ARTISTRY WITH THE TOOLS
by Michael Chasin
Skilled artists will use many tools to create their visual story, such as:
- The typewriter—to construct the screenplay
- The 16mm camera—to film the action
- The moviola—to edit the film
These basic tools have proven to be highly effective in creating great movies.
Just look at any of the hundreds of great films up through the 1970’s—all written on typewriters and edited on moviolas.
View 2008’s The Wrestler or 2010’s Black Swan—and you will see the continued power of the 16mm camera.
Nevertheless, technology has, of course, transformed these basic tools into high functionality instruments.
Typewriters have progressed to word processors to personal computers to sophisticated screenwriting software that has digitized the scared scene index card.
Film cameras have given way to digital cameras—from hundred thousand dollar professional grade to the video camera that is a standard feature of a smart phone.
The manual moviola has been replaced by high functionality digital editing software—and lesser software, also a standard feature of a smart phone.
Yet given this amazing leap of technological prowess, there is still—a seemingly endless supply of new, horrible movies.
As Bart Tau, acclaimed Director of Photography of Burn Notice, recently commented, “The camera is only a tool. It’s what you do with it.”
You can write your script on a napkin or networked software; shoot on a camcorder or 4K camera; edit on a smartphone or sophisticated software.
What does matter—is your artistry—in using that tool.
So make movies—with the tools you have in hand.