Jump to content


Photo

Is being a creative and good film-maker/director easier than you think?


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 Jia Cheng Tan

Jia Cheng Tan

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Student

Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:18 PM

I'm a newbie, not even a newbie. Haven't finished high school yet.
Haven't started anything in film-making, so yeah.

But what I would like to know: Is being a creative and good film-maker/director easier than you think?

Because everytime i see works of other masters like David Fincher, or even those underdog film-makers on Youtube with their amazing work which are showered with praises. That feeling in my heart going, "I should have thought of that." But I didn't. And more and more films coming out everyday. Each better than the other, and I always wonder if I can catch up to their standards or something.

Is coming up with an idea for the film, and making it reality before your eyes that easy? Because one can easily have his/her mind stuffed with ideas of other's finished work, but none of his/her own. Relating other people ideas into your work would just be lack of originality. I dare say for now, I am one of those people that are kind of unable to have seemingly original ideas of my own.

Do you have a hard time thinking of a story, a concept, or ideas that when people see the final work they recognize your very own idea instead of recognizing the concept being reminiscent to someone else?

I see most recognized works out there big or small, Hollywood or Youtube, don't have much of a problem with that. So is coming up with original ideas as easy as it looks?

Really appreciate your responses. Thank y'all in advance. :)
  • 0

#2 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11939 posts
  • Other

Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:55 PM

What's art?

I think what you're trying to ask is whether it's difficult to come up with something that's different enough from previous work to be considered original, but sufficiently within the realm of the familiar that it isn't just offputtingly strange.

This is a problem as old as art itself, especially with commercial art.

P
  • 0

#3 Jia Cheng Tan

Jia Cheng Tan

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 8 posts
  • Student

Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:56 AM

This is a problem as old as art itself, especially with commercial art.


But do you just produce your work, put it out there and see how it goes? That would be a little vague in the world who only cares about results, ain't it?
  • 0

#4 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 22 August 2012 - 05:37 PM

But do you just produce your work, put it out there and see how it goes? That would be a little vague in the world who only cares about results, ain't it?



Of course, the question comes up how willing are film and TV executives to invest millions in something that's truly original? Doing so always carries a level of risk.
  • 0

#5 M Joel W

M Joel W
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 268 posts
  • Student

Posted 27 August 2012 - 03:48 PM

I think it's more a matter of being able to articulate something with a particular voice and mastery of the form than coming up with something "new" and creative.

This can mean different things to different directors; just as a great EDM producer might not be able to play guitar but he's still a talented musician, a great director might not work well with actors, might struggle at covering action, might be bad at comedy, might not be able to write well, etc. But that's what's so awesome about movies: their diversity. Spielberg's favorite directors are Lean and Ford. No surprise. Bay's favorite? The Coens. Crazy.

Don't think about the movies in terms of concepts. Most of Fincher's best movies are based on books, none are written by Fincher, and they have a lot of traits in common (thematically, most are about a genius manipulator of sorts, be it a serial killer or CEO). This isn't because Fincher thought those would be good movies to make necessarily, but because the studio is more likely to green light pictures that are similar to previous financial successes from a given director. Who can blame them? Benjamin Button was unwatchable. A lot of the story aspects are the terrain of writers and producers.

Rather than looking exclusively at what stories directors come up with (although this is very important), consider their other responsibilities: directing actors, blocking, working with the cinematographer, editor, and production designer to create a look and feel, placing the camera and picking lenses and camera motion, etc. This is where are are specific crafts that require a certain level of experience and genius to master--it's not just coming up with an idea, it's executing on it. The director isn't who comes up with the story most of the time, and a lot of narrative commonalities academics ascribe to auteur theory are actually just the work of studios and producers teaming stories up with directors, but the director IS the primary story teller--and any given story can be told a million different ways.
  • 0

#6 nes dyson duvos

nes dyson duvos

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Student

Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:51 AM

can a person who doesnt quite understand all the hidden nuances of independent films be a director? :(
  • 0

#7 M Joel W

M Joel W
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 268 posts
  • Student

Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:16 PM

can a person who doesnt quite understand all the hidden nuances of independent films be a director? :(


Definitely. A lot of the time it's the director's fault for not making things clear enough in the first place. Art film ambiguity is rarely a great merit.

But you should learn to work well with actors (read Judith Weston's directing actors to start), learn how to tell a story well (read Story, Save the Cat, etc.), and learn at least the basics of blocking and coverage (there's a DVD series online, but this is kind of a lost art in all honesty, so just watch tons of movies and study blocking and coverage). A technical background helps, too, especially on lower budgeted productions. You want to know at least enough technically that you can call out your crew if they try to dupe you. Or you need to have enough trust not to worry about it.

