On the importance of failure (John August)

John August, script writer, director, and movie guru, has written a nice piece for Men’s Health called My Glorious Defeat

Maybe failure isn’t the problem. Maybe expectation is.

After I was fired from my TV show, I was certain I’d never work in television again. I’d been given a great opportunity and blown it. The studio and network were out millions of dollars. But then the phone started ringing, with studios and networks asking whether I’d consider doing TV again. What had changed?

Nothing. I’d simply forgotten what folks working in TV take as a given: Most shows fail. Every spring, the networks introduce new products to replace the fall and winter die-off. When a show tanks, they don’t spend weeks wondering why. They put a new show in its place.

They expect failure, and are delighted when it doesn’t come.

My Glorious defeat is well-written and even if you are familiar with the underlying philosophy, it’s worth a read.


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