Get used to the bear behind you.


Paul Cronin’s book of conversations with filmmaker Werner Herzog is called Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed. On the back cover of the book, Herzog offers a list of advice for filmmakers that doubles as general purpose life advice.

  1. Always take the initiative.
  2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
  3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
  4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
  5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
  6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
  7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
  8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
  9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
  10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
  11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
  12. Take your fate into your own hands.
  13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
  14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
  15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
  16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
  17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.
  18. Develop your own voice.
  19. Day one is the point of no return.
  20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
  21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
  22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
  23. Take revenge if need be.
  24. Get used to the bear behind you.

Source: Kottke.Org

19 thoughts on “Get used to the bear behind you.

  1. I read one of Herzog’s books a few years ago; ‘Conquest of the Useless’, a very rewarding book, if a bit odd. You never know where he’s going, very unexpected. I disagree with his ‘never detour’ , most of what he does is detours, yet he follows through on his detours with brilliant films.

    • I like that title Conquest of the Useless (note to self: borrow from the library) But if look at line 16, he just corrected himself 😛 BTW Did you see his documentary film Caves of Forgotten Dream? Really good.

  2. Lol! Great list! Although I don’t think I could ever get used to a bear behind me, in front of me, or anywhere around me for that matter… unless it were in a cage at the zoo. That would be okay.

    • I’m with you. What I think he is implying is the “human bears” which is worse that the real bears. Eeekkk… these should be behind bars. Tee hee….

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