That said, it will be 1000 times harder if you weren't born filthy rich and connected to the industry and aren't young and attractive and willing to sleep with producers.
  • 0

#8 George Ebersole

George Ebersole
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1570 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 18 December 2012 - 06:09 AM

I'm a newbie, not even a newbie. Haven't finished high school yet.
Haven't started anything in film-making, so yeah.

But what I would like to know: Is being a creative and good film-maker/director easier than you think?

Because everytime i see works of other masters like David Fincher, or even those underdog film-makers on Youtube with their amazing work which are showered with praises. That feeling in my heart going, "I should have thought of that." But I didn't. And more and more films coming out everyday. Each better than the other, and I always wonder if I can catch up to their standards or something.

Is coming up with an idea for the film, and making it reality before your eyes that easy? Because one can easily have his/her mind stuffed with ideas of other's finished work, but none of his/her own. Relating other people ideas into your work would just be lack of originality. I dare say for now, I am one of those people that are kind of unable to have seemingly original ideas of my own.

Do you have a hard time thinking of a story, a concept, or ideas that when people see the final work they recognize your very own idea instead of recognizing the concept being reminiscent to someone else?

I see most recognized works out there big or small, Hollywood or Youtube, don't have much of a problem with that. So is coming up with original ideas as easy as it looks?

Really appreciate your responses. Thank y'all in advance. Posted Image

It can be easy, but it may not be. In writing circles they always say write what you know. The same applies to film only i nthe writing aspect. Once you have that blueprint down, then you can start filming.

I saw an exploitation film from 1974 a few hours back. The script started off okay, but the director (who shall remain nameless) had little to no concept shot setup, using different lenses, or much else other than props, costumes, and some basic dialogue. He had no clue as to blocking, no concept of color timing, no concept of shot composition whatsoever.

Like the bible on cinematography states, there's a lot that goes into becoming a good film maker. Like anything else it can come easy for some people. But in the end you need talent and taste (the books own words). By taste the pros don't necessarily mean something socially acceptable (though that can be part of it), but something that looks good.

Anybody can be a film maker, or even a relatively good film maker. But to really stand out you need to have exposure to good films, technical knowledge, organizational skills, and a vision. If you lack any of that, you can hire people to help you out. But if you go and shoot without any of those elements, then you'll misfire every time.

My first couple of student films were s__t. The stuff that I shot that was good were comedies I shot with friends before I went to college, and stuff I shot on my own; sunsets, lakes, trees, unique city shots and the like. From that I got better, until I could shoot stuff that was commercially viable.

Then real life happened, but that's another story.

The more you shoot, the more you're into the skill and art, the better you'll become. Otherwise you'll wind up being one of these schlock directors who sells films out of their homes, but wows the locals by hiring a bare minimum crew for his 16mm low budge feature.

I hope that helps.
  • 0

#9 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 18 December 2012 - 07:36 AM

Otherwise you'll wind up being one of these schlock directors who sells films out of their homes, but wows the locals by hiring a bare minimum crew for his 16mm low budge feature.


Funny that you would disparage this type of person since they will still be light years ahead of most of these schmucks calling themselves directors these days. Many think they can shoot a $2,000 feature on a borrowed DSLR about a bunch of friends sitting around a table and talking about high society and call that a movie.

Nowadays, a person who manages to shoot ANY feature on film and budget it to completion earns my respect...even if only a local hero.
  • 0

#10 Gregg MacPherson

Gregg MacPherson
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1883 posts
  • Other
  • New Zealand

Posted 18 December 2012 - 06:28 PM

I'm a newbie, not even a newbie. Haven't finished high school yet.
Haven't started anything in film-making, so yeah.

But what I would like to know: Is being a creative and good film-maker/director easier than you think?

Because everytime i see works of other masters like David Fincher, or even those underdog film-makers on Youtube with their amazing work which are showered with praises. That feeling in my heart going, "I should have thought of that." But I didn't. .....Is coming up with an idea for the film, and making it reality before your eyes that easy? Because one can easily have his/her mind stuffed with ideas of other's finished work, but none of his/her own..............I see most recognized works out there big or small, Hollywood or Youtube, don't have much of a problem with that. So is coming up with original ideas as easy as it looks?


