If you’ve been reading my blog recently and I hope you have, you would know that I was in L.A. for the Annies and ran into Yuri Norstein who was also visiting the studios and talking about his work.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to hear him speak but I’ve been to a few of his shows before. He screened some of his classics “The Hedgehog and the Fog” and “The Tale of Tales” and his work in progress opus “The Overcoat” from gogols famous story.
He’s a very talented animator and a good filmmaker but the problem is he’s been working on his new film “The Overcoat” for over twenty years now.I’ve never really talked to Yuri (he speaks no English), he seems like a nice guy but I’m afraid he’ll never finish his film- here’s why:
A couple of animation societies around the world have voted “The Tale of Tales” the greatest animated short ever made. Now there’s a kiss of death if there ever is one. I’d hate to have this dubious honor because psychologically poor Yuri can never make a film to compete with “The Tale of Tales”. How can he make a film more perfect than “the best film ever made”?
Every time he tries to animate a scene it’s got to be perfect. If there’s one little imperfection he must start over again. It’s the same artistic crisis that crippled Richard Willams on the “Thief and the Cobbler”. I heard he redrew some shots four times.
I believe that hubris is one of the worst evils in the film business. Once you start believing when people say that you’re a genius and everything you make has to be perfect- you’re done! Your career is over!
I know my work has flaws. In fact I embrace the flaws. To me the flaws and imperfections are beautiful. They make the film human. It’s made by a human who is not perfect. Someone who’s struggling to make a statement and tell a story.
So next time someone says you’re a genius or you’re a god get someone to keep whispering in you ear “You’re only human, you’re only human”.