Don’t Be a Cookie Cutter Filmmaker

Yesterday I was listening to an episode of my favorite filmmakers podcast “Filmspotting.” On it co-host Matty “Ballgame” Robinson was interviewing Davis Guggenheim , the Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker behind “An Inconvenient Truth.” His latest film is “Waiting for Superman,” a gripping and dramatic documentary about America’s messed up educational system.¬† Besides the fact that his voice is very cool, he had one thing in particular to say that I think all of us as filmmakers, photographers, etc., should heed. Matty asked him what Davis thought about other “purist” documentarians who may question Davis’ use of animation or voice over in this current film. That it’s not purely a “documentary” when you do things like that. His response was that if you’re going to be a filmmaker, you can’t care about that. You can’t start listening to the voices of people who say you can’t do a certain thing. If you do, “you’re gonna make a dumb movie that someone else has already seen before.” He went on to ask, “How many Jennifer Aniston movies have you seen in the last few years, and how many of them were alike.” It’s not that it’s her fault, it’s the studios wanting to make a cookie cutter movie because that kind of movie tested well in the third quarter. It was so inspiring hearing him speak.

So. What are you doing to set your art apart? Are you listening to what others are telling you how your filmmaking or photography should be produced? Or are you boldly going where your muse decides to take you, damn what your critics and colleagues say. In the end, true art has to be an expression of YOU!

Click here to watch an interview with Davis.

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5 Responses to “Don’t Be a Cookie Cutter Filmmaker”

  1. Ah, good points. Was just having a discussion with someone the other day that it seems that Hollywood has no original ieas anymore. I mean, get this, the Cohen brothers are remaking True Grit. They're good at what they do. But, why remake an already great movie? With their talent they should be able to tell an original story.Anyhow, good to see your blog posts coming back online, Ron.

  2. Great to read this post Ron! This enforces a few thoughts i've had recently about my personal approach and style to wedding films. Always good to get a confidence boost now and again… that it's ok to follow my heart and make my own rules :) can't wait to meet Tasra in a few weeks!!

  3. Meg, I think you're the poster child now for “following your heart.” :)

  4. Great to read this post Ron! This enforces a few thoughts i've had recently about my personal approach and style to wedding films. Always good to get a confidence boost now and again… that it's ok to follow my heart and make my own rules :) can't wait to meet Tasra in a few weeks!!

  5. Meg, I think you're the poster child now for “following your heart.” :)

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