A Dreamer Walking

A True Artist

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on August 19, 2011

Did you know I do not like Alfred Hitchcock very much? Yes that is right, I do not like the master of suspense. The thing is I am fine with calling Alfred the master of suspense. He has done some brilliant things with suspense. My favorite movie of his is Psycho. I was dreading every turn in that movie. Killing off the main character half way through the film was brilliant. You had no idea what was going to happen after that. Hitchcock could give you a fright like no one else in the film business. However, none of this stuff makes me think Hitchcock was a great filmmaker. I personally think he was a very shallow filmmaker. After watching Psycho I was ready to eat not think.

Hitchcock’s films never felt like they went very much farther then the movie theater. They were admirable from a filmmaking standpoint but not from a personal standpoint. His suspense and storylines all felt like a means to an end not a beginning. I was reviewing a interview the other day on the artist Ralf Eggleston. He is a art director at Pixar. He talked about the importance of getting the idea down. He explained if you are not doing your art for the idea and emotion but only to make it pretty, it is not worth your time. Even though he was talking about the art of animation in his interview I think what he says applies to filmmaking in general. It is not good enough to have one of the two. If we create a movie with a lot of emotions, like Hitchcock did, but there is no real idea behind your film it won’t be worth much. If you create a movie with a lot of good ideas but don’t get the audience emotionally involved, we won’t care. Filmmaking is about the emotion and idea. Only when it is about both the emotion and idea, does it stop being a “nice thought” or “pretty picture”, and become something that will impact generations.

Most filmmakers these days don’t need to worry about falling low on the “emotion” aspect of movie making. They have all the tools to take us on an emotional roller coaster ride. However, most of the emotions they give us are pretty shallow. They know how to give us magnificent action sequences, luxurious love scenes, and gut wrenching shock moments. However, the ride ends as soon as you leave the movie theater. Their films usually do not satisfy because they don’t make us think. The audience is not as stupid as most movies these days lead us to believe. We can think, we actually want to think. The great filmmakers know this and they create characters, stories, and worlds that can be explored far after the audience member leaves the theater. Painting should never be about just making something look pretty and neither should film. We should not do our job just to give the audience eye candy.

Filmmaking is a personal medium where the emotion and idea is everything. Your films will stand and fall based on the strength of the idea and how well you are able to connect your audience. You are not a great artist because you can draw a pretty picture. The piece of art does not need to be pretty, it needs to be impacting. A great artist is someone who can impact us through the picture he draws, paints, or films. I personally want to make films that impact and at times even change peoples lives.  A true artist is a servant to the idea not the audience. Just, usually the best way to express the idea is through entertaining the audience. The reason why I want to give the audience a piece of “entertainment” is so they can be open to the actual idea I am presenting. You want your films to be warm enough to have audiences feel they are allowed in. However, don’t show them everything they want to see. Show them something that will impact and challange their thinking. People go to the movies to see things they haven’t seen before. Our jobs as filmmakers and artists is to explore new ideas, show the audience new perspectives, and unlock their imagination.

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