This week’s focus: Notwithstanding his personal life, Woody Allen is one of my favourite film-makers. I must have watched Hannah and Her Sisters, for instance, over 20 times.

The BBC showed a two-part documentary on Allen this week and a couple of things struck me. First, Allen has been prolific. Over the past 40 years or so he has written, directed and released a film each year. Some of them – Broadway Danny Rose, Annie Hall, Manhattan – are considered classics, while others – Stardust Memories – received a less favourable reaction from the critics. Second, Allen said in the documentary that he had no fear of failure and didn’t really care what the critics, or even the public, thought of the film. He measures a film’s success by his own view of it, not anyone else’s.

These characteristics are related. It is Allen’s absence of a fear of failure that has enabled him to produce so many films and, within that body of work, to have produced some of the greatest movies of all time.

A fear of failure doesn’t improve your work; it inhibits it. In what areas is a fear of failure holding you back from your best work?

Reel To Real: Hannah and Her Sisters by Woody Allen

Mickey: If there’s a God, why is there so much evil in the world? On a simplistic level, why were there Nazis?

Mickey’s Mum: Tell him, Max.

Mickey’s Dad: How the hell do I know why there were Nazis? I don’t know how the can opener works!

© Stuart Cross 2013. All rights reserved.