After 25 or so years of directing, Steven Soderbergh is retiring from film. A few great bits:
“Just make stuff and don’t agonize over it.”
I was watching one of those iconoclast shows on the Sundance Channel. Jamie Oliver said Paul Smith had told him something he hadn’t understood until very recently: “I’d rather be No. 2 forever than No. 1 for a while.” Just make stuff and don’t agonize over it. Stop worrying about being No. 1. I see a lot of people getting paralyzed by the response to their work, the imagined result. It’s like playing a Jedi mind trick on yourself, and Smith is right. That’s the way I’ve always approached films, the way I approach everything. Just make ’em.
How to learn anything: identify your heroes, figure out what they did, then get going.
On learning to paint:
What’s exciting is to feel at the very beginning of something. It’s also terrifying starting from scratch, but panic has always energized me. It’s the same process as anything: identifying who your heroes are, figuring out what they did, and then just going and doing it. I can stare at my Lucian Freud book for hours and hours, but at a certain point you have to go to the wall and imitate. … I’m always curious to hear how something was made—though I have no interest in why an artist did something, or what his work means. Like with Jackson Pollock: I’m always interested in what kind of paint and canvas he used, I just don’t want to know what he meant. You’re supposed to expand your mind to fit the art, you’re not supposed to chop the art down to fit your mind.
Steal from everywhere.
The very idea that someone from Congress can’t take something from the other side because they’ll be punished by their own party? That’s stupid. If I were running for office, I would be poaching ideas from everywhere. That’s how art works. You steal from everything.