It has been my experience in life that you learn the most from past mistakes, whether they be of your own doing or from someone else. (Unfortunately, sometimes I have to make the same mistake several times before I finally catch on and move forward.) The same goes in the creative world. Being able to identify the bad can help us be able to more easily identify the good.
Darious Britt advocates just that in a recent video he shared on his YouTube channel. As he says in the 5-minute clip, “If you’re a doctor, how can you get good at diagnosing sick patients if all you’ve ever evaluated are healthy patients?” And he’s right. Analyzing great movies (and I venture to postulate that there are very few that fall into this category) is also a good practice when learning and honing your own skills, but it’s much harder to see what is truly great in it until you can understand what is truly bad.
Why you should analyze bad movies
Darious breaks down why watching “bad movies” (no, not THAT kind of “bad movie”) can be so beneficial.
- “It’s way easier to spot issues with films that are not working.”
- “Breaking down films that do not work will help you break down films that do work.”
- “The lessons tend to stick.”
- “You’ll be a wiz at spotting cliche dialogue even in your own work.”
- “You can help spot issues in your fellow filmmakers’ work.”
- “Bad movies are very entertaining, especially if you go into them with an open mind.”
- “Watching bad movies will reinforce your understanding of why certain screen writing and storytelling guidelines are there.”
In the end, what we have in “bad movies” is a wealth of information about filmmaking, showing by example how it’s NOT supposed to be done. From these we can learn how to better hone our craft and work to create GOOD movies.
As Darious states, making mistakes in movies can be very costly, but learning from the costly mistakes of others is completely free…and free is always better (mostly).
[via No Film School]