Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Why You Need to Learn to Film By Yourself

Robert Rodriguez once said, "If you're just creative, you'll always have to rely on technical people. If you're creative and technical, you're unstoppable." I’ve learned that lesson the hard way many, many times. Technical skills was where I was weakest for a long time, and that disqualified me from a lot of opportunities.

Basically this is my humble pie post. Or, one of my humble pie post. Well, basically this entire blog is my humble pie post. Basically my whole life is one meal of humble pie after the other. It's amazing I've kept this great figure.

There was one time I was hanging out at one of my friend’s comedy shows. A comedian friend of his walked in and talked about how she needed someone to film one of her shows for a reel. My friend told her that I was good at filming and recommended me. It was a paying gig and she offered it to me if she could see my stuff.

I showed her the stuff I did, but she wasn’t sure she should take me because what I shot wasn’t well lit and I wasn’t able to mic up the audience. Lighting and sound were things I wasn’t very good at at the time and I knew it. We talked about it but I told her she should probably find someone else. I felt bad, not just for myself, but for my friend Robert, because he had recommended me.

Why was I weak at this stuff? Partly, I was too busy, I was at an academically strenuous college, was running the filmmaking club, and dealing with family stuff. And technical stuff is not something I am naturally gifted at. It was easier to specialize in the creative side and the organizing side of film and outsource the technical side to most of my projects.

But the problem is nobody needs somebody else creative or with ideas. They have ideas. They need editors, cinematographers to bring their ideas to life. That is what you will get paid for and that is what is going to get your foot in the door with people who can help you later.

The other problem is that—until you pay people—you can’t always get people to do stuff for you. On my first film I had to be cinematographer some days because my other guys didn’t show up. You need to be able to do that yourself when you have to in a pinch. I have had the worst time finding editors who could make the deadlines I needed. That’s nobody’s fault. They had opportunities to do actual paying work and had to put that stuff first. But I wasn’t able to pick up that slack.

Bottom line: learn to do stuff your freaking self. Don’t give yourself excuses. There is a thing called youtube that has tutorial videos. It is a beautiful thing. Use it. Love it. Live it.

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