Is the saying "The only way to get good is by DOING!” really true?
Spoiler alert: It is.
I've heard some people disagree with the statement, but all it implies is practice. Here are the two reasons I usually overhear, and why I believe they are inaccurate:
- Repetition does not help in art or film, because you would only practice technicalities and not storytelling.
To that, I (and general human psychology) say au contraire. You are right that film involves technicalities and feelings. But film isn’t just artistry, and it isn’t just technique; It’s right in between. Therefore you must practice the technical until it becomes natural–only then will you be able to put those technical thoughts aside and entirely focus on the feeling that the motion picture entrails. Psychologically, one of the best methods for learning is interleaved practice, which means mixing things up everytime you repeat or review something. That means that every time you're on a film set you are efficiently learning socialization, professionalism, and art through mistakes, and that is enforced if you are a different role every time you're on-set. Repetition does matter in art because both technicalities and storytelling have tangible characteristics that can be learned.
- You cannot practice perspective, introspection, and empathy.
I believe perspective, introspection, and empathy can be practiced. Just not conventionally. We practice these qualities every day: when you screw up with someone, that pain you feel from the screw-up leads to an improved perspective, for example. Introspection is practiced with meditation and empathy is practiced with living– genuinely living, and exiting the comfort zone. This is all part of the principle of reinforcement.
So repetition is a way of learning. Repetition allows for practicing the technical AND exploring thoughts and feelings to improve that introspection and perspective throughout the process.
P.S: To clarify, and if you're interested: Interleaved practice, looking at it academically, is when you learn things un-linearly. It is when you study chapter one, then that reminds you of something from chapter eight, so now you're reviewing that. It helps build webbed thinking. In art's case (specifically in drawing as an example) it would be to go from drawing and being sick and tired of it to another project, and then coming back to the drawing renewed. Lots of variation is good for the mind. your body tells you when it's bored and demanding change because tiredness makes for inefficiency