Wednesday, April 20, 2005

To be or not to be

Okay I've made a film, and done several short films now what? Work that's what. It's rather difficult to balance filmmaking and life in general. Since making a film can tax your resources both in the physical realm as well as the emotional realm it can be difficult to produce a good piece of work. A support mechanism is needed to help people like yourself to create interesting films, but in today's culture that is so hard to do or develop for that matter. I have been a member of a crew and felt worthless, and hated every minute of it, and on the other hand I've been in a work environment where everyone is working for the project because they believe in it, and enjoyed every second of it. These are two extremes, and there seems to be no middle ground. I guess one needs to keep plugging along, and take from each project something they can use later. Filmmaking is a group effort, but in that group are one or two individuals who move the project forward. It is these people that have a vision, and depending on their strengths a project will or will not come to fruition. The French New wave described this as the auteur theory. What the "auteur theory" said was that it was the director whose vision or stamp is put on a film, and it is the director who shoulders much of the credit or blame for a film. I used to have arguments about this, and I still do at times, but I'd like to take the meaning of the auteur theory and expand on it. Usually it's one or two people who are involved in getting a film together, and usually this is has been for me the producer as well as the director. I agree that when the movie is actually in production it is the director who is calling the shots, and not the producer. But I've known producers who've carried around projects for YEARS till it finally comes to fruition, and then even when the film is in production they have their hands all over the production. Getting locations, getting the crew, the director, the studio and so on are all what a producer does, and usually the producer will hire the director that best fits HIS or HER vision of the film. So now who is the true "auteur" of the film? I'd have to say that the producers hand is just as strong as the director's hand in a film. I think a person or persons who has a strong vision for the film should also be considered the auteur of the film. I still believe the director hammers out the product according to his vision, but the producer still has his or her handprint on the film because it was the producer who hired the director, and usually the producer who hires the director will want someone who shares or improves his or her own vision of the film.

So that's my theory on being a filmmaker, and the filmmaking theory known as "the auteur theory". One may not do a film for sometime and then suddenly when the opportunity presents itself you suddenly find yourself behind the camera again. Filmmakers are like addicts. We hate the process, and yet we crave a fix. During production we moan, and bitch about everything, and even when we are selling our product we curse the distributors. But we love the high that filmmaking provides, and we love the art of creation. So we write, and write, and write till an opportunity arises where we can put our written words up on the screen. We constantly chase the high, and we are both in love and in hate with all of it, but that's the plight of the filmmaker. So spare some pity for us poor creatures of the cinema. All we want to do is tell stories, and hope someone is listening.

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