“If Your Dream Only Includes You, it’s Too Small.” Watch Ava DuVernay’s Keynote Speech at SXSW

“If Your Dream Only Includes You, it’s Too Small.” Watch Ava DuVernay’s Keynote Speech at SXSW

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Despite admitting to only having written her keynote speech a couple of hours before the event, Ava DuVernay delivered an amazing speech at SXSW earlier last week.

If you are an aspiring writer, director or a creative of any kind, watch DuVernay’s speech is a must watch.

DuVernay reveals plenty of hard truths for anyone interested in the business of making films.

We live in a society dominated by celebrity – where reality is scripted, where validation and approval comes from likes on Facebook or follows on Twitter – but in her speech, DuVernay reveals that eventually the awards and the attention won’t be enough, that achieving your dreams and being successful does not actually equate to “making great strides as a human being and an artist” and that, really, the Oscars is just “a room in LA.”

Despite enjoying the fruits of Selma – the dress fittings, a screening at the white house, Oprah, walking the red carpet, meeting John Lewis, Oprah – throughout her speech DuVernay continually invites her audience to look inwards instead of outwards when creating, stating that “If we limit our vision to those things that our outside of us to validate us, we’re making an intentional error that might very well bring the outside thing you want, but it will ring hollow in the end.”

As creatives we’re all familiar with the lesson that story is central, however, it’s so easy to get caught up in everything but the story – the fans, the awards, the paper – but in her speech, DuVernay again drives its importance home. “Serve the story,” she repeats over and over again, “investigate your intention in your attention on the stories” that you are working on.

Let that sink in. Ava DuVernay is dope. That is all.

-Hannah Campbell


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