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Jailbreak Filmmaking Through Art
Your passion for storytelling needs to be set free, and smartphone filmmaking is the way.
There is a constraint that comes with Hollywood filmmaking. It’s a bit of double jeopardy. On the one hand, you have funds galore and on the other, you have conditions which must be met. And those conditions, along with a formula—were set by the funding authority who is backing your film.
Art is a form of expression, and such is storytelling. The freedom to tell a great story without barriers in the best way possible is through film. But the cost of filmmaking makes it hard to bring the best stories to your audience.
The best stories?
Great stories are envisioned. Only you can realize your vision as only you see it. To set conditions to your story is a disservice to your voice. The voice you use to tell your story. Your art form.
Film has always been an art form. There are many elements that bring quality to your film. There’s a delicate balance between them.
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The art of filmmaking.
You first need to express your vision as a screenplay. The screenplay turns the vision of your story into a tangible roadmap. It leads the way to your film. It’s all there.
Your characters, the locations and filming sets where each scene takes place. Your tone and your story beats. The plot and the twists in your story that captivate your audience with character development, visuals and dialogue—music and sound.
Your screenplay and your vision inspire you to realize it. You have stars in your eyes. You have a dream. Then, with strategy, comes a pivoting point. Because you are either going to snuff your dream to make your film or you’re going to allow your passion to take over.
I know a thing or two about passion. It comes with a heaping spoon of stubbornness. Being stubborn is hard on people who want to help. They can’t have it. It’s you who has it. It will cause arguments and frustration.
Everyone who’s ever worked on set with a passionate director and cinematographer, also known as director of photography, has experienced it. Two directors butting heads over how to capture the magic of the vision in a scene, or a single shot.
All the pieces.
You hire a film crew that bends over backward to make the scene work as the director envisions it, because everyone knows about the pieces. Each shot is part of a scene. Each scene a part of a moment in the story. The importance of light and shadow and set design. The purpose of color and props. All of which play a role in telling the story.
Your story is like a carcass until you hire the talent and skill of actors to portray the characters in your story. The connection between the protagonists during their interaction in each scene, bringing the heart of the story to life. The actors give your story a connection to your audience. They make your story captivating in a personal way for each viewer.
Filmmaking is a bleeding work of passion.
It begins with hope and a dream. Soon, it becomes an open wound during production. A story being made into a film is the act of ripping it into pieces. You tear it apart and you put it back together as it’s transferred from the mind to your finished film, from preproduction through post-production.
Products are made for consumption. Art is experienced.
Passion generates an energy unlike any conventional action. It’s action with form and texture. It’s the difference between manufacturing and creation. Think of it like dancing. Dancing is movement with form and texture, and artistic expression.
I know passion like a friend I sometimes fear. Passion won’t let me take the easy path to get from here to there. In my journey through bringing mobile filmmaking as a means to turn stories to film for everyone with a phone (everyone), I’ve witnessed the reality of filmmaking in its raw artistic form.
Every filmmaker who is passionate about storytelling aims to make a work of art. For every filmmaker I’ve met in my journey, a desire to make a wonderful film has brought them to experiment using a smartphone camera.
They realize the best way to create art is to release their expression through the process. That only comes through ownership. Hollywood filmmaking doesn’t allow the filmmaker full ownership. Conditions and limitations come with deal-making and the end result is profits for them, but they are obstacles for the artist. Filmmakers are required to adapt their vision to fit a formula for a perceived profit.
Independent filmmaking can bring an increased sense of ownership when the camera cost, and the simplicity of using it, is less of a burden. Mobile filmmaking releases some of that burden.
How you set the art of filmmaking free is by allowing the magic of creativity to own how you make your film. Give yourself permission to be passionate, to dream, to realize your vision. Fund your own films. Pay everyone their worth.
Don’t pay the cost of expensive gear because you truly don’t need to. Instead, use your funds to pay the humans who will help you turn your vision into a great film. Putting the majority of your budget toward big cameras and equipment leaves less for your crew and actors.
If you watch the best films shot with smartphones, you’ll realize what made them great was the story and all the elements I mentioned above. You can achieve that, and your dignity in the process.
You can watch some of them on mobilefilmstories.com. Be inspired.
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