I Choose Wisdom

Society & Culture | By Elton Mjanana, Writer | 03 October 2015

The complexities of working in film production always bring out the best or worst in us. Can you imagine shooting a film that will be 90 minutes long when it is complete – having to shoot it in a jumbled up manner and then having to put it up together in post-production in an order that will make sense and make people love it, rate it and even pay money to watch or own a copy? 

The fact that the same footage shot can be edited by three editors, with each coming up with different versions show the complexities, and perhaps excitement of working with material at your disposal. The moral of my story – Wisdom. I will gently begin by how we should all as living beings yearn for wisdom before anything else; sex and wealth included. I truly believe that being wise will determine how you treat yourself, even sexually and will also impact how one acquires wealth. 

We have all heard of or know that one guy who had it all the other time but has since lost it all. I lay blame squarely on a lack of wisdom. 

When wisdom becomes the fundamental base upon which we start our journey, I am confident there will be no stopping us until we get to the destination. Professors, doctors and academics et al will argue that education is the basis for everything, especially success. I beg to differ. Wisdom anchors all. No doubt, without it some of the most educated in our midst have made fools of themselves and a complete mockery of their reputation. I like the way my educated friend, Professor M.K. Asante puts it – ‘Don’t let education get in the way of your learning’. I insist, with wisdom, we are able to make decisions that will leave indelible marks in the things we wish to achieve. 

As a scholar, it is important to see beyond the books for a better grade at life. Can you imagine if one was to close their brain as they turn over the last page of a book? I always draw parallels to the craft of filmmaking to prove that the air that we breathe holds a lot of opportunities and examples of wisdom. From an idea, a story is carved and then taken through the next step of creativity up to post-production.  There are some who glorify the role of film schools and hail the various graduates they churn out every year. But, what I know is that the film industry has its own dictates, especially now in the age of digital migration. Things taught in a classroom setup may not be applicable when you get into the field a year down the line. 

In my experience the Zimbabwean ‘film industry’ does not recognize some of the principles still applicable in Hollywood. In Zimbabwe we cannot follow the ‘write your script and give it to a producer who will find it a studio to make it into a film’ concept. Many a film school students nowadays keep piles of undone work waiting for studios to avail a producer and the budget needed to shoot and make their films.  Wisdom has taught me that if you have a brilliant idea in Zimbabwe, you can assemble a group of like-minded people and just get on with it.  There is no studio waiting to dole money to aspiring filmmakers. This wisdom needs to cascade to many levels and even stereotypes of our societies and communities. Being on set since 1995, I am thankful that I have learnt that no matter how learned you are, you are poorer without wisdom. Always choose wisdom over education.