Before the Lights, Camera, Action

Well, the good thing about film is that everybody has watched a movie and understands what is going on. Film is a universal language we innately know how to “speak.” Although someone might not have a technical understanding or the right vocabulary to describe all of the behind the scenes stuff, like the name for each shot, or what type of lens does what, one can still watch something and pinpoint specific artistic choices that affected the way they understood and empathized with the story. The basics are there. This ultimately makes my job easier, because usually people outside of the film-world are less interested with how I tell the story. They want to know what the story is and why it is compelling. When describing my work, I try to speak to the big picture of the film. I like to speak of the themes, or I may try to compare it to another person’s work so they understand the tone, style, and, format.

To better explain why it is important to make such a film, usually I say that it is filling a gap within the overall film canon. Perhaps the way I make a film will have a blend of topics that have not been represented before in the style less common than what is typically seen in documentaries. When describing the types of films I like to make sometimes I say that they are similar to something such as Agnes Varda, Anthony Bourdain, or Chris Marker would make. In a way I want to emulate their honesty, authenticity and integrity to the form of film. I try not to describe the more creative and theory based aspects because that only impacts me when I’m choosing how to film and my decisions during editing process. It is however, very helpful to speak of this to other film students or professors. When describing my project to people outside of film I think of the story or narrative I’m trying to discuss and how they can see it being important to me as a filmmaker and why it may be important for them to watch as an audience member. It’s almost like when you go to see a movie you really liked and then you explain it to your friend why they should go see it. 

Documentaries can be about anyone and anything. As a filmmaker you have to be willing to interact with anyone who may be able to help expand your story. Essentially you have to believe that every single person you encounter has a story to tell you– and they do. You’re here to investigate the world, your camera is your third eye, and you must be true to that. Professionally I would like to make documentaries for a living, or at least make a film that impacts somebody and have it mean something to them. In the future I would like to go to grad school for film production so part of what I have to understand is how to represent myself as a filmmaker.  I have to be more aware of my strengths and weaknesses and also what it is I want to add to the film world or someones production. Regardless, one group outside of film that may be helpful to communicate with are those for funding. Then I will try my best to apply my aforementioned strategies, and present my work in the best way possible.

Women with a movie camera | The pictures | Sight & Sound | BFI

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