There are directors, and there are artists, and then there is Werner Herzog. But for those not familiar with the man or his work, describing those qualities that make Herzog, well, Herzog, can be difficult. But this should help.
On the back cover of the recent book “Werner Herzog—A Guide for the Perplexed” by Paul Cronin, are 24 maxims by German director. Some apply to film, some apply to life, and all of them are worth reading. Revenge, bears, bolt cutters, jail…Herzog has you prepared for any and every situation, if only you follow these simple rules. If you haven’t made your New Year’s resolutions just yet, here’s a good place to start getting inspiration to make some changes in your life.
1. Always take the initiative.
2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.
18. Develop your own voice.
19. Day one is the point of no return.
20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
23. Take revenge if need be.
24. Get used to the bear behind you.