Linchpin – Seth Godin

Are you Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future.

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to Drive Your Career and Create a Remarkable Future
Time is valuable to filmmakers since we can be working on our projects in our head pretty much every waking minute, so I’m not usually one to recommend a book, but I think this one will help us obtain a frame of mind that will help turn our passion into a viable  career.

It’s not aimed at filmmakers, but its advice tells you how to become indispensable whether you are self employed or part of a team – in any industry.

Some of the ideas explored in this book:

“…the only way to become indispensable is to be different.” It’s a lot easier to blend in at work, like we were taught to do at school, but the people who stand out are the ones we notice, and the ones who will get ahead in this hyper-competitive world.  Finally, permission to reject everything we were taught at school!

“Having a factory job is not a natural state. It wasn’t at the heart of being human until recently.” As a passionate filmmaker you know you don’t belong in a factory. I don’t just mean working on a production line, I mean any big corporation that employs people to be cogs in their wheel of production. These factories are failing in this economy, aren’t we lucky we already have a foot in the door of a creative industry.

“There is no map. No map to be a leader, no map to be an artist.” Sure we have mentors along the way, follow pieces of the path that others have taken, but we must believe in ourselves and our stories and our abilities that carry us on this path, and inspire others to walk (run!) with us.

On taking risks… “So, why is this so hard? Turns out it’s biological” We are programmed to sabotage anything that feels threatening or risky, but creation is risky. We have to recognise this is how we are programmed and move past this to succeed.

“Your personality and attitude are more important than the actual work product you create” This hits upon one of my favorite things about filmmaking… other filmmakers. There is nothing I like more in the world than to be on set surrounded by other excited interesting creative risk-taking filmmakers.

“Art is unique, new and challenging to the status quo. It’s not decoration. It’s something that causes change.” We won’t want to make mediocre films, so vanilla that they are forgotten by the next day. We want people to engage with our work, to remember it long after viewing, to tell their friends “You’ve gotta see this film!” We aren’t average and we clearly can’t take the safe road, if we could it would be considerably easier to sit in an office 9-5 instead of throwing all our time and money and passion at an endeavour with no guaranteed returns.

“Successful people are successful for a reason: They think about failure differently.” We have all been part of projects that make us cringe to watch years later, but our failures, and our bad ideas help us to find the path of success. Learn to embrace them (and hope they don’t become too public :))

This is a fantastic book that will make you rethink the way you approach the business of movie making. The only negative is its wordiness, I would have paid twice as much for it if it were half the length, but maybe the repetition will help the message stick. I’ll be interested to know what you think of it and which ideas resonate for you.

Seth’s Blog


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