Thursday, July 24, 2014



Please stop referring to your little iPhone video projects as a film. It is not a film. Nor is your new DSLR (whomever the manufacturer may be) camera, your camcorder, your GoPro, or any other camera that captures using digital devices. Even the highly touted Red camera systems are all digital capture.

It is HD (High Definition) digital video. That means it is an electronic capture as opposed to a chemical capture. Film requires specific attention, process, and projecting. HD video doesn't require anywhere near the amount of care and attention to process the image - all the tech heads who designed that camera did the heavy lifting for you already. It's one of the reasons film as a medium for storytelling is being reduced to obscurity as it is.

Sure, there's a lot of great conveniences in this modern world we live in, but the terminology is staying stuck in the past and it is really irritating the hell out of me.

Oh, it's just a word, what's the big deal, right? Wrong. Filmmaking as a blanket term for an overall experience blurs the lines between very specific skill sets of very unique craftspeople. Prior to the dominance of digital capture, Cinematographers and Directors of Photography had to deal with a more intuitive process, based on experimentation that provided calculated results - with more experimental projects, many times the look would not be known until the film was actually processed and screened. Camera tests were an integral part of the entire process.

Not so much these days, where the focus is on capturing a clean image and manipulating everything in post. Not to say there is not art or discipline involved, it is simply different. Very different. The focus has shifted from "in camera" to "in Post". The phrase"fix it in Post" used to be more of a joke, now it is everyday reality.

Plus - and this means a lot in this day and age - film is getting more obscure as a principal form of capture. In other words, only those with the clout to demand a film actually be shot on film get that privilege. Unless you are someone with the access to actually shoot on film, whatever it may be - 8mm, 16mm, 35mm, 70mm - you are NOT a Filmmaker.

"But I'm a Digital Filmmaker!" >SLAP!< Do you know how that sounds? How can "Film Schools" get away with teaching such duplicitous terminology? Is actual film stock included anywhere in your digital process? No. Are you even creating film masters for screenings? No. If you integrate film into your process for capture or screening, then you can claim "Filmmaker".

"Digital Filmmaking" - That's just pretentious claptrap to keep you spending money. Like "Pro-sumer" cameras in the 90s & early 00s.

You shoot digital video. You make movies. You're a Movie Maker and possibly an Entertainer and what's wrong with that? Nothing. Some of you guys are multi-millionaires, and hats off to you.

When I handled film, I called them films. That was a long time ago. Now I make movies, and I self distribute just like millions of other people out there, but I'm not a filmmaker. What's wrong with that? Nothing.

Do I know how to make movies? Yes, and I have a resume to prove it. Have I ever worked on films - actually handled film stock? Yes. Do I hope to again in the future? Yes. But until I actually make another film, I am not a filmmaker.

Advertisers will call it "filmmaking" 'til they turn blue in the face to help convince you that you too can be a "Professional Filmmaker". But a Professional knows the difference. Please, know the difference.

Call me what you will, but film is no longer the common media. We live in a digital age, and we aren't stepping backwards any time soon. Let's embrace it without pretense if we can.

Let's stay creative & make movies.

Thank you.

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