The power of yet: lessons learned from “Funny Pains”

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Sesame street beat me to this topic, but I feel like writing about the power of yet, especially now that I’ve reviewed all the footage I shot for “Funny Pains”. When you are shooting a documentary, trying to keep up with the action taking place in front of you, it’s inevitable to make mistakes. “Funny Pains” was my first documentary working behind the camera, and boy did I make mistakes. Running after the subject, camera in hand, for 2 blocks without pressing the record button? Yep, I did it. Not formatting an SD card before shooting and then running out of space mid-interview? You bet.

I was so green then, and I remember feeling like it too. I knew that I wasn’t very good at the time, at least not yet, and it was that last part what kept me going. When you face a difficult task and you end up performing marginally at best, you have a choice to make. You can feel inadequate, get discouraged and eventually stop trying to get better, or you can be honest to yourself, accept that you are not very good yet, and get your behind back to work. I chose the latter.

When I realized the power of “yet” it was so liberating. When you say “I’m not there yet”, “I can’t do that yet” you are acknowledging where you are in your journey and at the same time making the commitment to get better. Now when someone points out one of your mistakes, you don’t take offense, you take action. Criticism is no longer a bad word, but something that you seek to get better. I believe that anyone can learn and improve through hard work and constant self-assessment.

I wake up every day grateful to be doing what I’m doing, looking for ways to improve my craft, and knowing that I haven’t reached my full potential as a cinematographer, not yet.