Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Darkside of the "Dark Arts" Mentality in Filmmaking

I'm a little worked up today. I just read a thread of nasty posts ending with the post entitled, "The Dark Arts" The Great DP Debate, over at filmmaker, Dan Parkes blog Ambleton Delight which chronicles the behind-the-scenes efforts on his feature film of the same name.

I think comments on these posts are a great study in some of the nastier hidden dynamics of the culture in this industry. Long-story short, Dan posted one of many (40+) blog posts documenting the making of his feature film, Ambleton Delight, and in it he described how he could only afford to hire his pro DP for the major scenes and shot and lit many other scenes himself. (He's also a DP.)

What followed that post has been a week-long bruh-ha-ha of nasty and sometimes personal comments, bashing, and insults by a select group of DP's who were apparently extremely insulted at the mere insinuation that one could even consider shooting a film w/ a part-time DP.

I can certainly think of reasons why I wouldn't necessarily take the same approach to shooting a feature, but I say more power to Dan, if he can pull it off and it works. Full-time or part-time DP is not even the issue to me the actual blog posts and funky comments that follow. (The ones that are still there as some were already deleted for sheer nastiness.)

Make no mistake about it, there are plenty of people that don't want Dan, me or anyone else to share our filmmaking experiences or perspectives with you. Perhaps they had a particularly rough time breaking in and don't want you to have it any easier. Maybe they are insecure that things are changing too fast or the field is getting too crowded. Maybe they think the traditional ways are the only ways things should ever be done by anyone and nothing different should ever even be attempted...I don't know.

But I do know that far too many people covet and hide information in this industry and go out of their way to make entry as hard as possible and "hate" on other people who are trying to share tips with you or just trying to rise to their level of "professional"... especially if those people have different ideas/methodologies.

That's literally why I started this blog, wrote The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide and do a weekly podcast for filmmakers, The Double Down Film Show- to share my Down and Dirty ideas and methodologies on filmmaking with you all.

We'd all like to never take a shortcut and do everything the way that big budget features do, but that's unrealistic on a guerrilla film budget. People like Dan and myself (I don't actually know the guy by the way) however, will not be deterred by our limitations of resources and experience, but instead find ways to make them work for us and discover new ways to get our vision out to the world, even if we can't afford to do it the way everyone else does.

Peep my response to the last thread on Dan's blog and please feel free to weigh in with your own after you read the last 3 posts and comments on the Ambleton Delight blog.

What do YOU think:

Is there more than one way to make a film?

Do we have the right to do untraditional things in filmmaking and then share them with other filmmakers?

Is it wrong if it works for you and your audience?



Anonymous said...

Hey Anthony,

I read that post man! Just insane. I hate to call people names, but there are so many "snobs" in this profession.

My personal perspective is one of opportunity. Flim due to its sheer cost to make has always been something out of the reach for certain people.

I'm so grateful that technology has advanced enough to make a DIY environment possible.

That's my two,


Anthony Q. Artis said...