Filmmaker by Scott Macaulay
In 2011 on New Year’s Day I posted “New Year’s Resolutions for Filmmakers” — 10 items filmmakers could embrace to improve their practice and thought processes for the year ahead. Last year, I thought about revising or updating it but couldn’t think of much to add. This year I looked at it again, and had some new thoughts. It’s still a decent list, and if you want to read something that will prod you in the gentle, empathetic, self-help-y manner of lists of these kind, a post full of to-do items you can file alongside “lose weight” and “be present in the moment,” I continue to recommend it. But for something more specific, more rooted in the now of ’13, I offer here a crankier addendum.
Stop making feature films. Why are you trying to make a feature film? If it’s for any other reason than that’s how your brain processes stories, that it’s the form that thrills and moves you, or because it’s the form most suited to your subject matter, stop. If you’re doing it because you think it’s the dominant story medium of our time, or because you believe it’s the way to a mass audience or because you think you’ll get rich, you need a healthy dose of artistic and personal self-examination. Telling stories through media of some form, yes. But buying into the conventional feature-film format and all its legacy business practices… that is no longer something you do by rote. And if you do answer those above questions in the affirmative, think of ways you can also extend and expand your content beyond that feature-film format because more and more new audiences aren’t wired with cinema as their default entertainment program.
Learn to interact with developers. Should filmmakers learn to code? That’s a question bubbling under the surface of the nascent film/tech convergence, and it’s one we will examine in a series of blog posts co-authored by MIT Story Lab this Winter. The jury is still out on that one, but I will argue that in order to realize the full potential of their creative content, filmmakers need to learn how to speak to developers. They need to understand what it is that they do, how they work, and what their tools are so that they can augment and extend their stories. read more...