Thursday 25 February 2016

Guillermo del Toro on getting ideas off the ground

In a recent discussion with game director Hideo Kojima (moderated by Geoff Keighley), the film director Guillermo del Toro offered the following regarding how he chooses projects:
I wish I could command the movies I want to make. The movie that gets made gets made because it's right at that time, and it doesn't matter. Anything else is completely haphazard. When people say why do you have six, seven things going at the same time, it's because one of them happens, not the seven, not the six. And I learned this the hard way. When you think about projects you think about something that came out in a dream. That's it. When you hear about it, and whether it happens or not, in between [those points] I work three, four, ten years on that thing. And sometimes, most of the time, they don't come through.
While del Toro is talking about films, I think this is good advice for anyone who's dependent upon outside support to get a project off the ground, such as scientific grants. You need to have enough ideas in progress that when the circumstances are right in terms of collaborations, funding, and the general mood of the research community, one of them can move along and give a finished result. As a corollary I'd argue that one of the things that distinguishes the really successful creative people is simply having enough ideas to be able to discard all but the best.

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