Recently I've met some people with whom I can collaborate on projects - I still have a ways to go, but I've gotten past the technicals phase of the cinematic vocabulary - close up, medium, etc what each does, when you use it, such and such.
I've also HEAVILY started to listen to film commentaries, to the point where when I come through a very good advice - I will go as far as taking out the best moments of a given commentary and make a compilation so I can listen to it over and over again.
And just about a day or so ago I've come across this quote by John McTiernan -
Was there any one film that ignited your interest?
No, but I remember when I decided that that's what I was going to do. I went about it like it was reverse engineering. I knew that I had to go and learn what a movie was, not just my experience of going and watching a movie. So I went and sat in Truffaut's Day for Night (1972), watched it for three days straight, eight hours at a time and memorized it shot-for-shot. I got past the story, all the original and secondary experience, so I could study what it was that I was really watching. Film is really sort of a chain that's really linear. Yet when it's all strung together, it just sort of feels like an experience. It takes quite a while to be able to deconstruct that experience to figure out what you really saw.
which pushed me over the edge, to also follow this advice and truly run a film to the ground over a couple of days so it gets ingrained in my head.
NOW, my biggest issue, not only prevents me from progressing forward as far as grasping concepts - but it makes me doubt myself too.
The issue is that no matter how many books I read on cinematography, film, or how many commentary excerpts of the best advice I listen to over and over - and while it makes a difference, because I DO learn it all - it all seems to just go in one ear and out the other, not only when I am out there on location - but when I edit for instance.
Is this normal, or am I just mentally retarded (I hope not) when it comes down to remembering. I just can't keep it all in my head all the time. Did you guys run into this issue when you were first novice DPs? How did you overcome it. Practice? or memorizing in essentially the same way McTiernan memorized and studied films?
I would like to hear from as many of you as possible, this is really an issue for me. I am at a point where I am seriously considering of just putting together a notebook of the most CRUCIAL cinematographic information and just carrying it with me. It does sound sane to do when you're a essentially a noob, at least until I start getting truly grasping the cinematic language without a need for reference. BUT, do you, or DID YOU have this issue of just completely going BLANK about how to shoot something.
The more I write, the more I think I know what I need, and it's a solid grasp on the story of the scene, or a sequence - but then I also begin to just hear this chatter in my brain that says, "you dont know how to shoot this"
More planning, more theory, more analyzing films, more FILM education? I feel like I need to be doing all of those things I listed, but maybe there's a root problem? I mean, I don't think I'm NOT talented, I've trained my eye a bit since I first picked up a camera - but I feel like I can't store so much information in my head, and maybe it's a case of being just relatively NEW to this craft, and not so much having anything to do with talent.
If anyone is doubting me about talent, then look no further than this - I think I have a good sense for compositions at least as a novice, but sometimes when I go out on a shoot - whether it's just an experimental, like practice shoot - or filming a live performance, I can just blank about how to cover, or frame something.
What's wrong with me. A case of inexperience or not enough film education, or both, or something else?
Edited by Liam Howlett, 01 December 2012 - 06:35 AM.