Werner Herzog – The Art of Making Things Happen

This quote by the European rockstar filmmaker Herzog (turning 75 years this year) is a great reminder.

Herzog On Herzog is one of my favorite autobiographies . The book is packed with interesting stories and quotes.

“There is nothing wrong with hardships and obstacles, but everything wrong with not trying.” W. Herzog

Like the high-wire French artist Phillippe Petit, Herzog aims high, for the seemingly impossible. Just take a look at this scene from Fitzcaraldo: a 30 ton boat was actually pulled over a mountain.

Herzog made it happen. For a movie!


How Ambitious Is Herzog?

When he was 32 (1974) he walked from Munich to Paris, an act of faith to prevent the death of his friend Lotte Eisner.

In 1980 he ate his shoe to fulfill a vow to fellow filmmaker Errol Morris. 

“The bad films have taught me most about filmmaking. Seek out the negative definition. Sit in front of a film and ask yourself, “Given the chance, is this how I would do it?” It’s a never-ending educational experience, a way of discovering in which direction you need to take your own work and ideas.” W. Herzog

The absolute best of Herzog’s quotes you can find on Maria Popova’s blog, BrainPicking.

Reaching For The Stars, Or At Least, Living To Tell Stories About It

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpeceX and Solar City, is kind of the same – setting crazy goals. Impossible goals, and reaching for the stars – quite literally in his case.

When you are like that, you know that some projects would fail, but those that succeed are soooo awesome.

I do wonder if Musk ever felt like a “mess”, really. Maybe unicorns are never messed up. But artists are. Just like all of us. And they come out of their mess with a creative OUTPUT. A story. Every crisis can be retold as a story. Your story’s ending doesn’t have to be real.

Here is a last piece of advice, from another creative entrepreneur, Austin Kleon: The ending can be stolen from someone else’s story. But make sure you show your work



24 pieces of wisdom from Werner Herzog




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