Have you ever written one? Austin Kleon, in Steal like an Artist, has some thought behind them:
If you truly love somebody's work, you shouldn't need a response from them (And if the person you want to write to has been dead for a hundred years, you're really out of luck.) So, I recommend public fan letters.
My friend Laura Turner has a great story about writing a fan letter to Zach Effron when she was 9 years old. (a reminder, if you forgot). She wrote to him about their common love of the Postal Service with the hopes of hearing back from him (she never did.)
Although I am not hopelessly in love with some of my heroes, I do very much admire their work and would love to share it with all of you. Part of my continual learning includes researching articles, videos, and stories about the people I look up to. I think this comes from a desire to maybe, just maybe, have a glimpse into what my path could one day be like.
Here's to Eliot Rausch:
The world of filmmaking is so over-saturated right now and there are so many conversations about formula and “going viral” and taking your brand to the next level. I think there’s this big movement to really become a well-known brand. That is the exact thing that kills the spirit of an artist. I would say: Stop studying formulas; stop studying what has been done before you; stop studying the mechanisms and devices that have carried other people in other seasons to the next level. Go out and do life; fall on your face; fail; absorb everything; let it hurt you and bleed through you; and then talk about it. Also, figure out who you are before you start telling stories. All of that is not the five-point model to success. - Eliot Rausch, The Great Discontent
I don't entirely remember my first experience with Eliot's work. Many of you may be familiar with the success of his early works, Last Minutes with Oden. The short film was done 7 years ago, and of course his work has only grown. What I'm most drawn to about Eliot is his desire to first be a human, then a filmmaker.
Over time I've grown a similar belief that our creations (film, writing, cooking, raising children, accounting, etc.) is a reflection of the lives we've lived. And that a life fully lived will create experiences, learnings, and perspective that shape the things we create. This has been the biggest learning for me the past few years with a shift from focusing on how I can be a better human and appreciate all the moments, instead of chasing down success.
What does it mean to be a human? I feel like Eliot is pursuing this question through his work. His ability to create work that connects with people, on a fundamentally human level, is impeccable.
So thank you Eliot for putting so much love into the craft and inspiring me to be a better human.
This film resonates with me and my relationship with 'success.' Eliot's taken a beautifully simple concept and re-created it in a way that is relevant for us today (privileged, striving, westerners.) It is a beautiful reminder that us humans complicate the shit out of things.
This one sent shiver's down my spine the first time I watched it. A beautiful piece.
A short documentary on the creation and process of Alejandro G. Inarritu, the Director behind the Revenant.
* Bonus link to Wonderland for all your filmmaker and artsy folk.