Developing multiple talents: Julie Delpy on filmmaking

Julie Delpy

A screenplay at seventeen

On her new film “2 Days in Paris” Julie Delpy [far right] has credits as actor, writer, director, co-producer, composer, editor, and even still photographer.

She wrote a screenplay at seventeen, but didn’t get a chance to make it into a film.

Krzysztof Kieslowsk, director of the “Three Colors” trilogy, advised her to go to a film school if she really wanted to direct.

“What’s interesting is that when you go to film school, it’s pretty clear if you can handle directing a movie or not. Because it’s a lot of work,” Delpy says.

Insecure as an actress

She has acted in more than 40 films, but finds directing the most creatively engaging and satisfying.

“It’s funny, because as an actress I’m a mess,” she admits. “I feel totally insecure. I’ve been doing it for 20 years, but I don’t know what is going on every five minutes. I’m lost all the time. But as a director, I feel like I could be doing it for the rest of my life without even blinking.”

Directing at 36

She notes, “I wrote my first screenplay at 17, and I directed my first film at 36. I’ve shopped around many screenplays that people liked, but there’s a stigma about women not being capable, not having the strength to do a movie from beginning to end. If you see a woman director and she fails on one movie and it doesn’t do well, it will take her 10 years to do another film.”

But she is already at work on new projects. “I can’t wait to be doing my next film. If I could, if I had control over my life, I would do a movie every year.”

[From She knows the territory, By Gregg LaGambina, Los Angles Times, July 29 2007]

Self-criticism and perfectionism can defeat creativity

Feeling insecure impacts many artists. Healthy criticism can help refine our talents and creative projects in the pursuit of excellence. But when it is based on a excessive perfectionism or an unrealistic self concept, criticism can be destructive and self-limiting, eroding our creative assurance and vitality.

Highly creative and talented people are, according to research on giftedness, often susceptible to perfectionism and unreasonably high standards and expectations that can lead to exaggerated criticism.

[From my article Being Creative and Self-critical.]

Scanner personalities

Being a fully engaged filmmaker like Delpie demands wide-ranging interests, and abilities to change attention and focus.

Barbara Sher identifies people with such wide interests as ‘scanners’ – as she explains in her article What is a Scanner?:

“Scanners love to read and write, to fix and invent things, to design projects and businesses, to cook and sing, and to create the perfect dinner party. (You’ll notice I didn’t use the word ‘or,’ because Scanners don’t love to do one thing or the other; they love them all.)

“To Scanners the world is like a big candy store full of fascinating opportunities, and all they want is to reach out and stuff their pockets.”

The article is an excerpt from Sher’s book Refuse to Choose!

Related Talent Development Resources pages:
Acting….. Acting : teen/young adult
Directing
Filmmaking
Filmmaking : teen/young adult
Socially conscious filmmaking
Filmmaking interviews articles sites
Filmmaking books
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Julie Delpy, women filmmakers, dealing with perfectionism, scanner personality

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