The more I thought about it, the more this idea really hit home. Empathy stands in direct opposition to ego. Empathy is a focus on the present moment. Empathy allows us to be available, responsive, and open to the process, rather than obsessing over the product. If empathy asks the question, then I imagine the ego screams for answers.
The ego is all about the future hypotheticals: Are people going to like this? What will it mean for my career? Am I messing this up? Why don’t people realize how amazing I am?
The anxiety of the ego pulls us out of the moment, turning our attention from the process to the final product, which often makes us dogmatic and dictatorial.
Now, I know empathy may seem like an off-topic discussion when talking about how to become better filmmakers. But I’m completely convinced that more than any other thing, a commitment to empathy is a critical component to creating meaningful, substantial films. I believe it’s worth taking a moment to consider what empathy really means — for ourselves, for the people we work with, and for the people we work for.
by Ryan Booth