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Failure, Persistence and Heroism

NPR's Morning Edition aired a segment this morning called "The Aftermath of Movie Flops", introduced by Steve Inskeep as "a chronicle of failure, [part of] a series on flops, about what happens when the next big thing isn't." Kim Masters interviewed a number of movie people, who had some gems to share:

  • Laura Zisken (producer of Hero): "You think about your failures, way longer and way more than you think about your successes." [Reminding me of don Miguel Ruiz' observation in The Four Agreements that "The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake."]
  • Akiva Goldsman (screenwriter for Batman & Robin): "The trick to a career is hanging on, it's just being stubborn enough to stay in the game." [Substitute "getting a Ph.D." for "a career" and you have my view of what a Ph.D. really represents.]
  • Judd Apatow (producer of Cable Guy, quoting Warren Beatty): "You never really know if you made a good movie for ten years." [Interestingly, an IMDB comment on Cable Guy suggests at least one person considered this a good movie 8 years later.]

My favorite part of the segment, though, was an excerpt from Hero, in which the reporter, Gale Gayley (played by Geena Davis), asks John Bubber (played by Andy Garcia), "If everyone thinks of you as a hero, Mr. Bubber, how do you see yourself?" Bubber answers

"I think we're all heroes, if you catch us at the right moment."

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