“When I talk to groups they always ask me for advice and I can never really give it, because there is no set way a person gets into the business or becomes a director. Everyone does it differently. They do it by hook and crook and manipulation. Marty Scorsese goes to film school and becomes great, and Leni Refenstahl [laughs] courts Hitler and becomes great. So the only advice I can think of is that it’s only the work that counts.
Don’t read about yourself, don’t have big discussions about your work, just keep your nose to the grindstone. And don’t think about any of the perks. Don’t think about the money or laudatory things. The less you can think about yourself, the better.
It’s like being a baseball pitcher; the less you’re conscious of your motion the better you pitch. Just do good work, don’t waste time thinking about anything else, don’t join the show business circus, don’t pay attention to the distractions that people send your way, and everything will fall into place.
If people don’t like your work, keep doing your own thing and either they’ll wise up or you’ll find yourself out of work and deserving to be. If people hate your work, let them-they may be right. Or not. And if people even call you a genius, it’ very important to run because you have to ask, If you’re a genius, then what is Shakespeare or Mozart or Einstein?
– Woody Allen in conversation with Eric Lax