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October 8 at 8:15am

Do We Know What We Learned From Our Film Experiences?

By Ted Hope

I have been doing a fair amount of interviewing lately.  I need to staff up as part of my new mission.  Team building is an art, but it’s been awhile since I had to put one together that would last.  It’s a bit different when you staff up for a film.  Sure a feature is a long distance run, but it is not a marathon.  I would like to find the folks I will be with for a very long time in San Francisco.  Luckily for me, there is a pretty great group already in place, but there are still some vacancies.

Interviews have become a sort of standard fodder for humor in film.  Perhaps that is a legacy from TRAINSPOTTING…  As a result every time I ask one of those standard issue questions I feel like I am mocking myself.  Still though they are useful.  But the real hypocrisy is that I probably can not answer them myself.  I do think each movie I have made so far has changed me, but I am not sure if I can name how.

It strikes me that we would all be better filmmakers if we tried to name what we learned from each of our movies.  There are definitely some lessons that rise above the others, but I am not sure I have dug down deep enough with each film.  I think it is time I looked a little closer.  Stay tuned for some posts in the future as I examine the past.

It strikes me further that there are probably a host of other such self-examinations that could benefit filmmakers as a whole.  Any suggestions?

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  1. Paul Bright / Oct 8 at 8:15am

    After a light panel blew over and smashed to shards I asked my cinematographer why he was always so calm even when expensive disasters happened on set. He said, “When you hold your comrade in your arms as he dies you realize nothing else is that important.”

    We’re making movies. There’s no cause for crisis.

  2. Sky / Oct 8 at 8:15am

    I agree it s is very easy to be so enmeshed in the melee of writing, making and marketing your film and the inevitable next project or timeout/melt down that follows a projects completion that self-examinations some times are not as in-depth as we could wish to grow our skill-sets.

    This idea of creative self examination leads me to filmmakers like Krystof Kieslowski who used each project to lay out the pathway to the next. We can clearly see in the ‘Dekalog’ films and the ‘Double Life of Veronique’ and his published conversations that he was testing and dry running skills, incites and tools which he would then use in the Three Colors films.

    If we are to grow our projects it is important to be able to judge wether we seceded in meeting our intended goals with each production. one good way of doing this is seeting separate benchmarks of Creative, Financial and Audience achievement at the beginning of the project and reevaluating these on the projects Completion, Screenings and Distribution.

    By doing this we can see wether we have achieved these goals and also what new incites and experiences have been gained and allow these to be articulated for use in future projects.

    It can be really surprising what comes out of considering these aspects I know that from my own experiences that each project lifts directly from this process of self examination which asks what did I get right, what did I get wrong and what did I learn that was unexpected.

  3. Jason Love / Oct 8 at 8:15am

    I have a similar experience as Sky. I usually go into a project with a purpose beyond the story itself. That way when I get bored or disenchanted with the project I can fall back on the purpose I am trying to accomplish to keep me motivated to finish.

    -Jason Love

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