Hey Jia,
Tell us a couple of films that you just absolutely love, and a couple of film makers that you absolutely revere. And without thinking much about it, why?

It may be that you are someone hungry for the Hollywood model of creative success, or it may be that you are an artist who wants to make films. Plenty of people travel from right to left, begining as artist and beoming something more commercial, normalized, method oriented. Not many travel in the other direction. Or has the world changed? I have special sympathy for artists, so I bring this up. They seem rare and well hidden.

The idea about originality. Anything that shifts our common perception of a thing will feel original. Start with the familiar, what you are already intimate with. Something you really care about. Stop worrying. You're young. Just write something or make something (very short). Find what you naturally are good at.

Edited by Gregg MacPherson, 18 December 2012 - 06:29 PM.

  • 0

#11 Kahleem Poole

Kahleem Poole
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:02 PM

Funny that you would disparage this type of person since they will still be light years ahead of most of these schmucks calling themselves directors these days. Many think they can shoot a $2,000 feature on a borrowed DSLR about a bunch of friends sitting around a table and talking about high society and call that a movie.


No, they would not.
A schmuck is a schmuck, whether he/she shoots on film or a DSLR, it won't make any difference. Bad films were around WAY BEFORE 1's and 0's as "emulsion" became a norm.
  • 0

#12 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:16 PM

Kahleem, thanks for showing up again.

So you dont respect anyone who finishes a feature over someone who hasnt? Quality is subjective...always has been. But completion shows tenacity and dedication, even if you think they are a schmuck. To me a schmuck is someone who never finishes what they start, even if they are gifted and have good ideas. The reason I mentioned film as a triumph to completion over DSLR is because the cost issue. All things equal, it takes more "skin in the game" to make the 16mm feature than the t3i or 5d feature. The more a person puts of themselves into something, the more confidence and dedication they are showing.
  • 0

#13 Kahleem Poole

Kahleem Poole
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:23 PM

Kahleem, thanks for showing up again.

So you dont respect anyone who finishes a feature over someone who hasnt? Quality is subjective...always has been. But completion shows tenacity and dedication, even if you think they are a schmuck. To me a schmuck is someone who never finishes what they start, even if they are gifted and have good ideas.


If this is your logic, then most if not ALL artists are schmucks. Most painters, pencilers, inkers, song writers, novelists, musicians, etc. have a habit of creating hordes unfinished work. A rough estimate, only about 20% of an artist's work that you see on display is finished while tons are WIP or tossed aside for one reason or another (inspiration burned out, bad idea or hit a blockage).

This isn't a fair assessment and I would say pretty inaccurate as well. Growing up in the art field with cartoonists, comic artists, fashion designers, photographers and filmmakers, you'd be hard pressed to find a lot of the work complete. But by your words, I guess we're all "schmucks" then. Correct?


The reason I mentioned film as a triumph to completion over DSLR is because the cost issue. All things equal, it takes more "skin in the game" to make the 16mm feature than the t3i or 5d feature. The more a person puts of themselves into something, the more confidence and dedication they are showing.


This isn't true. And, again, there are tons of films out there WAY BEFORE the DSLR boom hit, shot on s16 and 35 that were unfinished. It's just not as publicized as it is today.
Before getting into cinematography, I had experience on several low budget martial arts film sets that never saw the light of day. This was back in 2001, mind you. No DSLR filmmakers back then.
  • 0

#14 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:36 PM

You are misunderstanding what I said. I never said that people who shoot film are more likely to finish. I said that finishing on film is more impressive, at least in my opinion, because it shows a greater financial committment (all other things being equal) compared to DSLR. Don;t assume that every person who shoots a movie on DSLR cant afford film. Some choose the format for lack of confidence of their own management of their set because they think they need the insurance of unlimited takes. They quickly learn that there are hidden costs due to time overages that come from being undisciplined. Does shooting a DSLR mean youll be undisciplined? Absolutely not! Do many DSLR shooters take the fact that they have unlimitied takes for granted? Unfortunately, many do.

Kahleem, I want you to pay close attention to this statement: You CANNOT psychologically mimic the feeling of money running through your camera from every take when shooting a DSLR. Its impossible. You can be disciplined but nothing gives you that paranoia of knowing that every take costs you money. If you disagree then compare shooting ratios of film shooters to DSLR shooters. (inb4 you say you shoot 3:1 on DSLR) Nonetheless, the psychology is different.

I also never said that good artists finish everything. I was referring to people who NEVER shoot features. They talk for years and never complete...ANYTHING. Sure, ideas get scrapped and other ideas getting changed and recycled. Its life, I get it.

