Take some counsel from Brad Pitt

I watched Moneyball again recently. I loved the book, and unusually loved the movie just as much. It’s about the manager of the baseball team who starts making data-based decisions in how he recruits and plays, and breaks all the conventional wisdom of the sport in doing so. It’s about maths as much as it is about baseball. WFP_20140908

It stars Brad Pitt as the manager and Jonah Hill as the economist who does the maths for him. Jonah Hill was interviewed after the movie, and he spoke about the filmography of Brad Pitt. He said “it’s so diverse, [he] so didn't do what we expected. I want to learn from that. And hopefully look at my filmography some day as something cool and unexpected like his.”

I’d never heard of filmography before the interview – but it means what you think: the list of films made by an actor (or director etc). I agree with Jonah – I think Brad Pitt has made some courageous decisions. (Courageous in a good sense, not in the Yes Minister sense).

When I was a kid I loved Eddie Murphy. Beverly Hills Cop was a great movie, and his stand-up work … comic genius. But his filmography since then? I’m sure he’s made lots of money, but in the last two decades I don’t think he’s been a single movie that I’d want to see.

I think filmography is a great metaphor for a career. I reckon if you’re a movie star like Jonah Hill, thinking about what your whole career will look like is a good move when you’re choosing your next film.

Likewise as a professional, treat your projects as your movies. What will your projectography (did I just take the metaphor a bit far there?) look like? Will you look back at the projects that made up your career and see things that are cool and unexpected?

And if you’re a thought leader running a practice, will your clusterography (definitely gone too far now) do the same?

Love to hear your thoughts – what will the filmography of your career look like? You can leave them below.