The Fiction We Live

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The exponential growth of cinema as an entrainment medium owes much to the rapid acceleration of technology over the past half-century. Film has become a near-tangible dreamscape where modern society works out its cultural values and collective fantasies. Where history books record timelines and social movements, film has become the chronicle of our musings and contemplations.

Society has changed its relationship with film; what was spectacle is now a neatly packaged product that comes in various flavours and is immediately accessible. Cinema has become such a constant in our lives and has in some respects coloured our world-view to the point of creating a kind of fusion of reality and fantasy.

Film is many times idealism, and in this deliberate idealizing the world around we must consider the possibility that it has distorted our perceptions of what is real. Human relationships are a perfect example of this phenomenon; how many people now suffer emotionally because their social lives do not more-closely resemble “the movie life”? How many romantic relationships suffer due to fantasy-accelerated expectations? The meticulous artifice of cinema has confused us into thinking that our lives should play out similarly to what we see on the silver screen. We feel disappointed when it doesn’t.

This delusion seems to have also overtaken the movie business itself in many respects. The advent of the DVD era has cracked the profession of filmmaking wide open (perhaps by accident) by loading movie releases with additional content to get the market to legitimize the format. The standardization fo the “featurette” has given the viewers almost complete access to the craft and raised a new generation of “smart-fans” that discuss, critique, and dissect film like never before in its history. The flip-side of this coin is that in this exposing of the industry many people, including new filmmakers, have formulated romantic notions of what it is to work behind the camera.

Again, this is not a negative thing in of itself, only something that must be considered thoroughly because it can easily lead one to confuse making film and engaging in the filmmaking fiction. Both exercises will likely produce a film, but which approach is more likely to yield quality material?

If you are a filmmaker then take the time to consider how much more productive you may become if you let go of these Hollywood notions of writing, directing, and producing, and concentrate your energy on knowing exactly what these roles entail and how to do them in a way that will benefit your project the most.

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