To learn, I recommend that we become stalkers.
Filmmakers (and I mean actors, directors, cinematographers, screenwriters, etc.) need an insatiable appetite for cinema. It’s not enough to take small bites, you must have a ravenous hunger to watch/listen/learn.
I’m discouraged at how little I see this attitude in fellow filmmakers. They are satisfied to skim the surface. They do not have the proper energy to explore and discover their craft. We must be stalkers.
What do I mean by this? Months ago, I found myself drawn to Gene Hackman’s performances. But it wasn’t enough to just admire his work. I wanted to know why he was good; I studied his craft, the way he walked, the way he talked, how he used his mouth, his eyes, his voice, his economy of expression. I got my hands on every Hackman performance I could find. I spent days/nights watching and thinking about his craft. Still I am not satisfied.
I don’t recognize this behavior in the community here. If you want to be an actor, study actors. Watch Brando. Watch every film he was ever in and learn. If you want to be a director, watch every film by the director you admire. What is it about his/her technique that strikes you? Do not be satisfied with easy answers.
Be an investigator, a detective. Be a stalker. Do not stop until you have quenched your thirst and then look for another to stalk.
As filmmakers, we are no longer regular audience members. We are no longer here just to be entertained. When we watch films, we must stalk the screen.
We must stalk our craft.