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One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about since the Emerging Visions program is how different everyone’s path is to making every single one of their movies. Whether it’s your first one or your 15th, it’s always going to be a unique process. And even though each experience of making a film helps you build on your next film, each film is in a way like starting from scratch.

All the writers, directors, and producers I met and listened to during Emerging Visions had something in common and that was their in-it-for-the-long-haul passion and their commitment to making each and every one of their films, regardless of if they were trying to make a first feature or had made ten already. Something Doug Liman stressed was the importance of approaching every film like it’s your first one. The risk-taking factor. All the speakers were into taking creative risks, and it’s probably the way that they’ve all, with their extremely different backgrounds and storytelling approaches, been able to stay so creative and productive — and been able to make the variety of films they have. It’s the constantly breathing and changing nature of taking risks that enables storytelling. If you get too comfy — well, that’s no good! Not to mention that it makes for bad films. It took Joe Berlinger 18 years to start and finish what became his Paradise Lost series. In that time, not only did his story morph, but his vision and his approach to the story did too. It was a process that was constantly happening and changing, not a stagnant “I’m making a movie and it’s going to be like this.”

Make your movie the best that you can, challenge yourself to make it better, surround yourself with people you want to work with and who are also the absolute best for your film. And of course: Be creatively risky! These are the mantras I’ve taken away from Emerging Visions — and they’re things I’ll keep in mind for sure going forward. It all goes back to having the make-it-like-it’s-your-first movie attitude. It’s kind of funny to hear advice like this right now, when I’m in the process of developing my first feature — and the first movie I make I’m certainly going to make like it’s my first one. But I do think these are words of advice that will stay with me for the long run.

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