Applying Herzog’s filmmaking lessons to PR career

Werner Herzog is a legendary German film director. His filmmaking advice is popular amongst creator around the world. But some of his lessons are not only relevant to making films. Here is how to apply some of Herzog’s rules to career in PR.

All 24 pieces of advice from Herzog can be found here.

#1 Always take the initiative

Putting your hand up and volunteering to do things will pay dividends. Always pick up work and be proactive. Never stay still. Initiative gets noticed and rewarded.

#2 There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need

The point is that taking risks pays off. Don’t get yourself to jail.

#3 Learn to live with your mistakes (advice no. 5)

Don’t dwell on your mistakes. Learn from them, move on, and make sure they’ll never happen again.

#4 Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern (advice no. 6)

Just like in filmmaking, cultural knowledge will always help you put things in context. Don’t just limit yourself to reading and exploring industries of your clients. Visit Tate and see Pablo Picasso — even if you only work on the financial services clients.

#5 That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it (advice no. 7)

Treat an unexposed celluloid as a metaphor. Metaphor of time or empty paper. Always give your best and remember you’ve a mission. Even if it’s a client report that you don’t enjoy doing.

#6 There is never an excuse not to finish a film (advice no. 8)

There’s never excuse not to finish your projects. As a more junior member of team, sometimes you won’t have too much influence on that one. Although you can use your time after work and during the weekends for your own projects. Once you start a blog, make sure to keep it going (note to self here, too).

#7 Ask for forgiveness, not permission (advice no. 11)

Although be sensible about that one. Don’t do anything stupid.

#8 Take your fate into your own hands (advice no. 12)

Be proactive, don’t wait until you’re told to do something.

#9 Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory (advice no. 14)

Get our of your comfort zone and use it as an opportunity to learn. If you’re involved in a project that you’re not comfortable with and feel like you’re lacking knowledge, use it as an opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself.

#10 Don’t be fearful of rejection (advice no. 17)

One of my favourite pieces of advice. I wouldn’t have done Four PR Questions series if I were afraid of rejection. So many other things wouldn’t have happened to me if I were too afraid to ask. Rejection is inevitable and happens to everyone. Get used to it.

#11 A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class (advice no. 20)

You don’t necessarily have to fail your PR theory module, but getting out there and taking internships will definitely be beneficial.


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