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Art for Art's Sake?

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!

Storytelling with Real Life

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.

Posted by: Julia Camenisch on May 1, 2007 at 12:29:26 pmComments (1) editing, documentaries, entertainment, indie film

What NOT to do & other bits of advice

I'm sure you've read it, but it's so good (at least IMHO) that it bears repeating. Mike Curtis over at HD for Indies, has compiled a list of 10 "don't do" rules for indie filmmakers, based off his experience as a consultant. Since he wrote these as a frustrated rant, it's a bit long-winded, but here's a quick summary of 9 of those rules. Two of them are so similar I didn't bother repeating: 1. Don't use Cineframe mode on Sony HDV cameras - looks bad and isn't true 24p. 2. Shoot your film on 24Pa (Hmmm...this isn't a "don't" - like I said, he was ranting at the time) 3. If using the DVX100, don't do letterbox. Do anamorphic. 4. Don't capture 24p footage as "normal" 29.97 footage. Messes everything up if you're wanting a 24p master. 5. Label your tapes as to what format they were shot in 6. Log your tapes & get advice from "real" editors 7. Low budget, out in the field shooting? Don't use an HVX P2 workflow unless you're got your workflow down and have thought it through completely. (My take on it, not his) 8. Figure out your budget and production plan at the beginning and don't make uninformed changes to that in the middle. Could ruin more than you realize at the time. (Again, my take) 9. Always ask, but if you're turned down, be gracious and understanding. Remember, others who are helping you on the project have to make a living too. You can read the full post here.

Posted by: Julia Camenisch on Apr 23, 2007 at 10:46:33 am technology, business, indie film

Can YouTube make YouRich?

+Here's a bit of news+ from Ars Technica about the unfolding opportunity to make money from YouTube. It'll be interesting to see what the terms of the deal are - I'm sure the ad revenues won't be enough to allow you to quit your day job...unless of course you can come up with a really, really good video. When I get my current doc project finished, I might post to see if I can make any pocket change.

Posted by: Julia Camenisch on Apr 19, 2007 at 12:32:07 pm business, web, indie film

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