enriching experience.