Lou Reed was known for his monotone voice, poetic lyrics, grinding guitar and pioneering the Indie rock movement as the leading man of the Velvet Underground. He was a songwriter, musician and innovator who gave voice to a generation and set the tone for an era of artistic fearlessness. With his recent passing, we reflect on what lessons this brilliant, talented artist has left behind to inspire filmmakers:
Take a walk on the wild side
Reed wasn’t scared to walk on the wild side and not conform to what people thought he should do. Budding filmmakers should see that telling a story sometimes requires you to take a risk and be radical in the delivery. Don’t do what the audience expects you to do, surprise and be different.
Reap just what you sow
As a filmmaker it sometimes feels like you are constantly networking, submitting to festivals and trying to get yourself out there. Eventually you will see the benefits of all your hard work. If you don’t work hard (and smart) you won’t be hearing your phone ring anytime soon.
You gotta have faith
One thing Lou Reed had regardless of the obstacles in his path was belief in his art. As a filmmaker, passion and faith in your vision is crucial. You need to create allies and communicate your vision clearly. If you don’t got it, who’s gunna get it?
No money no cry
Velvet Underground didn’t have much commercial success, and yet it’s arguably the most influential band of the 60s indie revolution. Just because you can’t make Hollywood doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. In this time and place, independent filmmaking is more popular than ever and is reaching way more people than before. So go out, grab a camera and make something!
Learn to play
Lou Reed’s sound was unique because he wasn’t afraid to take a chance and experiment. The same should go for all you filmmakers out there. Play! The only way you’ll learn to make a great film is by making a lot of shitty ones.