He is Managing Director of Formula Capital and has written 6 books on investing. I hate Woody Allen. They do this on dating services. This only happens in Woody Allen movies. And power to him. He made the movies. He can do whatever the hell he wants in them.
If Mariel Hemingway wants to have sex with him all the time then no problem. He wrote the movie! And people believed it. It was beautiful and makes you fall in love with Manhattan. Mariel Hemingway in Manhattan when Woody Allen is breaking up with her Allen puts out a new movie or two every year. None of them will compete with Star Wars or Harry Potter in terms of gross dollars. Because clearly he is a genius, regardless of what other opinions anyone might have of him and I only know him through his work.
It is interesting to see how he, as an artist and creator, has evolved. He always stands out and stays ahead of the other innovators.
And for other people who seek the same, he is worth observing. Some of his movies are just awful. He admits he could be like the Marx Brothers and make the same comic film every year. It was important for him to evolve.
To risk failure in front of everyone. And his movies did that, going from the early slapstick humor of Sleeper to the darker Crimes and Misdemeanors and Match Point. One of my earliest memories is having a babysitter while my parents went to a movie. Then when they got home I asked them what they saw and they described a movie where a man falls asleep and wakes up in the future where a giant Nose ruled the world.
Woody Allen has been there since the beginning for me. The movie explores the history of art and how no art form exists by itself but is always influenced by generation after generation of artists before it, dating back hundreds if not thousands of years. Allen typically starts off with a broad outline, a sort of script, but it changes throughout the movie.
I write the script and then it changes organically. I see people come in and then I decide…it changes here. It changes for a million reasons. Relationships in general, all shift and change.
You set out in life wanting certain things — the college degree, the house with the white fence, the promotions, the family — but things become different. You have to adapt and be flexible.
To say only the lines you are comfortable with and evolve into. To put out a movie every year or so, plus plays, magazine stories, books. Getting to the typewriter every day is what makes productivity. Probably the most productive schedule is to wake up early — do your work before people stop showing up at your doorstep, on your phone, in your inbox, etc, and leave off at the point right when you are most excited to continue.
Then you know it will be easy to start off the next day. I read in a recent interview that it takes Allen a month to write a comedy and three months to write a drama. Every day right now I make a huge mistake. I start off with the loop: My wife Claudia asks me: I probably do it ten times a day. So for him his pleasure came first. Rather than the anxious watching and waiting. Who even does that now? In the morning made his coffee and toast.
Got the NY Times, and then finally opened it up to the entertainment section where he saw he won the Oscar. Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristy Barcelona 6. Allen has stated many times that none of his films were exactly what he wanted. That they were constantly imperfect. He wants things just right and he tries very hard to get it that way. But he knows it will never happen.
And even at that rate, all the pictures come up imperfect. Even at that meticulous rate of shooting them over and over again, they still come out flawed.
None of them is close to being perfect. Knowing nothing he will do will be the masterpiece he initially conceived. Nothing comes out exactly how we want it. But we have to learn to roll with it and move to the next work. Meanwhile, the movie itself was jarring. Instead of being shot traditionally it was shot with a hand-held camera. The editing itself became part of the jolting and jarring in the story.
It was as if the story was not just being told with the acting and the writing but with the way it was shot and edited. It reminded me of something Kurt Vonnegut once said. But, he said, to be experimental, first you have to know how to use all the rules of grammar. You have to be an expert first in tradition.
It also reminds me of Andy Warhol, who was a highly paid, very straightforward, commercial artist, before he went experimental and started the pop art phenomenon. Allen says about Husbands and Wives in a interview note: Husbands and Wives was his 20th movie: As Allen famously stated: What do you have to show up for: You show up at their door. Otherwise your business will just not work out.
Bill Gates put himself in the middle when IBM wanted to license an operating system. He just kept showing up while everyone else was skiing. The medium becomes the message. I mentioned this in the point above but it deserves further elaboration. The jump-cutting, the hand-held camera, every aspect of the film became woven in with the story.
I wanted the audience to feel there was a jagged and nervous feeling. This is underlined in his latest movie, Midnight in Paris, very highly where Owen Wilson, the main character, pinpoints the roots of his own art by going back further and further in time.
My takeaway — study the history of the form you want to master. If you want to write — read not only all of your contemporaries, but the influences of those contemporaries, and their influences. Additionally, draw inspiration from other art forms.
From music, art, and again, go back to the influences of your inspirations, and go back to their influences, and so on. Allen built up his career over five decades and kept at it persistently, even when scandal, or a bad movie, or a bad article, would cast gloom over his entire career. But he shrugged it off. So what can we learn from Woody Allen? Wake up early Work three to five hours a day and then enjoy the rest of the day Be as perfectionist as you can, knowing that imperfection will still rule Have the confidence to be magical and stretch the boundaries of your medium.
The same can be said for successful entrepreneurs. Or for people who are successful in any aspect of life. Is Woody Allen a happy man? I can only be so lucky.