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Source material- jarmusch “nothing is original”

January 23, 2009

There’s a great visual that’s circulating around creative and design departments, this very minute, it’s a quote from director Jim Jarmusch encouraging people to steal ideas, because there’s no such thing as an original idea.

Of course, this is a constant topic of debate especially as every creative idea appears to be under the microscope these days and someone usually digs up a similar idea.

The Jarmusch quote came from an interview he did with Moviemaker Magazine back in 2004, the visual is from Rule#5.

Here it is in it’s complete form- expletives and all..(apologies!!)

Rule #1
: There
are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there
are potential
filmmakers. It’s
an open form. Anyway, I would personally never presume to tell
anyone else what to do or how to do anything. To me that’s
like telling someone else what their religious beliefs should be.
Fuck that. That’s against my personal philosophy—more
of a code than a set of “rules.” Therefore, disregard
the “rules” you are presently reading, and instead
consider them to be merely notes to myself. One should make one’s
own “notes” because there is no one way to do anything.
If anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far
away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically.

Rule #2: Don’t let the fuckers get ya. They can either help
you, or not help you, but they can’t stop you. People who
finance films, distribute films, promote films and exhibit films
are not filmmakers. They are not interested in letting filmmakers
define and dictate the way they do their business, so filmmakers
should have no interest in allowing them to dictate the way a film
is made. Carry a gun if necessary.

Also, avoid sycophants at all costs. There are always people around
who only want to be involved in filmmaking to get rich, get famous,
or get laid. Generally, they know as much about filmmaking as George
W. Bush knows about hand-to-hand combat.

Rule #3: The production is there
to serve the film. The film is not there to serve the production.
in the world
of filmmaking this is almost universally backwards. The film is
not being made to serve the budget, the schedule, or the resumes
of those involved. Filmmakers who don’t understand this should
be hung from their ankles and asked why the sky appears to be upside

Rule #4: Filmmaking is a collaborative
process. You get the chance to work with others whose minds and
may be stronger than
your own. Make sure they remain focused on their own function and
not someone else’s job, or you’ll have a big mess.
But treat all collaborators as equals and with respect. A production
assistant who is holding back traffic so the crew can get a shot
is no less important than the actors in the scene, the director
of photography, the production designer or the director. Hierarchy
is for those whose egos are inflated or out of control, or for
people in the military. Those with whom you choose to collaborate,
if you make good choices, can elevate the quality and content of
your film to a much higher plane than any one mind could imagine
on its own. If you don’t want to work with other people,
go paint a painting or write a book. (And if you want to be a fucking
dictator, I guess these days you just have to go into politics…).

Rule #5: Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere
that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour
old films, new
films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random
conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds,
bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal
from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work
(and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality
is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate
it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc
Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s
where you take them to.”

Posted by Ed Cotton

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