Nothing makes me cringe more when I see a question on a forum asking permission. “Is it okay to push the greens in my color grade?” “Is it okay to shoot shutter speed other than the 180?”

Imagine if Alfred Hitchcock asked, “Is it okay to kill off my lead actress in the first act?”

Obviously this type of permission seeking is a way to make up for lack of confidence in the artist. But as far back as I can remember I’ve always been annoyed at the classmate who asked if he could “use colored pencils instead of crayons”. As a musician I roll my eyes when a flute player asks permission to add an embellishment to a solo. Some of this behavior may be less permission and more attention seeking – none the less it always bothered me that these people wouldn’t just go ahead and do the damn thing instead telling us how they think they are going to do it.

Now being that this is the internet and full of people who really just want to look for an argument, let me put some caveats on my rule of never asking permission. If you are doing something which requires someone’s permission, like filming on location or using someone’s likeness or intellectual property – of course you must ask permission. If you are doing something that may be dangerous to your cast and crew – you must ask permission…

But when it comes to artistic choices, permission is not needed. Instead – be bold and make a creative choice. Sometimes an “outlandish” choice won’t work… sometimes it does and becomes a “style” – that’s the whole point of art. Make the choice to be bold – and don’t ask for permission.

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