At the 2014 Maker Faire, mythbuster and creative Adam Savage spent some time talking about what it takes to be a Maker. He kicked off his talk by defining what he calls his Ten Commandments of Making. Maker Faire tends to have a craftsperson appeal, but what struck me was how well Adam's ten principles translated to the film & video industry. Here are Adam's Ten Commandments, paraphrased and expanded for creatives in production.
1. Make something.
Make ANYTHING. You will only improve your skills by making, talk does you no good.
2. Make something useful.
Make something that improves your life or the lives of others. Make a thing that solves a problem for you, or highlights an issue you care about.
3. Start right now.
Do it with the tools you have. Don't want for the next cool thing, or the next best camera, or that plugin you desperately want to buy. Make.
4. Work on projects with an end goal that interests you.
When you are interested in the material, it doesn't feel like work.
Ask questions, ask for help, ask for advice, ask for feedback. Cultivate relationships with people you trust, and be vulnerable in asking for feedback. Be specific when asking for feedback.
Trade knowledge. Nobody has a monopoly on being you, share technique “secrets” freely. Your technique alone is not what will make you successful in the long run.
7. Learn to fail.
Discouragement and failure are part of Every Single Project. Recognize and anticipate that you will fail in some way on every project, learn from it, and learn to push past it.
8. Measure carefully.
Know what your tolerances are on the project, where you need to be “tight” and where you need to be “loose.” This is what separates pros from amateurs.
9. Make things for other people.
From time to time, give it away. Collaborate with others. Help new people along.
10. Use more cooling fluid.
For our industry that could be “Plan for time and budget overages.” They almost always happen.
For more on these ten commandments and a 30-minute Q&A, watch Adam's talk below. It's a good one.