It seems like you just want to argue. If so, awesome, I love to argue as well.
  • 0

#15 Kahleem Poole

Kahleem Poole
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:52 PM

You are misunderstanding what I said. I never said that people who shoot film are more likely to finish. I said that finishing on film is more impressive, at least in my opinion, because it shows a greater financial committment (all other things being equal) compared to DSLR. Don;t assume that every person who shoots a movie on DSLR cant afford film. Some choose the format for lack of confidence of their own management of their set because they think they need the insurance of unlimited takes. They quickly learn that there are hidden costs due to time overages that come from being undisciplined. Does shooting a DSLR mean youll be undisciplined? Absolutely not! Do many DSLR shooters take the fact that they have unlimitied takes for granted? Unfortunately, many do.


This is somewhat understandable. It's still quite unfair to judge that way based on financial commitment. Especially considering that not everyone can afford to shoot on celluloid. Some people cannot even afford to shoot on higher end digital cinema cameras. However considering the ratio of film being the lowest on the entire budgetary scale for a film's production, it's pretty iffy either way. Though that's another conversation...

I also never said that good artists finish everything. I was referring to people who NEVER shoot features. They talk for years and never complete...ANYTHING. Sure, ideas get scrapped and other ideas getting changed and recycled. Its life, I get it.


That's much clearer. Helps if making a statement like that to be more specific rather than sweeping one, such as...

Funny that you would disparage this type of person since they will still be light years ahead of most of these schmucks calling themselves directors these days. Many think they can shoot a $2,000 feature on a borrowed DSLR about a bunch of friends sitting around a table and talking about high society and call that a movie.



Whether an individual was able to foot the bill for film instead of being on a Canon CMOS sensor makes no difference with a schmuck-ridden project that involves a bunch of friends sitting around a table, talking about high society and calling it a movie. Most likely it was an awful idea despite the amount of money put into it and being from opening credits to rolling credits. More cash running at the time doesn't make the idea, the people or the project any better.
  • 0

#16 Matthew W. Phillips

Matthew W. Phillips
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1792 posts
  • Other

Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:04 AM

Most likely it was an awful idea despite the amount of money put into it and being from opening credits to rolling credits. More cash running at the time doesn't make the idea, the people or the project any better.


Granted, but it takes more gonads to put your money into it.
  • 0

#17 Kahleem Poole

Kahleem Poole
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 55 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:06 AM

Granted, but it takes more gonads to put your money into it.


Yes. Or a rich daddy and mommy. Which is usually the case, especially in art schools.
  • 0

#18 George Ebersole

George Ebersole
  • Sustaining Members
  • 1570 posts
  • Industry Rep
  • San Francisco Bay Area

Posted 19 December 2012 - 05:47 AM

Funny that you would disparage this type of person since they will still be light years ahead of most of these schmucks calling themselves directors these days. Many think they can shoot a $2,000 feature on a borrowed DSLR about a bunch of friends sitting around a table and talking about high society and call that a movie.

Nowadays, a person who manages to shoot ANY feature on film and budget it to completion earns my respect...even if only a local hero.

I've just met too many of them. You get my respect if you shot a 90min feature on 16mm and your film is good.
  • 0

#19 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

Definitely. A lot of the time it's the director's fault for not making things clear enough in the first place. Art film ambiguity is rarely a great merit.


I disagree, I love loads of art films that have ambiguity as an element and often a key element to varying degrees.
Different people like different kinds of films.
I have no interest in ever seeing any of the transformer movies for instance whereas some people feel almost obliged.

Was just talking about this kind of thing with the guy whose music video I'm working on. We both really want to see "Beyond the Black Rainbow" because all the reviews we read slating it just make us go "yup, sounds like my kind of movie!". We could be wrong of course but there we go, but I don't think all movies should be the same or follow a formula. Diversity is good because then there can be something for everyone hopefully.

love

Freya
  • 0

#20 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 21 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

I also never said that good artists finish everything. I was referring to people who NEVER shoot features. They talk for years and never complete...ANYTHING. Sure, ideas get scrapped and other ideas getting changed and recycled. Its life, I get it.


I'm with Woody Allen on this one. "90% of success is turning up". It's soooo true. It's a key element of life in all things.

love

Freya
  • 0


Visual Products

The Slider

CineTape

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Wooden Camera

Technodolly

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

Glidecam

CineTape

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Visual Products

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc

The Slider

Wooden Camera