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Are some filmmakers gifted and others not?


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#1 Justin Billington

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 01:47 PM

I see so many Indie filmmakers who put their blood & sweat, and not to mention money on the line hoping to make it big. But in the end their film goes strait to DVD at some third rate video rental place. Do they just have bad Ideas for stories, or is it more than that?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:13 PM

Financial success is not a definitive indicator of quality or talent because there are factors that are beyond the power of the individual to control.

This is not a great time for independent filmmakers counting on traditional success from a theatrical release, and the newer methods of distribution are still in their infancy so it's hard to define success in that arena.
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 02:49 PM

But in the end their film goes strait to DVD at some third rate video rental place.


Like the vast majority of young "directors" out there, you make this comment to denote some form of failure.

This is because you have not made a feature film, and therefore do not fully understand the incredible odds you are up against just getting any feature film made in the first place.

Next, you have to sell the end product. Take a walk around AFM sometime and see how many thousands, yes thousands, of feature films are on sale. And guess what, 90% of them are better than anything you will make, and a large percentage of them will not find distribution.

Knowing as I do about indie film distribution, I tell people all the time, "I aspire to be in the .99 bin at Walmart." You may call that a failure. However, when you understand how many films never even make it that far, you realize that is a huge success.

R,
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#4 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 07:27 AM

Like the vast majority of young "directors" out there, you make this comment to denote some form of failure.

This is because you have not made a feature film, and therefore do not fully understand the incredible odds you are up against just getting any feature film made in the first place.

Next, you have to sell the end product. Take a walk around AFM sometime and see how many thousands, yes thousands, of feature films are on sale. And guess what, 90% of them are better than anything you will make, and a large percentage of them will not find distribution.

Knowing as I do about indie film distribution, I tell people all the time, "I aspire to be in the .99 bin at Walmart." You may call that a failure. However, when you understand how many films never even make it that far, you realize that is a huge success.

R,

This is very true, but one thing that always sticks in my mind to becoming at least a good filmmaker (or especially a cinematographer) is you have to at least visualise what you're getting. If you can't do that by nature, I don't think it's something that you can learn.

I think it's like playing music by ear.
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#5 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 07:49 AM

I'd also like to add that I've noticed that it's very common for great directors to have mediocre or even badly made first features. But the thing is, if you make a bad first, how do you even get to pull off a second one? At the very least, is getting something made seen as a successful enough achievement to move onto another?

I've seen a number of exceptions to this, but still they have a lot of practise (short form content) or at the very least have a great working crew that knows what they're doing.

Richard, have you found your talent evolving as you move on with features?
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 08:20 AM

If you can't even sell your first film, you can be sure you won't be making a second (that anyone will hear of). However, if the film you do make sells in some form, you now have a "track record," upon which to secure better financing.

Success and of Failure of someone, in my opinion, can only be assigned by that person. It is up to you as to how you want to see what you do (or don't) accomplish.

And, like Richard said, having a film finished and out there buy-able at all is so incredibly rare that when it happens, no matter where it feels good (for example, a few very bad features I've shot, one of which actually can be bought as s shiny new pressed DVD! And even showed in a theater! Which, despite people hating the film -- story, and the fact the final audio mix was horrible and out of sync, later fixed-- made me feel damned good standing in the back watching people react to something I shot. Also was nice no one complained with how it looked ;) )
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#7 Tom Jensen

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:06 AM

I have seen some people who just seem to have a natural gift for cinematography and photography. Some people learn concepts quicker than others. Some people have better personalities that click with directors. Some know exactly what they want and some have no clue. Some people are more motivated than others. That being said, cinematography can be learned. All it takes is money, time and experience. You learn more by doing. Reading is supplemental to the craft.
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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:58 PM

Richard, have you found your talent evolving as you move on with features?


I learned a hell of a lot on the last two. I am confident that my upcoming number three, will be a substantial improvement over features one and two.

Not an Oscar winner....but better and more commercial than the last two.

R,
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#9 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 01:27 AM

Opinions are like kittens- someone's always given them away!

wait, wait..

Opinions are like farts.

Everyone has them but you don't want them wafted in your face.
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#10 Tom Jensen

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 09:45 AM

Opinions are like kittens- someone's always given them away!

wait, wait..

Opinions are like farts.

Everyone has them but you don't want them wafted in your face.


Opinions from students can be but opinions from people who have spent 25 years plus in the business can be pretty valuable.
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#11 Peter James Scott

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:57 PM

I have seen some people who just seem to have a natural gift for cinematography and photography. Some people learn concepts quicker than others. Some people have better personalities that click with directors. Some know exactly what they want and some have no clue. Some people are more motivated than others. That being said, cinematography can be learned. All it takes is money, time and experience. You learn more by doing. Reading is supplemental to the craft.


I completely agree with this. Though I think some people may learn quicker than others, everyone can achieve the same level of skill and craftsmanship, given enough practise for that individual. How much you practise is down to personal motivation and interest in the subject.

Again I agree that some people have personalities that will click better with a director. I believe that applies to any job where you have to work in a team though; better team chemistry equals better production. Furthermore if people have a working chemistry (in a professional sense of course), then it is probably because they have the same interests and mindset as the other individual. This alone will make the rookie runner more employable to the director than someone with no social skills but with excellent grades.

