Things have been a little crazy here lately and I have a ton of cool things to share with you in the near future but for right now, I’d like to step up on my soapbox for just a minute…
I’m a huge proponent of professional training. I went to media college, albeit a private vocational college with a 5 month intensive program, to learn my craft despite coming in with a background in photography and live audio as a musician. I consider myself fortunate that I entered college with a solid base of knowledge that allowed me to build my knowledge base faster than a lot of my classmates who were starting from near-zero.
The fact that I already understood concepts such as exposure, how shutter speed affects motion and depth of field meant that while everyone else was working on that I could be reading ahead and getting extra time in on the technology.
After media college I had a voracious appetite for reading trade periodicals and technical manuals. As the name of my first video production company states, I became a Gearhead.
The startling thing for me these days is that folks are actively dismissive of formal education, with such websites as NoFilmSchool being big proponents of the Do-It-Yourself business model.
I’ve always said that “Anyone who is completely self taught has a fool for a teacher”, a mis-take on the old proverb “He who undertakes to be his own teacher has a fool for a pupil”.
Making moving pictures, whether as a filmmaker or as a working videographer is no different, in my not-so-humble opinion. I’m seeing an increasing number of folks who have entered the discipline with a patent disregard and hatred for the concept of industry specific training. I feel we are rapidly losing the requisite knowledge to do things properly. To be fair, the film schools haven’t been doing that great a job in communicating the need for industry specific training either; in fact, increasingly schools are taking an “okay… what do YOU want to learn today” approach instead of providing a solid foundation to build on in order to stay in business.
Too much emphasis is put on rewarding the DIY’ers and not enough on recognizing the pillars of our community who share their extreme wealth of knowledge openly and at no charge on web forums.
I came across an egregious example of this phenomenon this morning on a web forum I used to participate on but asked to be removed from their user base due to this exact type of rhetoric.
The community has tried to come to the aid of a fellow user who is struggling with a very frustrating phenomenon common to all lenses, but one that is easily overlooked in the mainstream.
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions but when folks with far more knowledge than I possess offer to share that knowledge with me at no cost and obligation, I listen!
One of the things that sets me apart from my peers these days is that I fully acknowledge what I don’t know and constantly try to better my knowledge of all aspects of my industry, not just the hottest new gadgets or the newest Search Engine Optimization techniques. There is no easy and quick way to be a superior motion picture maker. Read lots, talk to others who know more than you, shoot lots of footage, make lots of mistakes and learn from them.
But most of all, know what you don’t know and listen to those who know more than you do.
It may hurt your pride in the short term but you look like less of an idiot in the long run.
As my refugee grandmother used to say in her Old World Wisdom (and broken English):
“No one falls from Heaven what knows everything”.
Thanks for reading!