“I’m not in the business. I am the business.” (Blade Runner)

There’s that great line in Blade Runner when Deckard and Rachael are talking about getting the shakes and Deckard tells her it’s part of the business, and Rachael—as a replicant—says, “I’m not in the business. I am the business.” I love that line and that scene for many reasons that I am not planning to discuss here.

But, thinking about that line this morning while editing, and while generally thinking about art and artists, a meaning or application of that line, strikes me, that I have never thought about before.

Joe Byron of the LA Film school says that if you watch enough movies you don’t have to go to film school. And I know that to be true, in general. But even as going to film school, watching movies, and working on films all teach you distinct sets of lessons, the more general playground is just your life. And that’s the playground artists really need to be paying attention to. Watching enough movies may be a substitute for having to listen to film school teachers break it down for you, but watching your life is the basic school for all art, all science, all business, all love. Movies made by people who mainly pay attention to other people’s movies—instead of their own life, or even other people’s lives—those movies suck. I always said, at film school, that cinematographers and sound people and production designers, yes, they should go to film school. But directors and writers, when they show up, the school should give them their tuition back and send them on a road trip. People who make the best movies are making them about their lives, or something they know about from life…not things they know from school, or even from other movies. We should, as artists, not be in the business…we should be the business.

Of course, with Deckard as an example, maybe it’s possible to do both.

“I’m not in the business. I am the business.” (Blade Runner)