“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas Edison
Right here, my friend. Check out the tips below to learn how you can bounce back from failure and expand your fimmaking skills.
Internalize these quotes – wait, what?
You cannot be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, you need to learn to welcome them. As Thomas Edison humorously asserts above, a failure shows us a wrong way to do something, getting us closer to perfection. If you can view your failures and mistakes as lessons instead of setbacks, you will grow like crazy.
Give yourself time to feel, heal, and move on
So you failed. Maybe you didn’t get that acting role you wanted, maybe your short film didn’t receive an award at the festival you entered, maybe your project just isn’t as good as you were hoping it would be. Regardless of how you have failed, you are willing and able to identify this failure as an opportunity for growth. The problem? You’re still pretty freaking upset about it.
So instead of jumping right into growth and positivity, give yourself some time to wallow. Yell, scream, cry, and punch your pillow. Vent to your friends, write in your journal, get your emotions out however you need to (preferably in a constructive way), and when you’re all out of energy, tell yourself that it is time to move on.
Protip: Give yourself a deadline. When I receive news that I haven’t gotten an acting role I auditioned for, I give myself the night. I say: “Tonight you will be upset about this; tonight you will be mad at the world. But tomorrow, you will reflect and become the best actor you can be.”
Make like a mirror and reflect
After you have appropriately disposed of your negative emotions, it is time to reflect. There are three steps to reflection that I commonly use.
1. It wasn’t all bad, was it?
Reflecting on the good will put you in the right mindset for tackling the not so good.
The key to growing from failure is to identifying how and where you failed and take steps to improve yourself. At this point, you should ask yourself what mistakes you made, how they could have been avoided, and how you can improve. It is often beneficial to go through your work yourself, have a few trusted friends review it, and ask any relevant mentors or professionals for advice or feedback.
For example, if you didn’t get a part you wanted or you weren’t hired for a specific job or internship position, you may also consider reaching out to your interviewers or auditioners and politely and professionally asking for advice. If done incorrectly this could be seen as unprofessional and resentful, so make sure you do this with extreme care.
3. What is your plan for improvement?
Whether you made a cut at the wrong time, left a comma out of a sentence, or went over budget on a project, you will want to put a plan into play to prevent similar mistakes in the future.
This is where most people go wrong, and this is why many people don’t end up growing from failure. It isn’t enough to just tell yourself that you will do better in the future. You need to identify how you are going to do better. What steps are you taking to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again?
Fortunately, experiencing failure isn’t the only way you can learn and grow. In fact, we have a helpful resource you can use right now to discover more about yourself as a filmmaker. Click below to take our Film Emphases Quiz. By answering a few questions, you can find out which area of film study you’re suited for!