I realised at an early age that even the experts and the top CEOs can be wrong. Sometimes the only thing these people who sit behind desks have going for them, is a desk. No one is infallible. And when you start thinking you are, you’re believing your own publicity and headed for a fall. We’ve seen some of the greatest generals and leaders in history eventually stumble on their own ego, and make silly mistakes. For every Napoleon there’s a Waterloo. Take it from one who knows.
So, I question things. Bob Kennedy once said, “…Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”
Although I have worked hard, struggled, persevered, and sweated blood and tears, at times I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. Starting from humble beginnings I went onto co-run Australia’s most successful film production company during its heyday. We sold Australian films all over the world at a time you couldn’t give them away. Miramax, Paramount, Disney, J&M Entertainment, Skouras, Warners, etc. were just some of our buyers. Unfortunately a lot of people grew resentful of our success and worked against us. And then, left to our own devices, we became undone the relentless pressure and massive responsibility to keep topping the last product and raising the bar amidst disappearing money.
All I learned from that is this, there is no formula for success. In fact every time something or someone succeeds it seems to be for a different reason. Is it destiny? Well, Bob Dylan once said that, before he wrote his first song, he just knew he was going to be the greatest. So I guess one of the ingredients is destiny.
What about timing? Certainly. The art of being in the right place at the right time. Would the Beatles have succeeded 10 years before? Or 10 years later? Probably not. They were of their time.
Luck? Yes, of course. But how much of our luck do we make? Sam Goldwyn once said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” Perhaps luck is really the law of attraction. The Indians have an old wisdom, “The smile you send out returns to you.” So perhaps it’s true that if we want something bad enough and send out enough positive energy in that direction we are eventually rewarded. Albert Einstein agreed that “everything is vibrations.” We are an energy force and so is the world, so if we get our “vibrations” in synch, the doors to success open.
Art, and eSpecially films and music, is about timing, vibrations and harmony. The Beach Boys once wrote a song about it. So is success about timing. Trust your instincts and don’t go against them or get talked into things that don’t feel right. The legendary Broadway director and writer Moss Hart once said, “I have succeeded many times and I have failed many times. Every time I succeeded it was for a different reason. Every time I failed it was for the same reason – I said yes when I meant no.” Learn to trust your instincts and to back them.
Discipline? You betcha. You’re not going to succeed if you can’t get out of bed in the morning. While you’re sleeping away your life the other guy is out there working on making his dream come true. Or stealing yours. What you put into something is what you get out of it.
I am blessed that creativity has been my life. It has not only been my love and joy but also my career. Looking back, I could not have wished for anything better.
(c) Frank Howson 2014

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