The current economic climate means that acquiring a large budget from a producer is harder. I very much doubt that a producer would give a large amount of money to a random amateur anymore. They are more likely to give it to someone who is reliable, trustworthy, produces average films who has been round the block a couple of times, rather than give the funds newbie who is in fact secretly the greatest film maker of all time. This is when ‘Its who you know, not what you know’ comes into practice.

Finally, define failure. Even some massive box office hits are crap in some peoples eyes. Like the posts before, money is not an indicator of success. I just bought a Scorcese film off Amazon for £3.50.

@pjscott89

Edited by PETER JAMES SCOTT, 04 July 2012 - 03:58 PM.

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#12 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 04:24 PM

Opinions from students can be but opinions from people who have spent 25 years plus in the business can be pretty valuable.

Sure, about things they know, like motion picture cameras, processing and technique- cameraman.

About "talent" of others, about the whole of the business from pitch to acquisition and delivery. I think it's an "opinion".
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#13 Richard Boddington

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 04:34 PM

I just bought a Scorcese film off Amazon for £3.50.

@pjscott89


Hmmm, really not sure what that demonstrates?

R,
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#14 Tom Jensen

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:17 PM

Sure, about things they know, like motion picture cameras, processing and technique- cameraman.

About "talent" of others, about the whole of the business from pitch to acquisition and delivery. I think it's an "opinion".


Opinions from informed people who know and who have been through the process are pretty valuable. You seem to think they are like farts. You learn a lot about the business being on a set. More than you can imagine. You shouldn't assume that a cameraman knows little about the process of the business side.
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#15 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 01:59 AM

To answer the question you stated in the title of this thread, YES some film makers are EXCEPTIONALLY gifted and some should have inspired a "Never allowed to be on a film set" law to be passed. That's why there are Stanley Kubricks and there are also Ed Woods. MOST fall under the realm of "can cut something together that will get some kind of release." I LOVE to play pool but Minnesota Fats, I ain't.That doesn't mean I should stops shooting pool but I'm not gonna quit my day job to start hustlin' pool. I FORTUNATELY DO have a little talent for my true passion. I may not be Kubrick but then again, he ain't me! B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 05 July 2012 - 02:00 AM.

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#16 Christopher Sheneman

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:29 AM

To answer the question you stated in the title of this thread, YES some film makers are EXCEPTIONALLY gifted and some should have inspired a "Never allowed to be on a film set" law to be passed. That's why there are Stanley Kubricks and there are also Ed Woods. MOST fall under the realm of "can cut something together that will get some kind of release." I LOVE to play pool but Minnesota Fats, I ain't.That doesn't mean I should stops shooting pool but I'm not gonna quit my day job to start hustlin' pool. I FORTUNATELY DO have a little talent for my true passion. I may not be Kubrick but then again, he ain't me! B)

Kubrick isn't you and he's dead. Got it.
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#17 Marcus Joseph

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:41 AM

I learned a hell of a lot on the last two. I am confident that my upcoming number three, will be a substantial improvement over features one and two.

Not an Oscar winner....but better and more commercial than the last two.

R,

That sounds good, I'd be looking forward to seeing it one day.

I'm hoping to one day work into a feature, but it looks like it'll be a lot of commercials before then. I luckily have a lot of age and time on my hands, but there's still a lot of odds against anyone. I find any director pulling off a feature incredibly impressive, I've seen a lot of talented people stuck in the short form world.
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#18 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:43 AM

One of the reasons he ain't me....not today. B)
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#19 David J Paradise

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 12:19 PM

I see so many Indie filmmakers who put their blood & sweat, and not to mention money on the line hoping to make it big. But in the end their film goes strait to DVD at some third rate video rental place. Do they just have bad Ideas for stories, or is it more than that?


There are so many factors to consider; it's almost endless. Unfortunately, talent alone isn't enough.
Timing is an essential ingredient, as is luck, contacts, abilities to network and communicate at various levels. The list goes on and on.
Of course, there must be an opportunistic environment and the ability to take decisive action and advantage when the moment is favourable.
All this is terribly difficult for most people especially those who lack funds. There are many gifted people from all walks of life. However, when you factor into it countless distractions and pressures to get a 'normal' career, it's a wonder anyone 'makes it' in the film industry let alone 'making it big'.
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#20 Freya Black

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:55 PM

To answer the question you stated in the title of this thread, YES some film makers are EXCEPTIONALLY gifted and some should have inspired a "Never allowed to be on a film set" law to be passed. That's why there are Stanley Kubricks and there are also Ed Woods.


I'd argue they were both amazingly talented. Mr Kubrick had the backing of the big studios and Ed virtually invented independent film. Ed Wood managed to make these crazy and interesting films with virtually no money. Those who called him the "worst film director of all time" probably don't know how difficult it is just to get a film made! I think they also can't have seen that many films. Ed Woods films are great but I've seen big budget Hollywood films that were virtually unwatchable.

Both Ed Wood and Mr Kubrick achieved great things. Apples and Oranges tho.

love

Freya
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