Missteps and Mistakes | #4

Messing up is part of life and a lot of people will tell you that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. I think that’s an idealistic way to look at your mistakes and passively glosses over the very real anxiety that comes with working in any professional setting. Although I disagree with generalizing all mistakes as a result of some natural byproduct of breathing, there is a redeeming element to this philosophy of owning your mistakes and seeing the value in them.


As an intern, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and many of them were minor and some were only major to me. Through these experiences, I’ve begun to see that there’s a right and a wrong way to make a mistake. Now I don’t mean that there’s a dichotomy for all mistakes and that they all fall into either the right or wrong category with a pretty little bow and a label. But I do think that mistakes are all about your reaction and the solution.


For example, there’s the time I didn’t know how to connect the monitors to the camera, hooked it up to the wrong thing and had to have someone help me through it. There’s also my first day where I showed up to my boss’s apartment instead of the office. And then there’s the time I was given the task of writing a voiceover script and wrote the completely wrong thing. We also had a shoot, where me and another intern were operating a camera  and couldn’t figure out how to white balance with our camera and half of our footage was extremely yellow.


Basically, I’ve messed up a lot but I noticed that my reaction to each mistake was a result of ignorance, trusting myself to figure it out, and then looking for help eventually once I’ve exhausted myself as a resource. The best part about being an intern is that people expect you to make mistakes but they also expect you to ask questions. I think that a lot of how people perceive your mistakes is dictated by your attitude, intention, solution, and the severity. I mean most people aren’t going to be happy with you if you cost the company money by breaking something by being careless. I find that people respect me more when I put in the effort but come to them for help once I’ve exhausted myself as a resource and don’t want to waste any more time. I also find that asking in a way that says I tried ___ and I think ____ are much more helpful than asking for generic help.


I think that my mistakes have taught me the most but I also believe that my successes have as well. I learned that screenwriting is definitely something I can see myself doing long term. I learned that I enjoy doing research for development and have been very successful at doing so. I learned that my ideas are worth pursuing and that they can produce great work and great moments on screen. I learned a lot of this by doing and succeeding with the tasks I was given. I think there’s value in both mistakes and triumphs and I think mistake is a very general term that can apply to anything and everything that isn’t done perfectly well. I think in order for a mistake to be a positive you have to look at it as a learning experience and apply what you learn. A lot of this is based on you and your approach to life. At this point in my internship which is close to the end I see the value in all of my experiences, both good and bad.  Even if I beat myself up to this day about every misstep along the way.


One thought on “Missteps and Mistakes | #4

  • August 23, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Matthew, I can tell that you have learned so much and worked so hard throughout this internship. Your insight about mistakes is really interesting and caused me to reflect on how I approach them as well. What you said about asking for help by saying “I tried ______ and I think ______” does sound like a great way to approach it to show the person you’re asking that you did try it on your own and do have some insight into what’s going on, so that it’s clear that you’re not just leaning on them without putting work in yourself and that you have brought value to the problem already. The way you identified that exact formula is really awesome! I agree that looking at mistakes through rose-colored glasses and pretending that mistakes are only positive is ignoring the complexity of the situation and how much anxiety mistakes cause. It sounds like you have developed a really healthy outlook on the situation that takes into consideration all the gray areas.

    I’m also really excited to hear that your internship has helped you realize that you truly are interested in screenwriting as a career and that you’re also interested in research for development and that you’re good at it! It must feel great to find out that your ideas and work are good quality and that this is a good path for you.

    As you are digging deeper into this career path, I’d be curious to know what kinds of relationships you’re building and how you might see those being beneficial as you continue in this field.



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