Thread: Why We Do It.

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    Why We Do It.
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    Senior Member iamlance's Avatar
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    There are similar threads on this, but I think this stands out a bit.

    ---

    I've been thinking for a while now about something every one of you has likely asked yourself.

    Why do you film?

    That's it. It seems like a rhetorical question with an obvious answer, but let's try to go beyond the surface level.

    Some will likely answer that they do it to make beautiful images, or to display a musician's full talent, each working together to make beautiful and pleasantly sounding films.

    I am wanting to look beyond these classifications. Not why aesthetically or soundwise. Not for individual job specifics. But maybe those are your reasons.

    Others will say for the money, for the recognition, or even for the creative company.

    Others still the story. The most important piece, or so they say.

    I've caught myself saying most of these things. I get so consumed with the image and sound. I then try to step back and focus on the story and the dialogue and the acting . And then the editing, the grading and timing. But these are all the tools. Only the tools. Tools I obsess over.

    The tools for what?

    A story? Movies can have perfect stories, yet be ruined by aesthetic choices or a hundred other reasons. If you just want stories, why do we need film? Literature has that. Vocal storytelling has that.

    This may be ramblings of a young filmmaker, and maybe I am wrong, as these are all good and correct answers. But..

    Why do you film?

    ---

    The thing that moves me when watching a film, the very reason I began, is when the audience, the individuals watching the film, take place of the character(s) and feel the raw emotion escaping from those characters, as if, for the 2 hours or so in the theater, and hours, days, even years later, they become the character, in that situation, feeling those same emotions.

    For me, I guess it's the reaction. How I and others react emotionally to the combination of tools, of story, dialogue, acting, cinematography, sound.

    Emotion. Not feelings.

    Film must capture raw emotion; not feelings. They are shadows of the real thing.

    Hollywood movies rely on feelings, on budget over emotion. There are gems here and there, but for the most part, all I see is fluff. This is why we have so many Michael Bay movies.

    Bollywood has the emotion, but lacks in the tools department, relying on glam and outrageous stories.
    Other groups struggle by centering around culture ideas, or propaganda, or its foreignness.

    The total submersion of uncontrollable passion, of exuberance, of bursts of anger, of hollow depression should be felt by the audience, by the the individuals watching the film. An emotional reaction surpassing control.

    If they do not feel as strongly as the characters in the story, something is wrong. The angles, movement, lens closeness or distance, color grading, music, dialogue (too much, too little, or wording), edit pacing, each part of the whole, it all must deliver the emotion perfectly. They are all working together for that one purpose.

    Why do we film?

    To create characters and their pure emotions that overcome the viewers own thoughts, worries, and identity.

    Or for another reason?

    Thoughts? Criticism?
    Last edited by iamlance; 12-01-2014 at 10:53 PM.
    Check out 2 of my short films!

    Arty Ross: Supernatural Investigator:
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    Senior Member iamlance's Avatar
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    The reason I'm posting this is I tend to lose focus on the reason I started. I look back at the past couple projects and short films I worked on and, well sometimes it is hard to see this present in the work.


    I focus on the tools too often.


    It's a good reminder for myself, and for others, whatever their reasons are.
    Check out 2 of my short films!

    Arty Ross: Supernatural Investigator:
    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread...t-Film-Round-1
    Prufrock: http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread...post1986543166


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    I'm actually kind of on a "break" from filmmaking. Is that weird? EVer since 2002 or so I've been making short films, and at some point upped the personal pressure on myself to always be working on something (whether that meant simply thinking about an idea, writing, shooting etc.). After my last one, that went through the usual cycle of work for a long time on it/release it/send links etc. to everyone you know/get responses from maybe 5 people/get depressed that no one cares, instead of moving onto something else I ended up forming a band with a friend (we'd been planning to do this for like 14 years), playing open mic events and (a) show, and taking improv classes. Have no idea when I will return to the short film thing. These other things are so much more immediately gratifying. I have many ideas for films, but when I think about logistics of organizing everything myself (which I inevitably have to do) compared to the rewards when finished (some small amount of self-satisfaction, 5 people caring), it just seems not worth it. Yes of course I've thought of doing something more like "sketches" with the improv folks and filming them and I'm sure we'll eventually get there, but as far as the more proper shorts I've done, no plans to return any time soon.

    Is that all super weird? To just get fed up like that?

    Anyway, I work in video production professionally so I still shoot stuff (though not that kind of material, ever), but as far as creatively I'm off doing other things right now.

    Long story short, I guess my answer to "why we do it" is. . .uh. . ."I don't, right now"?


