Years ago, I taught film-making to 4th and 5th graders who were struggling in school, struggling to learn to read and write and generally be there. The idea was to start with something they love and then make the other parts: the words, the writing, part of the film-making. So, first: learning how to make a film. Kind of.

Very simply, I started with the guidelines that you need a long shot (background), a middle shot (context), and close-up (focus). And then you have the audience, and the story goes from there. BUT, what I also told them, after we got going was: no “shoulds”.

Forget starting with the long shot, start with the close up… yeah, close – close – close. Or maybe far – far. Middle – far – middle. Do it all wrong. Do it your way. How do YOU see it?

Years later, I hear my words and think: that’s it! Forget the “shoulds”. Perhaps that’s what really got their attention, got them really motivated.

In a setting full of guidelines, letting the rules go. Looking for another way. A more personal path.

It was a mess. It was too much. But it was the only way to go.

That was years ago. Much time has passed. The world has changed. But the shoulds keep coming.

And I maintain, that sometimes, maybe not always, the best advice is:

“No shoulds”.