It's not a mistake if you're consistent.

Usually I find my work constrained by limitations. This is typical and I don't expect it to change. And constants are ok. Limitations foster creativity. Probably more than resources.

Many times I have some constraint which prevents me from executing a shot in a conventionally desirable manner. I find that fighting it is an exercise in frustration and gives a poor result almost every time.  The most effective approach I have found is to embrace my limitations instead, and find a way to make them work for me.

Start early and be consistent. Suddenly what started as a mistake becomes a style. What made me crazy in the beginning becomes the look in the project that I love most.

Anamorphic lens flares are the most obvious trend in this sort of thing lately, but it can also be focus issue, lighting challenges, camera movement or any other aspect of the craft where the gulf between what one would like to do and what is possible can't be bridged.

Now, to be frank, this doesn't always work. But I've learned to at least anticipate when that's coming and accept it as a parameter of the job. No sense making myself crazy with something that can't be fixed.

I was taught early on to focus on doing what I can do and doing it well rather than break my neck trying to do what I can't do well and worrying about it. That a mistake is only a failure if you fail to learn from it. That there are no problems, only challenges. I make my living with these words.

That and great close-ups. More words of wisdom: Wide shots win awards. Close-ups get you work.

To be sure, I've encountered challenges that bested me. But at least I found a way to learn from them. On the flip side, much of my best work has come from finding creative ways to embrace the limitations of a project and turn them to my advantage.

That's all great. But my real takeaway from the school of hard knocks where these ideas are a daily struggle: Don't complain. Directors hate a complainer. Producers hate a complainer. Exceed expectations instead.

Believing that the challenges I face make me better, that helps.

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