Old-School/New-School

Mine is the last analog generation.   As film students, we were still very much film students, complete with the sliced knuckles that come from using guillotine splicers in the middle of the night.  I am pleased to say that I once managed to draw blood editing with an AVID, but that’s also because I still have a manual typist’s touch on any keyboard I encounter.  Hard to believe even that was nearly 20 years ago, when non-linear editing and AVID saved Apple before Apple figured out that they could also be in the post business and then damn near handed AVID its hat.

It’s not original to observe that the means of production, promotion, and distribution have transformed our industry; and while it sounds like sour grapes to describe anything as a young person’s business, I think it’s fair to say that the new paradigm favors youth.  Certainly, it favors anyone who has the energy and the freedom to be producer, creator, and PR department simultaneously — and all on spec for as long as it takes to make some noise.  A close and old friend just looked at the gone Elvis FB Page and asked me, “What?  Now, you’re chasing the dream?”  When I told a different friend in LA that I intend to get back in the game, he said, “There’s nothing like being forced to do what you wanted to do in the first place.”

This latter comment is pretty damn close to the truth.  I spent more years than I’d intended using what I know a about filmmaking to produce a lot of corporate and marketing videos — so many years that I began to believe I had probably killed the artist.  But as the economy kept turning from bad to worse, it became clear that a full-fledged transition to theatrical filmmaking would be my only hope for survival, let alone happiness.  I don’t have a backup plan; I’m a lousy carpenter.

I grew up in L.A. and around the movie business but had to run away from it for reasons I won’t discuss.  But over the last several months, as I began writing again, began looking for projects, the people who have come out of the woodwork, both old friends and new, who have responded with support, encouragement, and wisdom have been invaluable.  This recent endeavor, embarking on a Kickstarter campaign to solicit donations from both friends and strangers to make a low-budget, short film is anathema to my upbringing and training.  If we are successful, I hope that I can earn the trust and, perhaps, offer some old-school observations along the way for anyone who might be interested.

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2 thoughts on “Old-School/New-School

  1. But you know, those of us that come from that analog generation – FILM students. We were taught to be auteurs. We were taught to load a camera and fix a script and remix sound effects while directing actors and making sandwiches. We got COMPLETE educations and were quadruple threats to those students who went to fake film schools, where people touched a camera for 1 week in their 4 years.

    I agree, I wish we got taught some PR savvy at the same time – but the guts of storytelling are our stomping grounds.

    Having taught film in a number of respected undergrad film schools in NYC, I can attest to the fact that the emphasis is on a portfolio creation, about winning awards with fluff and bluster and attempts at visual effects. The emphasis is not on storytelling. I made my students write something short every week (in spite of the dean telling me I was crazy and completely inappropriate to do this in a film school). Their grammar was terrible, but they did it and enjoyed it, and grew from it.

    The digital age has brought more than technology – it has shifted film’s emphasis towards the gloss of stylized color-correction, to using a soundtrack to create meaning when it does not exist in the script/story, to mistaking the weird-for-weird’s-sake for brilliant.

    There’s something to be said for doing something straight down the middle, really well. It takes courage. I would offer that courage comes with age, with experience. It accumulates and then bubbles over the rim with projects like gone elvis.

    don’t look back.

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