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Provocation: an occasional series of opinion pieces

I heard it from two panellists at the Encounters short film and animation festival at Watershed, last week in Bristol.   The session was looking at ways makers of short festival films can move into the world of full-length documentary, and it seems for half of the panel the most important attribute they can possess is ‘passion’.

These panellists weren’t Louis Walsh or Tulisa – but respected professionals.  Yet for me ‘passion’ ranks alongside ‘journey’ as a staple of X-Factor vocabulary.  It’s become overused and lacking in meaning, so why does it seem to be so prized by potential commissioners and employers?

Perhaps because it used to come bundled with attributes that were so much more valuable but somehow have been shed from the glittering prize: dedication, focus, determination.  But ‘New Passion’ is hollow, it’s longing with no direction, it’s success without skill.

So if I were sitting on that panel what would I want to see if the eyes of a young filmmaker, if not flames of passion?  One thing above all … common sense.  Yes, that dropped to the floor like a turd, didn’t it?  But think about it – both technical and artistic skills can be taught, but perception, self-awareness, initiative – these are so much harder to develop if lacking in the first place.

What can so often make or break a production is the quality of the team, not the passion of an individual. Let’s make a stand for the quiet, the considered, the skilful. I don’t want to know if you’re passionate – I want to know you’re good at your job.  And while we’re clearing up the common sense on the floor look at what else is swept into the corners - honesty, integrity, courtesy.  Three more attributes that carry so much more weight than they are credited with.

Don’t burn with passion, shine with accomplishment.

My name is Dominic Weston and this is my journey…



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