“We started the film without a script, without a cast and without a shark.”
-Richard Dreyfuss, reflecting on Jaws
Murphy’s law: what can go wrong, will go wrong. And why should it go right? The world is way too dynamic and confusing for things to run smoothly.
I’ve written about how Hunter Thompson’s creative roadblocks led to the inception of an entirely new genre of journalism. I’ve had my own experiences of getting things done despite being nowhere near ready.
Spielberg created one of the most powerful, dramatic thrillers of all time with Jaws. I mean, what’s more iconic than that incredible soundtrack, and a glimpse of the eponymous shark’s fin gliding through the water? It spells doom, chaos, uncertainty – terror.
But that wouldn’t have happened if things had worked as planned. The animatronic shark famously malfunctioned, rendering full body shots near impossible. And so one of the elements of the movie that made it so great was born from a disaster – the solitary, terrifying fin. By not showing us the full scale of the shark, Spielberg frightens us even more. Where is it? How big is it?
A legendary moment in cinema – victory from the brink of defeat.
That’s turning shit into sugar. That’s creating opportunity from uncertainty.
It’s a delicate balance – spontaneity versus careful planning. Elements of both are important in your decision making. We get better at managing the two by refusing to remain rigid in our ideologies, being willing to try new methods and experiment, and seeking to understand both our successes and our failures.