Let's Try That Again! Making Mistakes and The Importance of Persistence.

24 May 2012 12:54 PM CDT

Several weeks ago I got to experience something authentically Nashville.  No, it wasn't a trip to the Opry, although I've been and it's amazing.  And no, it wasn't dining at a meat and three (but I can tell you that Arnold's is off the charts).   For the second time since moving here I got to watch the production of a country music video.

The night that inspired my blog post "Reinventing Nashville - A City in the South Poised to Boom," is the same night I got to witness country trio, Edens Edge, film their second music video for their current radio single, "Too Good To Be True."

Filming a music video is a big affair.  The day started at 10AM and was scheduled to go all the way to the next morning at 6AM.  There were countless people involved - hair, makeup, wardrobe, director, assistant director, camera operator, lighting, catering, extras, and many, many more.  From an outsider's perspective the scene looks like complete chaos.  People are carrying stuff, moving stuff, adjusting lights, fiddling with lenses, transferring digital footage from camera cards to computers, fixing hair, makeup, and clothes, and in one way or another working to create a successful shoot.

On a wonderful Nashvillian side note, one thing I didn't see was any form of security trying to keep outsiders away from the action.  The shoot took place in a hotel.  Nobody shut the hotel down or restricted access to any of the hotel amenities.  If you wanted a drink at the hotel bar you could sit there and watch the entire music video production take place right before your eyes.  It was awesome.  Something remarkable about Nashville is that country stars and other celebrities are fairly accessible here.  I regularly hear stories of people seeing Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban at the Green Hills Whole Foods.  My wife and I saw Taylor Swift hanging out with her friends at Batter'd & Fried Sushi Bar in Five Points.  The best part about Nashville is that you never see a cadre of paparazzi following these people around.  At most, you might spot a security guard.  People are just people here.

Back to the shoot.  I witnessed the action from about 10:30PM to 2:30AM.  I saw the setup, production, and filming of several scenes.  Watching this process I noticed a few simple truths that I think are good life lessons.

A tremendous amount of time, energy, and effort is put into that first take.  Countless people work to make sure the lighting, hair, makeup, clothes, setting, extras, props, and camera angles are all perfect.  Everyone takes cues from the director and the assistant director, as well as from an array of other people working to make sure everything is prepared properly.  Then, the camera starts rolling and the director says, "action."

Without fail the first take is never right.  Something doesn't work the way it was supposed to.  Someone isn't where they're supposed to be.  The lighting isn't quite perfect.  It could be any number of issues.  The director makes a few changes, everyone adjusts and they try again.  Take two rarely goes any better than take one.  Again, something isn't quite right.  The director may see something in the monitor that he missed the first time.  Further adjustments and refinements are made and they begin filming take three.  Each take eliminates various flaws.  That night each scene generally involved filming at least five different takes.

A few days later I was in a meeting debating and deliberating various aspects of a project I'm working on.  We had a roundtable discussion for about an hour before I started thinking about the music video.  When it comes to doing, creating, or starting anything, no amount of planning and preparation is going to lead to a flawless first iteration.  It's going to take two, three, or four iterations before you start making any impressive progress.  It's important to remember that you will make mistakes.  Don't let the fear of making mistakes prevent you from starting.  Get going and if you screw something up, congratulations!  Now learn something, be persistent, and you'll head for better outcomes.