If you’ve ever spent some time watching a movie all the way through the end credits, it is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that it takes so many people to come together for a movie to become a final product. Every movie crew hopes to have a hit on their hands, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and for a select few movies, they are relegated to becoming part of the cult films club. To the layperson, cult status sounds positive because it entails having a following that refuses to let a movie die. However, cult status usually means that the film in question failed miserably on all fronts.
Failure isn’t any fun to deal with, but it is a necessary part of life. We contend with falling short of expectations on a nearly daily basis. Yet, so many people out there find themselves unable to cope with the idea that they blew it.
When it comes to cult films, though, they are unique in the sense that they were technical failures, but they still found an audience. Most movies that bomb just go away. What’s more, some directors and actors decide to ride the cult film label into massive success on the B-movie/camp/kitsch/straight-to-video wave because they own their failure & use it to their advantage.
There really is a lot to learn about the idea of failure from the “success” of cult films in general. Here are a few more things to keep in mind:
Failure Isn’t The End — Just because you get knocked down doesn’t mean you should just stay down & look at the clouds. It’s important for you actually get up and take on the world once again. If you were to stay down, you have an equal chance of the following happening: 1) you get used to it; and 2) you run the risk of getting stomped on. None of those should be a viable option. As a comparison, cult films are regularly screened all over the world to sold-out theaters who love the lovable loser on the big screen.
Patience — Instant gratification helps no one because it teaches you no patience. Sometimes things take time to come to fruition, and even if the end result wasn’t quite what you’d hoped for, there is still a lesson to be had in letting things bloom.
It’s For The Love of It — Do you do things because you want attention, adulation, and appreciation? What happens when you don’t get the feedback you wanted? It can sound a little hokey, but if you feel passionate enough about something, you should do it because it makes you smile & warms your heart. Yeah, it’s nice to get the “likes” and the high-fives, but it shouldn’t be everything.
Honesty — Ask enough actors who have starred in cult movies, and you start to find that many of them have embraced their place in cinematic history. Moreover, they are also very upfront about how they feel regarding the movie, their performance, and the overall terrible nature of the film. Even successful baseball players have a 70% failure rate at-bat, which means we all have missed. Own them, and move forward.
Whether the cult films in question were poorly made, had terrible acting, or were simply ahead of their time, something just didn’t seem to click when it mattered most. You could say these movies, to borrow a sport’s reference, “choked”. Still, even in the face of the initial failure, cult films had enough of something to offer so as to stick around. Life, in many ways, works the same way. Your track record of success, by and large, may not be great, but it’s what you do after the initial failure that matters most.