a recipe for chocolate chip cookies

I was talking to a fellow filmmaker recently who gave me a brilliant metaphor.

For years I’ve said that any time I learn a new skill, it becomes another tool in my toolbox. An apt metaphor perhaps, but this filmmaker spoke about the skills she’d developed as ingredients in a recipe.

“Imagine making chocolate chip cookies,” she said. “Not every skill you possess is going to be sexy. You need skills–production logistics, fundraising, people management–that serve as the flour and egg in the recipe. Not everything you do can be the chocolate chips.”

I love the idea that when working on a large scale creative project, such as a film, your ingredients that add up to more than the sum of their parts.

Yes, we all want to believe that making movies is all the chocolatey delicious parts: directing actors, lining up shots, free-range creativity.

But there are so many boring ingredients (comparable to flour) that are vital to making the entire project a success: problem-solving, personality management, project logistics, scheduling, location scouting. The list goes on and on and on, but without these bland ingredient, the project doesn’t take on its own life.

Sure, eating chocolate chips on their own is great, but it pales in comparison to the whole cookie.