Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Content First. Tech Second!

In my filmmaking/moviemaking/content creating career, I've become aware of a distinct type of creator that values tech above everything.  Even the actual creation of something is second to having just the right equipment, or just the right software.  To these tech-nuts, it's an obsession that critically interferes with the creative process.   The tools are more important than anything else.   I've seen careers at a standstill for a perceived lack of "proper" equipment.

I remember one individual who had an entire studio and all of its equipment at his disposal for a couple of months - no strings attached.  He didn't take advantage of the opportunity.  Why?  They studio didn't have quite the right type of camera - and if he couldn't use that camera, he thought, what's the point of creating anything? The camera he wanted to use, by the way, was far out of his financial ability to rent.  Instead making the most of a substantial "grant,", he sat on his hands and let the opportunity pass him by, thinking the facility at hand far below his talents.  The chance to create content wasn't enough.

Once, I judged a documentary competition in which one of the submitted films was an incredible story of Bosnian and Serbian kids camping together away from the then-war zone.  It was a powerful, moving film - and it was shot with simple Sony Handycams.

I used to obsess about going to every tech seminar and convention - but I'm more selective now.  If you're in this to create, rather than operate equipment, you have to set priorities.   It's as if a writer spent most of her time attending book-binding conventions...

That's one of the things I love about the YouTube vibe - it's not based so much on equipment, but on content.  At it's best, there's some great storytellling with the simplest tools.  Of course, as there are horrible movies with the most expensive moviemaking technology, the same is even more common at the other end of the spectrum....

But I get a great subversive thrill at seeing YouTubers create great work with whatever is at hand.  Stuck "Professional" filmmakers, I think, can learn something from YT.

Content First.  Tech Second!

1 comment:

  1. As a consumer of content at all levels (and a sometime amateur content creator), I cheer your ranking of content over tech.

    When the first thing I hear about a movie is the tech, I scratch it off my "to see" list. Avatar? All I kept hearing about was the years (and dollars) it took to develop just the right technology to shoot it. When I'd ask about the story, they'd say, "Not so much."

    Meanwhile, I think of pictures from Return Of The Secaucus Seven to Transamerica and they're all about story. It's films like these why I've spent so much of my life in darkened theaters.