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    Senior Member Egg Born Son's Avatar
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    It's not just about focus on the reason you got started. You have to be able to honestly reassess your ambitions. As you learn you will increase your understanding of what the roles really are. If self-taught and doing everything you will quickly find out where your strengths lie. If you aren't doggedly pursuing what you originally set out to do maybe you need to reassess your goals. It doesn't necessarily mean giving up altogether but maybe one of the less glamorous roles will actually fulfill your particular skillset and interest. You also need to be able to spot the difference between a disconnect with your starting ambitions vs current position which is a mental shift, and procrastination which is actually damaging.

    I began with great dreams of artistic control, grand visions and making my film. Through the process of doing, collaboration and working for free on other peoples projects my ego has shrunk and what I really get the pleasure out of is simply participation. Filmmaking is a wonderful thing once you find people who want to be involved rather than family and friends browbeaten into helping out. There is no workplace in the world where every participant is so single-mindedly focused on the goal, it is a level of teamwork you'll only find somewhere like on a sailing ship in the middle of the ocean during a storm or some such thing that pulls everyone together. More than anything now I just like the process. Although the fact I have a day job I'm not willing to give up certainly helps keep it in the realm of fun. Hard work but fun. From the very first time I walked on set it just felt comfortable and right. It just took a long time to get there since I live about as far from any filmmaking mecca as you can physically get on this planet.

    I'm also not only open to corporate work (and maybe advertising in future) but embracing it. When I had loftier ambitions this would have been sacriligeous. Now opportunity to make videos with a purpose beyond my own gratification is very appealing. By constantly pushing myself to everyone who will listen as 'the film guy' opportunities I never even thought of keep coming my way. My dayjob employer is starting to utilise me on work time so I'm getting paid to produce content that has a captive audience of up to 15,000 people. No way any short film I make will get that kind of audience. Even the worlds greatest short never put that many bums on a seat. Maybe youtube views but not real bums on real seats.

    One thing that I think is easily overlooked is that you don't have to stick to your initial intentions. I set out to be a writer/director. Turns out like yourself even though I have the vision and the creativity, I really enjoy the tools. I'm both technical and creative. Maybe I'm really a cinematographer who might direct if he has to rather than a director operating camera because he can't afford someone else. Actually what I'm really keen on the idea on is a directing partnership now because I'm more interested in the look and grander vision (love high concept) and I know people who are more interested in the actors and performance. Between us we've got it all covered. We've discussed formally trialling this arrangement in 2015. The third leg of this wheel sort of wants to direct but I'm seeing a producer inside him trying to get out. And he'd be great at it, he cares about the projects, is organised, just loves being involved and is great with people. We have compatible personalities and if we can form a strong triumvirate I would be absolutely thrilled. More than anything else we all just want to be involved. With the right attitude, all the roles can be fun on a good set. Even PA.


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    Senior Member El Director's Avatar
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    I do this because I have something to say and stories to tell. Everything else leads to that for me. I think that's why I'm okay with not doing things "the right way". I'll do whatever it takes to say what I want to say


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    Senior Member cyclone's Avatar
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    Twenty years ago a friend of mine all of a sudden said to me, "I know why you do it."
    "Do what?", I asked.
    "Make films."
    Hmm, I thought, I don't even know why I do it...so I asked, "Why is that?"
    "Because you need to be in control of everything."
    Wow...I think he was right. And I still make films.


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    "A story? Movies can have perfect stories, yet be ruined by aesthetic choices or a hundred other reasons."

    Good acting + a good story = a compelling film. You really don't need anything else. The better everything else is, lighting, camera work, editing, sound, etc., the even more compelling your film is, but I've never seen a great story with great acting ruined by poor film making. Usually the two go hand in hand, poor film making with a weak story, or you have great film making and a poor story, either way the result is a film that doesn't entertain.

    Now, you can go overboard of course. If it's so dark I can't see the actors in a daylight shot, or the "shaky cam" looks like you hired a camera operator that is a recovering heroin addict with the shakes, you can annoy me so badly that I can't watch the actors, but barring that, you don't need anything fancy for a good film if you have a good story portrayed by good actors.

    Films and books are very different. Try writing a screenplay versus a book. Books are about words, screen plays are just the bare bones of a story that has to be filled in with visuals created by a director.

    The Screenplay says "They enter a bar." You really don't have to say anything else, the director, and set design, will create that bar for us to look at.

    If you're writing a book, you need to describe the bar with words in a way that entertains. It's a very different art form.

    The emotions are created by the story. The lighting, music, camera angles enhance the emotion, not create it. When a character is in danger we may or may not root for that character and be on the edge of our seats worried about that fictional protagonist. That is a result of WHY the character is in danger, the story, not the camera angles.

    http://www.amazon.com/Story-Engineering-Larry-Brooks/dp/1582979987

    This is why you don't put your character in serious danger until Act 2. If you do that at the beginning of Act 1, your audience doesn't care. So what if this character dies? We don't know them, or why they are in danger, or what they want.
    Last edited by Gillvane; 12-02-2014 at 06:43 AM.


