There Is Only One Certainty For An Artist – Glenn Gersadmin
Film Courage: How is being an artist nvery different from being the audience? Glenn Gers, Screenwriter: That is one of the nhardest things to get used to because we all begin as an audience. I don’t think there’s an artist nin the world who didn’t start by being a fan. We all want to do these things because nwe liked seeing them, absorbing them, we were the best consumers and the truth is the nartist never experiences their own work the way an audience will because they first you know what’s ngoing to happen. You can’t actually experience it you have to reverse engineer that whole experience njust like if you were building a roller coaster. You can’t be riding the roller coaster at the same ntime. You have to actually say I need a support here and I need a dip here and you’re being very nmechanical and frankly artificial about it because you’re saying I want them to get a throw when nthey go over that hump and in order to do that I’m going to have to have this amount of force nup here and then it’s going to have to have a tailing out at that point and it’s going to become nvery mechanical in order to give somebody else the pleasure of riding that roller coaster. That’s nwhat you need to do as an artist is to say I love the experience of going over that hump and then nzooming down and for some reason I don’t crash at the bottom that’s because someone knew how to nget out of the freefall that I’m going through the artist has to stop and learn the mechanics how you nsupport the track that’s going to do that how you make the story twist and turn and provoke those nexperiences that you yourself will never have and when you’re actually doing it you get this weird nkind of duality because as you’re creating you usually have like a little tiny bit of an naudience’s experience you’ll be like I’m actually enjoying the line I just thought of as nan audience did you’ll have that for a fraction of a second while you’re doing it and then after nthat you have to figure out the mechanics to make that scene work so you’re constantly going back nand forth sort of saying I want to be an audience now and now in order to get that audience nI got to go back and become the mechanic and you’re constantly cycling through them nyou can never really give up being an audience but you have to also become the person building nthe ride the other thing about artists and audiences is that from the finished product you ncan never tell how it got made one of the things I think artists really should do is try to read nor hear podcasts or books about how things you love got made because you’ll always be amazed nat how the people who set out to do it did not know that the final result was going to be what we nnow think of as inevitable and the the stories are actually I just read one about midnight cowboy nand and when they brought the book Midnight Cowboy John Schlesinger the director and the producer nbrought the book to MGM The studio and they said we want to do this very dark story about this nwannabe hustler going to Times Square and MGM said we think this could be an Elvis Presley vehicle nand we’re going to put in some songs and we’ll take out that dark stuff so you know on a bad day nMGM could have taken it over and it could have been Elvis Presley in Midnight Cowboy which would nhave been something to see but the point is when we watch midnight cowboy it never occurs to us how nmany different things had to go right or had to be learned to make that happen and having worked nbehind the scenes having created things I can tell you that there are things that I did not know ngoing in somebody brought it to me sometimes whole story ideas were not my idea in fact the script nI’m best known for fracture wasn’t my original script someone else had written a very, very good nscript the studio wanted to make changes someone else was hired after that then I was brought in nso many of the plot twists I didn’t come up with I did a lot of the writing that made those plot ntwists work in that form that it did end up in but when you watch that movie you come to me nand say how did you think of that plot twist the answer is I read it in somebody else’s script and nI used it because that’s the job so the answer is you can’t just look at stuff you love and go oh I nknow how they did that you’ll never know how they did that and you’ll never know how your work nis going to come out you just don’t you have to get used to the experience of trying to get nsomething done doing the best you can and seeing how it plays you had talked about something in the nartistic process abstract to concrete to abstract yes what is that that’s sort of a follow-up nof the artist audience issue which is you nothing will ever come out like it feels to nyou that is part of the art I don’t I don’t think there’s any artist who hasn’t gotten hopefully nused to it because it’s part of learning how to do it one of the things that brought this to me was nI was once looking at a Picasso drawing and late Picasso drawings especially are just like they’re nlike scribbles you know it’s it looks sort of like a bull but how did he know to make the line go nlike how did he know to do that because it’s just a scribble but it’s a bull and I suddenly nrealized he didn’t know he knew that whatever came out would be interesting he trusted that and nthat’s what every artist has to learn that you don’t know exactly how it’s going to come out you ncan outline I outline incredibly thoroughly and I think I know what’s going to happen but the ntruth is that there’s going to be a process after that the creative process good word for nit you’re creating something out of nothing and when that happens it’s going to be something nthat you’re going to discover as you do it and then you need to shape it and rework it and do nall the other things that artists have to do but the thing in your head there’s this feeling nor this idea or this line and then you put it on the page and then somebody else performs it and nthen someone else sees it and in all of those steps it’s not what you thought it was going to be nand the best thing an artist can do is get really comfortable in a sense getting comfortable nwith a failure you’re going to fail to get your exact feeling and thought out to someone else nthat’s that’s life it will never ever happen that someone gets exactly what you thought it was but nwhat will happen is you’ll get used to doing that scribble and someone will go oh cool bowl and nthat’s art that’s the magic of it is that you get used to bringing something abstract into na concrete form and someone else gets an abstract experience out of it that’s that’s nsomething that only art does it’s beautiful so get used to sounds like just experimenting and nand trusting that I may not know where it’s going but this kind of feels right and knowing that nthat same thing you could see it could be changed drastically and you have to be collaborative and nokay with that get used to the process get used to the experience of doing the thing over and over if nyou’re playing tennis you get used to hitting the ball you hit it over and over and then eventually nyou’ll get to where you can control it more but still there’s going to be a lot of other elements nand what only thing that you can get used to is the process of making the swing likewise the nprocess of thinking of something writing it in a concrete form editing it shaping it rewriting nit giving it to other people that process that’s what you have to practice that’s what you have nto get to enjoy and feel comfort in and the more that you do it the more that you’ll get lucky nand things will work out and you’ll be like oh I think this line is funny and then you write nit down and someone reads it and they laugh that gives you so much power for the next ntime you do it because sometimes it’s going to work and sometimes it’s going to not work nbut the more you do it the more it will work Question For The Viewers: How is being an artist different nthan being the audience?