>thinking & making & thinking

>Some unformed thoughts on the relationship between film criticism and film making, followed by a shameless plug.

Here’s the theory:
I am convinced it is good that those who think & write about films & filmmaking (including video/tv production) should also have some hand in actually doing the “making”; not in the specific film beings critiqued, but in the general process of filmmaking. My thought is this: Filmmaking is a complex craft, often collaborative and impossible to grasp all at once. The end product of filmmaking, the film, is also complex and impossible to grasp all at once. One has to focus on parts and try to related them to wholes. By dealing with the filmmaking process one may become more sensitive to the multiplicity of signifiers (to throw in a little semiotics) up there on the screen.

The interplay between the making and what is made is a fascinating topic, but that is not my point here. I believe that to be a good critic it may be helpful, not necessary but helpful, to have been a part of the process of solving the kinds of problems faced by filmmakers. I say not “not necessary” because any film under scrutiny must be taken as it is regardless of its means of production or even the intention of the filmmaker. The critic must attend to the film before her/him. However, production brings one closer the fact that filmmaking is a very human endeavor.

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide an example here of any “better than typical” criticism by someone who has also done significant production. So maybe my idea is bunk.

But I have to say production (film or video) is a hoot.

Now for my own shameless plug:
Years ago I used to make my living with film and television production. I have always wanted to get back into it, but for various reason have not.

Recently, however, I had the privilege of “tagging along” on the crew of a recent video production – I handled script continuity and took a number of production photos. The video is called All Sales Final and it was part of the 2006 National Film Challenge – The Premise: Participating teams have just one weekend to write, shoot and edit a short film or video. To make things interesting, each team is given a genre for its film, and a character, prop and line of dialogue that must appear in each team’s movie.

The National Film Challenge: http://www.filmchallenge.com/index.htm

You can see my production photos here:

All Sales Final

2 thoughts on “>thinking & making & thinking

  1. >One of the reasons why I like Roger Ebert is because, unlike a number of critics, he actually has been involved in the filmmaking process (in particular, he wrote the screenplay to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls).

  2. >Damian, I was thinking of Roger E. when I wrote the post – no only him – but I do remember that he wrote that screenplay. It is also one of the reason I like Paul Schrader even though I don’t alway agree with him.

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