Alas, Godlike work is in the detail

On Sunday night I watched the excellent documentary, Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes.

It was a brilliant insight into the meticulous files of research that the greatest film director of all time (he is; just check out his hit for shit ratio: all great films, no shit ones – and yes, that includes Eyes Wide Shut) built up on movies both made and unmade.

At one point we discover that he was researching Schindler’s List for the same amount of time it took Spielberg to research and make the film. We also found that he send his photographer nephew around London for a year, taking 30,000 location photos for EWS. The icing on the cake was the fact that all these documents were packed into boxes that were ordered with a similar attention to detail: ‘lids to be not too lose or too tight – JUST RIGHT!’.

Anyway, the point of all this seemed to be that there is indeed a way to achieve greatness and, unfortunately for the lazy amongst you, it’s hard work, and lots of it.

It’s always tempting to be led by the rare example of people who created something excellent by simply turning up on the day, making it up as they went along and catching everyone on their best day – after all, that takes much less time and effort, and it also seems much ‘cooler’. Unfortunately, those victories are few and far between. The ones that happen by working your tits off may still be rare, but they’re far more likely than the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, hit-it-and-hope variety.

Mr. Kubrick could only create 2001, Dr. Strangelove, Barry Lyndon, Spartacus, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, Lolita etc. by putting an enormous amount of time into getting every single part of every single aspect of every single moment exactly right.

So that’s what it takes to be the best.

Just in case you were wondering.

Also: RIP Alex Melvin, one of the founders of 180. Our paths crossed only briefly when I worked there for a couple of months, but he certainly gave off the ‘really good bloke’ vibes. As far as legacies go, that agency is a fine reflection of a good man.