|The first Super-8 motion picture camera I learned on.|
There are some people who need to read a book or manual before they can tackle a new tool and then there are those who need to learn by complete immersion. I happen to be the type of person who needs to learn by doing.
I was recently watching a guitar lesson by guitarist Nuno Bettencourt. In that lesson Nuno expressed his philosophy on learning the craft - it's sometimes best to try and mimic what you're hearing rather than to have the artist show you exactly how it was done. By making an attempt on your own, you start to develop a style of your own.
I have been interested in the film and video craft from a very early age. As I said in My Start Using Nonlinear Editing Systems, I started developing my style long before I ever used a video NLE system. Then again, I have always been the "self-taught" type of person, and have always been more engaged in the type of learning that was hands-on.
There are some things you can only learn in a professional environment, but developing a style of your own is a personal thing. Sometimes if you're learning without someone else's input, it's easier to develop a style that is your own.