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    As far as Bollywood, I think the problem is generally the singing and dancing. The musical as a mainstream movie form died out in the US a long time ago, but in India it has remained popular. I've always heard that because the Indian culture is very conservative, the singing and dancing substitutes for sex scenes in movies. Not something that is going to appeal to an American audience, IMO.

    But the "Hindie" movies look interesting.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/prosp...rnative-cinema

    I do like the Bollywood influence here:



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    Senior Member KyleProhaska's Avatar
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    Great idea for a thread. It sounds dopey, but movies are the only things I've ever understood. It's where most of my knowledge lies (even historically), it's where my artistic talents are, it's what I enjoy personally as a fan, AND it's something I've found I'm able to make money with as well. If it wasn't film in some way I don't have a clue what I would do with myself. I'm not sure I could survive anywhere else either, at least not happily. Even when I dove into marketing full-time to pay the REAL bills for now, it's all in the realm of theatrical marketing anyway. I can't escape it.

    If you were to ask what my personal goals were as an artist, it's to slowly and progressively move towards making at least one good film someday. I have zero illusions to my current abilities, and both features I've done have been tremendous learning experiences that let me focus on different aspects of the process. While I think some young filmmakers build a creative wall up for themselves by being burdened with making the best movie ever out of the gate, I'm of the opinion that it's not going to happen. I just need to keep creating, learning, growing, and FAILING until one day...probably many many years from now, I create that first film that's actually objectively good on all the levels that it needs to be.

    Basically...why do I do it? Because I love film more than almost anything, and one day I want to create what could be considered a truly exceptional film. I've tasted it when I've ended up with a great scene, but it's merely a taste of what a great cohesive film can give. If I only make one of that sort, I'll have made it my life's work to get there. Film is insanely difficult, and you never know, I may never make anything that's great, but I love the process too much not to try.


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    Senior Member iamlance's Avatar
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    Egg, I cannot tell if you are replying to me, or stating your own reasons, but in light of my own opinions, your response kind of makes me sad. Please don't take this as me against you. I see this in most fields. Where you said you reassessed your goals and shrunk your ego, it seems to me like you slowly began to settle for less. This isn't anything against you, as it usually must happen to succeed financially in life, but it kind of reminds me of when adults tell children that they cannot be artists, or singers, or astronauts. I love working with others on normal projects, ones that I am not necessarily emotionally attached to, but those do not become my reason for filming. I mean, those kinds of projects will pay the bills for a professional (student here) and are enjoyable, but are not my reason for filming. Like all of you, I dream to reach a point in my career where I have the ability to surround myself with those totally dedicated to the project, overwhelming focused on attaining the ultimate emotional response. I like your analogy of the ship; it does seem rare, and impossibly difficult, and unreachable, but it is the goal. I haven't been happy with many of the films I've watched and made for that same reason: each part of the film was not used to its full potential to capture the minds of the audiences. The reach for the stars cliche is very telling in this situation. Everyone knows that you cannot actually grasp the stars (yet), but that doesn't stop all of us from trying.

    I've worked with people focused on the film, and others simply trying to do their job. Some people (volunteers) struggle to even do that. The films are certainly more compelling when more effort is put into the story, acting, and tools. But again, a compelling film is not my goal. My goal is so, so much more.

    I am still young. I haven't yet had to face the industry, which I've heard can be crushing at times. My dreams may never be realized, but I'll try to get as close to that idea in my head as possible.



    Gillvane, I see what you mean on the literature vs. film comparison. What I was trying to convey is that whether you are reading a book, hearing a story, or watching a film, the same information can be conveyed, though in different ways (visuals, words). Due to the differences in length (and in turn effort put in by the reader/audience), it is more difficult to capture their hearts in movies. I believe that the emotional connection found deep within a powerful book is what makes them so enjoyable. For that same level of emotional commitment to be present when viewing a film, each aspect of the film should be as close to perfect as possible. This high requirement prevents as many movies from having a huge effect on me, when compared to the number of books which succeed. I love watching films, making films, reading about films, analyzing films, learning about film techniques and gear. I love film. But I also adore that emotional connection. I want to leave behind the time restraints and make a movie that causes the same emotional response as hundreds and hundreds of heavy pages would deliver.

    One thing I really love about Bollywood is their use of color. Maybe that is why I love Wes Anderson's visuals so much.

    Cyclone. Who wouldn't want to create their own world, where skies can be green and 1 + 1 = 3 if they so desired?
    Check out 2 of my short films!

    Arty Ross: Supernatural Investigator:
    http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread...t-Film-Round-1
    Prufrock: http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread...post1986543166


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