There is not just one way to learn about your craft.

By on 27/09/2012. Posted in .

When I started my first job, after engineering school, it took me some time to apply what I’d learned. And particularly something I was taught the hard way: HOW to learn.

You see, the school where I develloped the skills I use the most today had a very particular way of teaching their students. The first month was called the “Swimming pool” because they throw you in at the deep end, before even asking if you know how to swim! And you then spend the following month either LEARNING QUICK or SINKING.

Later on, once over 70% of the students had given up, the teachers would start a more “conventional” program, with lessons, homework and projects… But everything they taught me during these few years can be summarized in a few words:

Theory is a waste of time without practice. And A LOT OF IT.

They would give us a project such as “Code a web-server in Java based on the Apache API” – and then you had to figure it out. On your own. What is Apache, how does it work, what’s the best way to go about it etc…

A byproduct of this method is that you have to start looking for things you need to learn in unexpected places. And you have to teach yourself. You inquire to colleagues who know better. You read books, blogs or anything you can put your hands on that is related. And when I made the transition from IT to photography nearly 5 years ago, it served me really well.

All that to lead to this amazing lecture by Charlie Kaufman about screenwriting at BAFTA (Part of a wonderful series). I’ve had to listen to it 3 or 4 times, and I think i will a few more times. There is so much honesty. And so much knowledge. And somehow, it can be applied to so many other creative processes… it’s definitely worth a good listen or two!

It runs 1h10m – but for you peeps who are using those wonderful smartphones, you can take it on your underground journey on your way to work! And for the people with an attention span of maximum 3 mins, here’s the video of the highlights.


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