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My Biggest Lesson: Haroula Rose

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Director shares a lesson that has stuck with her throughout her entire life

My Biggest Lesson: Haroula Rose

I have learned and recognised the same piece of wisdom or insight at a few stages of my career/life. It’s also kind of just great advice on how to live in general.

The wisdom is - plan so you can throw out the plan if and when needed. Unlearn what you’ve 'learned'. If you remain open to the moment, you can surprise yourself and get results that are so much more than you thought possible, based on the connections and energy with those around you in that very moment. That is growth, that is the meaning.

I learned this as a child first, in watching my parents. My dad is an entrepreneur and my mom has been co-running a business, so there are always challenges but also a freedom and sense of adventure in being your own boss. Their openness and genuine ability to connect with people inspires me to this day, and I feel the same in that you never know where things will lead. Connecting with people in a real way leads to relationships and thus, builds your whole life moment to moment, creation to creation, venture to venture.

My first job after college, at 22, was at a post house/recording studio in Chicago called Earhole which came through friends. Someone telling someone to come to a show where I sang. That person who came to the show hired me to sing on one commercial, but we all connected so well that it led to a full time gig as a producer (and occasional singer) there where I learned a ton and met creative directors, agency folks, musicians and filmmakers, many of whom I am still in touch with and who inspired me initially to pursue this world.

Fast forward a few years and I am at a dinner in Los Angeles with Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Closer, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) who also went to the University of Chicago. We were talking about films of course, I was at USC film school at the time, and about to shoot my first short. He said to plan to the utmost so you can throw out the plan, unlearn what you’ve learned, get out of your head and into your body, in the moment, too. That has always stayed with me. It struck a chord because it was coming from Mike Nichols but it also summed it all up in a way that is now burned into my psyche and I realized that in this vocation it all adds up to the same thing - career wise, life wise. It’s a good philosophy. Your life is this moment to moment, ideally feeding into one another and growing in each stage because of the former chapters.

This wisdom didn’t change me but it did give me the confidence and knowledge in myself to take on further challenges and to be able to keep growing. Making many more shorts, videos, a feature film, now venturing further into branded content as a director, all the chapters that keep building and leading into one another, they now make sense. And this way of being is also what I love most about collaboration, specifically directing. There is a lot to juggle and to navigate thoughtfully but it's also important to remain open to great ideas no matter where they come from. They can come from so many limitations - initially - based on location, or cast availability, or based on what is needed for the job. But those challenges just make us all work harder and stay more present, I like to think, and thus always connected! 

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Raconteur, Thu, 07 Oct 2021 12:50:35 GMT