Talking to a fellow media professional recently, and they commented that the type of art they prefer to do now is simply for artistic expression rather than for communication. And that got me thinking about what the role of art in our (often) very utilitarian profession is and should be. I guess I default towards art only being a worthwhile investment when it clearly communicates. And yet I'm beginning to feel that there may be value to self-expression that doesn't have as its primary goal communication. Exploring and discoveirng - that's how our craft is honed, and how our creative ideas get fuel to grow. Sculpters learn through practice. Painters wield their brush to bring forth many a picture that no one sees. Writers scribble ideas, musings and thoughts in their personal journals. Can't video artists create just for the sake of learning and personal growth? I'm not saying you won't communicate - art naturally springs from your worldview and philosophy. You might have a very clear message come through your work. I just wonder if maybe sometimes we need to create simply to create, grow and learn. So in that vein, here's a title sequence
from the OFFF 2007 Title opening - yeah, it had a purpose and was created for commercial reasons, but it's a fun and inspiring look at artistic styles and trends. So watch, be inspired, and create!
First, watch the trailer
. Want to do a Cinema Verité project? Spend an evening watching Lost Boys of Sudan
first. The film follows several Sudanese young men as they leave their homeland and try to start life anew in the US. You almost never feel the intrusion of the camera, and the interviews are so organic and natural, it seems as though the subject is just talking to himself or a good friend, not to a producer. I'd love to watch another "Making Of" for this film - something specifically dealing with the techniques used to keep the camera in the background and to capture so many transparent and honest moments.
Life is stranger than fiction, or so they say. And even though my day to day existence doesn't contain much fodder for prize winning television, there are many true stories out there that make for riveting viewing. If the term "documentary" makes you yawn, you might need to shed your preconceived notions of picture slideshows. This genre is full of creativity and artistic expression. In fact, I'd say that watching documentaries is one of the best ways to learn the elusive art of storytelling. So before you go to Blockbuster for yet another Hollywood crafted fable, take a few minutes to sit down with real life and learn what truly makes "better TV". If you can make a compelling story from real life events, you can probably make a pretty good fiction story as well. A good example of this can probably be found at your local library. My Flesh & Blood
is one of my all time favorites. The filmmaker, Jonathan Karsh, followed the Tom family over the course of a year, and was able to become almost a "fly on the wall", capturing very personal moments. The storyline intrigued me so much, I can't say I focused on much to apply to my own filmmaking, other than that your subjects have to be willing to be open with you. If they're not comfortable with the camera, you're not going to be able to capture the range of emotions which will connect with your audience.Update: After a little more searching, I was able to locate the trailer
Made me want to watch it again. I think the power of a story like this is that it takes you into someone else's life that is vastly different from yours. I guess that's what all good documentaries accomplish, at least in some measure or another.