Have your own brain.

I’m sitting in a beautiful theatre, during Polish film festival in Gdynia, waiting for another film to start. I’m here every year, for whole week, to see what’s going on in Polish cinema. Untill now I’ve seen, among others, oil painted film „Loving Vincent” about Van Gogh, a scientific film „Photon” about evolution of life and DNA since the big bang, about universe chemistry and physics, „Spoor”, very lovely, and dark picture of crime surrounded by animals by Agnieszka Holland, that may get an Oscar, „Panic attack”, a few connected stories about people on the edge of losing control. Very different movies. How is it connected to improv? Just a second.

This festival is strongly connected to my Gdynia Film School, where I was studying directing. I’ve been working with various, very experienced directors, actors, screenwriters, etc. Each of them had own artistic vision and philosophy. And we had exams, where we had to show our films. And during that, all of them were sitting in a row, watching. And giving notes after. You think you would get one answer? No. From the point of view of CRAFT, yes, they mostly agreed. But from the point of ART, you received all different feedback. And even if you’d like to please all of the teachers – it’s impossible.

And that was a great lesson for improv.

I smile silently when I hear that someone thinks he OWNS THE TRUTH. Knows the right way. I also smile silently when I hear that someone plays „slow improv”, because it’s true improv. Only Harold, because it’s The Improv. Or that there is one definition of improv that we all have to follow.

I rise my brows silently, when in the workshop (that I participate, or teach, doesn’t matter) someone comments „But <this cool famous teacher> said this <other thing>”.

What I want to say is HAVE YOUR OWN BRAIN.

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Movies as perfumes.

– So, how was it?

The first question, after going out from the cinema. And if nobody asks, that’s a disaster for a movie, because there was nothing to talk about. When I was starting my directing school, I thought that the worst thing that could happen, is to make a bad movie. When people would talk about all the things, that were bad. But after school, I realised, that there is something worse. Make a flat movie, uninteresting one. Look at the credits at the end of every movie – even the worst one – hundreds of people worked on that! Director, people responsible for picture, sound, screenplay, cutting, producing, make up, music, food on set, driving, script, continuation, animal owners, kid’s parents, flat owners, there are even STAND-INs, people, who stand in front of camera, when the star wants to get a coffee or rest, but the lights need to be set for the scene. And hundreds more! And they are all working whole days to make it happen. Not only days. Weeks. Months. Of preproduction, filming, postproduction.

And when people walk out of the cinema, and instead of being shaken, they shake their arms, it’s a disaster. When people, instead of arguing if the movie was good, or bad, they have nothing to say.

On the other hand, sometimes we go out of the cinema in silence, becuase we don’t know what to say. Because we were thinking about the movie, and we didn’t know what to say, yet, we were processing it. We were still living it. In screenwriting classes they said, that you can make the simpliest movie, but if you make the audience FEEL the real emotions, you win. And that this is what cinema is about…

I’ve always had a problem with reviewing movies. IMDB with “stars” seemed awkward. “Good”? “Very good”? “Average”? “Great cinematography, but the potential of actors wasn’t used”? “10 for shaking me”?

And once I went to see the “Perfume” movie. A I realised, what my problem is. It’s not like I don’t know what to think. It just changes.

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