Ode to Film, the ultimate art!
Neither the Lumiere brothers nor Muybridge and his horse would ever guess at what a creature they made. From them and many others, especially women – the forgotten catalysts – audiences are given reason after reason to buy more popcorn.
It’s the ultimate art! Take any form of media ever created in the history of man. Writing, shadow puppetry, Phantasmagoria, theater, photography… these are just some of the many art forms combined into the great medium that sweeps audiences one blockbuster at a time. To enhance the art, science also plays a great role in it. Science was used to create the very technologies and tools used. This very practice proves that art needs science to produce new innovative views that no one has ever seen. It’s a beatific cycle.
With anything beautiful comes it’s complications too. Ode to film, the paradoxical world you’ve created that is as inviting as is exclusive. Cruel and addictive, you remain to be the Apple of Eden, daring me to make choices that will potentially effect my world forever.
Anybody can take a video of something nowadays but not everyone can make something worth relishing for generations to come.
Chaplin, Anderson, Ford, Tarantino, Ozu, Hitchcock, Anderson, Nolan, Lang, Kubrick, Coppola, Spielberg, Lucas, Welles, Kazan, Fincher, Lynch, and more. They have such an amazing eye for detail yet they’re not even close to completing the long list of names worth mentioning… I pray for the day that Volk becomes as putative as the rest.
In some ways, were all like bartenders (not the one from The Shining, of course). We find a glass, and constantly polish it even though it’s clean. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve polished that glass. We’re still going to do it. We do that with our craft. Our craft is never perfect. None of the names mentioned above had ever made one film and decided to call it a day. We polish that glass until the bar is closed and come right back to it the next day.
It’s persistence that we live by, but the magical moments we strive for. And yes, it’s cliche but the movie magic of it all is incredibly real. You feel it in moments where uncertainty is met with reality. You feel it when your cutting and formulating sequences onto a timeline in editing. You especially feel it when you’ve acquired a new bit of knowledge that forever changes your approach to the craft. In this field, epiphanies are met with elation.
This last year, I had the privilege of working with 16mm Bolex Reflex Cameras. Heavy 30 pound hunks of machinery with three lenses (wide, standard, and telephoto) screwed onto a rotating panel.. In the dark, we loaded spools of actual film into the claws of the chamber, fed the stream through until we were picture ready. We went outside with our light meters and cavalier mics and recorded practice shots in a well thought out scavenger hunt. We then upped the challenge into a narrative (in-camera editing), where we waited for the perfect moment – working with the unpredictability of nature – to capture our protagonist in the right light and sound.
When we saw what we created, after receiving it from special labs across the country that processed the ancient art from, my dreams began to feel far more real. My insecurities for my lack of knowledge were especially vindicated when the clicking of the proliferated film fed through the projector. Light consumed the blank flatness of the room and turned the blandness into the very images we sought after. It was beautiful. Between the specks of dust that shimmered in the space of light to the production we just completed, we watched in utter awe. We now understood why the past was so relevant. It was the very movie magic I’ve always dreamed of.
While this medium presents many rewarding moments, it also plays to a very cruel nature. Besides having an incredibly biased and immoral industry that backs it at times, entire technologies, styles, key moments in history, and careers are constantly forgotten or vitiated. The old becomes obsolete when audiences are manipulated through the industry’s “progress” to continue onto the next subject without considering the context. Sometimes realism is set aside purely for the pleasure. The mystery behind the industry is often shielded by jaded figures who practice greed on a regular basis. In order to be a director you have to be above this – when I get my break, I’ll be faced with a big decision requiring a high understanding of awareness: Do I play to the industry’s game or do I challenge it.
I truly do love it, though. I suppose part of me appreciates the flaws the way that a loved one appreciates the faults of their partner. I remember having to drive to Beverly Hills at roughly 7:00am three days a week last summer for my internship. I used Waze to navigate my way through the city to end up on winding hills and narrow streets met with colossal wealth around me. I saw the paralleled trees. I saw the glistening cars. I remained starstruck by the appallingly large houses. Each estate had somebody in them – worthy contenders to the life of entertainment. I knew I belonged there. As if the drive to create wasn’t enough, I wanted all of this as well. I made a ritual out of playing this song while driving into this perfectly molded scene every morning.
“I will talk and Hollywood will listen
See them bow at my every word
Mr. Spielberg look just what you’re missing
Doesn’t that seem a little absurd
Bow at my every word?”
-Robbie Williams in I Will Talk and Hollywood Will Listen
The adrenaline rush fueled me through the day at the office I worked. It is this energy that provided me with excellent grades in my film classes this fall.
Since that internship and the experiences from before, I have found myself coming up with theories of my own too:
As the sun sets on 2016, 2017 dawns with the promise of my thesis project hitting production stage. I will get the chance to work towards picture lock on a script I wrote called The Painter. It’ll be a heartfelt experience to work on something so meaningful and personal. With the same significance that these blogs contain, The Painter will hold just as much of me in it. As of now, it is my most important project yet.
And when we begin, and I yell, “Action!” it’ll be the satisfying feeling of a take that makes me exclaim, “Ode to film, I will thrive!”