Friday, October 10, 2014

What's the Point?

At a certain point during the 4 hour Prerequisites shoot last night (in which we forced Canon to dress up as a clown and pull 3 takes worth of colored paper out of his mouth), I paused for a moment and asked myself what I was doing there. Why would I voluntarily put myself in the position of organizing, directing, and otherwise running a six-episode ICTV production when I was already taking 16 credits worth of classes? What kind of masochistic, deranged person would do that to themselves? And, come to think of it, why did I want to be a part of the film/TV industry in the first place? Everyone that I've talked to, all the advice that I've been given up to this point, has all more or less warned me about the difficult and relentless pace of Hollywood. It sounds, to be blunt, fucking awful.

So then I got into a little bit of a funk, barraging myself with self-criticisms and convincing myself that my show, which I've spent a good 9 months on, would turn out to be a piece of shit, with a cast and crew who hates me for wasting their time and who will never voluntarily work with me again. 

This post is not about Bob's Burgers.
It was kind of a dark place. 

That, in turn, lead me to ask this question: does film matter? Is the source of 90% of my stress something that I should be stressing about at all? I could be studying medicine right now, or physics, or literally anything else that would allow me to contribute to the world more than I already am. I watch episodes of Bob's Burgers and call that "studying." So. What's the point of it all?

I'd love to say that I have a definitive answer to that question, but that's not really the case. However, since a purely whiny blog post would kind of suck, I did a little googling and found a really cool collection of quotes about why film matters. And it was actually pretty inspiring. The full study/article can be found here. (It's got lots of pictures, it's definitely worth a read) 

The study is basically a collection of interviews with prolific filmmakers giving their opinions on why film actually matters. The answers range from the inevitably annoying (film is art, and like, without art, what are we really) to the thought provoking (my favorite quote being "as long as we continue to enjoy the peculiar sensation of gathering with a bunch of strangers in a darkened theatre, film will still matter.")

The biggest thing this article reminded me of, however, was that film is entertainment, and human beings actually yearn to be entertained. It's a form of escapism: as Gabriel Solomons says, "film matters because it has the power to connect us to a world outside of our own, even if the only traveling we do is from our sofa." Film, like any good novel or piece of artwork, allows us to escape from our every day lives and just be entertained. There's no effort, no immense amount of concentration required. Films can do something as simple as make us laugh or fascinate us visually, or they can present us with ideas and concepts that stick with us for the rest of our lives. A good film will do all of these things simultaneously.

So maybe this whole post was for my own self-satisfying benefit, but long story short, that's why film matters. If you ever find yourself in my position, desperate for some sense that what you're doing is actually somewhat important, don't give up hope. Take a deep breath, step off-set for a minute (or a week) and have faith that what you're doing matters. Movies are always there for you when you need a break, and hey: someone's gotta make them. 

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