Friday, April 7, 2023

For the maker of films there are thoughts, jottings, comments and notes here about how to make film from the world. Quentin Tarantino is right. A good review can be studied like a class assignment. And for the viewer of films there are thoughts about how to make film from film. These essays may be more useful to the student than to the accomplished filmmaker or to the viewer who wants only to be informed, entertained or emotionally moved. But there may be something useful here for viewers who can entertain the notion that the film we experience as memory is the real film.

If I have any single reader in mind it is the independent filmmaker on the brink of becoming the next big thing. The good news for that filmmaker is that there is a lot of bandwidth to fill. The bad news is there will be a lot of crap competing to fill it. When bandwidth was scarce, the value of information was that it added something novel to our picture of things. Now bandwidth is unlimited and we have to create a new standard of value. The problem for the filmmaker now is how to stand out and the problem for the viewer is how to make good use of his or her time.

It’s a truism that literature, film and photography, are synthesized experiences. They don’t exist until a maker creates them. But the experiences of the world, of emotions and of memories the maker uses as the building blocks of their creations is important. The maker’s own experience and direct knowledge has special standing. Write what you know. Film what you know. That’s good advice. Or maybe we should say write and film what you remember. Of what you remember, choose those things that are first-hand, intimate and full of emotion for you. Bring those emotions to every situation. Write and film what you know with abandon. Write and film what you feel. Imbue every situation, past and present, historical or speculative, with your own experience and authentic emotions. The story is just an occasion for synthesis and the quality of the film depends on the quality of the emotionally moving experience the maker is able to create.

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