Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Post-Oscar Musing…Woody Allen’s Approach

I love Woody Allen’s movies.  In a WashingtonPost piece about him, Robert Weide, who made a documentary about Allen, attempts to dispel the myths about Allen as movie character vs Allen as director.  Apart from my great relief that no one so accomplished could really be that neurotic, I appreciate Allen’s view of directing according to Weide:

His theory… is to “hire the best actors, shut up and get out of their way.”

As coaches, indeed as psychotherapists, we are directors in a sense.  We are often admonished to get out of our client’s way.  Listen, contain, nudge, but let the client do their work.  As Weide goes one to say:

Many of the performers I interviewed spoke of the sense of liberation they feel when a director is confident in their ability to come up with the goods without micro­managing their performance.

Good advice for parents as well.  Our clients and children are whole, creative and resourceful people.  Lay the groundwork, provide the safety net, and let them do their thing.

Prior to the awards I heard, in an interview with biographer Eric Lax, that Allen wasn’t attending because he doesn’t believe that art can be judged.  No to mention, that if you start to believe others’ opinion of your work, you’ll begin to shape your work to impress them.  How often do you trust your own intuition and do the work of coaching, therapy or parenting in your own unique way?  We don’t have to impress, we just have to do our work.  But don’t expect anyone to call with your Oscar nomination.

Woody Allen at the Oscars, 2002

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