Robin Sloan points to this great interview with Francis Ford Coppola from The Rumpus. I was drawn to this segment where he speaks about coping with the success of The Godfather and his attempt to get back to his roots:
I wanted a clean slate so I decided to embark on a series of “student films” for myself to begin anew. I thought, “How do you be like a student?” Easy, you have no money. If you have no money to pay for everything, that’s when things get interesting. The films I make now have to be inexpensive enough that I can finance them myself. This was how I made a new beginning for myself. There’s a scene in a Kurosawa movie where they get this guy, and they practically kill him, and he’s in a box. He just has this knife, and these leaves are blowing, and he throws the knife and tries to get the knife to go through a leaf, and that’s how he builds himself up. I had to do that: be broken in a box and have a second life. To do that I needed to be a student. I thought I should try to make movies with nothing. No money, just whatever I have.
I remember in school when we’d pile in the art store after a new assignment trying to figure out what we could afford and what we could use to make due with what we already had. The student does have all the resources she needs so she has to create new ways of doing things. The student doesn’t know the “proper” way to do it so they make it up as they go along. I admire Coppola for returning to that spirit after being wildly successful. I hope I can forever be the student.