Technically, they’re called autodidacts, but I prefer ‘Self-Taught.’ The word autodidact makes me think of some kind of metallic bot-thingy or other, which is all wrong. Robots are designed, built, and pre-programmed by someone else. The ‘Self-Taught’ throw the program out with the bath water and make their own way.
I love shinning the spotlight on people who didn’t waste their time and money bothering with earning some degree/certificate/credential or whatever, and instead just went out and learned how to do something really cool. They learned by doing. This is just one aspect of what OM Made Studios strives to emphasize: total self-reliance without any imposed limitations.
I love films. I mean, I seriously love them. The following list of directors are all guys who love films too . . . so much so that they didn’t need some piece of paper with their name scribbled across it to keep them from making movies:
Steven Spielberg & Woody Allen - Both these powerhouses started ‘in the mailroom’ so-to-speak, worked their way up the ranks over time, and learned how to direct by . . . well, just doing it.
Ridley Scott & David Fincher - Busted their asses directing commercials until they nabbed a chance at doing features. Scott didn’t even helm his first full-length until he was 40, and didn’t score a ‘hit’ until he was 45 when Blade Runner opened to critical acclaim back in 1982.
James Cameron & Quentin Tarantino - While working as a truck driver, Cameron taught himself Special EFX (yeah, taught himself); Tarantino skipped film school too and watched thousands of movies instead while working at a video store in Manhattan Beach California.
Okay, so maybe you fancy yourself a writer instead. That’s cool. Here’s a list of some pretty awesome writers who, instead of wallowing away precious years being taught how to write by someone else, simply put their fingers to a typewriter:
H.P. Lovecraft - A master of the macabre, Lovecraft sacrificed everything for his ‘craft.’ Sure, he died poor, but he also left behind a legacy that’s about as air-tight as they get. Stephen King called Lovecraft “the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”
Ernest Hemingway - Sought out real-life adventure rather than listen to someone else talk about it, pouring his unique mixture of daring and machismo into a simplified style of writing that would earn him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.
Ray Bradbury - Arguably one of the world’s best known and most respected science fiction/fantasy writers ever, RB didn’t waste his time sitting through dull college lectures, saying once: “I didn’t go to college. I went to the library.” Amen.
And just for good measure, here’s a final example from the OM Made ‘grab bag:’
Leonardo Da Vinci - Painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, (take a breath) inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer . . . and all self-taught. The Rock-Star of the Renaissance, this guy’s the ultimate do-it-yourselfer.
These 10 people are just the tip of the iceberg. Lots of men and women throughout history were self-taught, ascending to the level of Master only after many thousands of hours of hard work. Just Google 'famous autodidact' and you'll see what I mean.
Be Your Own Expert
Keep in mind, I’ve got nothing against schooling. Schooling’s a wonderfully rare privilege and can certainly change someone’s Life for the better. But when it comes to leading the creative Life, degrees, certificates, or any other credential is not an absolute necessity. And the lack of it shouldn’t keep any of us from pursuing our passions.
We all posses the capacity to be Self-Taught, but it takes a strong ‘Self’ to actually walk the path, the kind of person who’s willing to work harder than they’ve ever worked before, someone who places more value and faith in their own abilities to learn rather than in what some useless piece of paper says.
I’m a self-taught painter and writer. I’m making the whole OM Made Studios thing up as I go. Do I really need a ‘certificate of completion’ or whatever - I have neither btw - to accomplish any of the goals I set out to do? Of course I don’t . . . and neither do you.
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