Filmmaking / Directing : Filmmaking; art, craft or ? by Doug Nelson

Doug Nelson

Filmmaking; art, craft or ?

I’m not looking to start any arguments but I would like to start a conversation. I’m continually hearing newbie filmmakers refer to themselves as artists and based upon what I’ve watched – that just sort of rubs me the wrong way. The neophytes seem stingy in giving credit where credit is due. In filmmaking, I think a writer who initiates and shows a compelling story in a script is an artist. The Director who brings vision to that story is an artist. The actors who breathe life into the characters are artists. The cinematographer and editor certainly bring artistic talents to the project but I view the overall assembly as a complex craft overall What say?

Dave McCrea

Ok but if you think all those people are artists, who do you think are not artists? I agree the 1st AD and the gaffer are not artists, and I wouldn't imagine they call themselves such.

James Durward

In my mind the artists are the writer (first), the actors (second), the Director (third), the sound (fourth) and the cinematographer (fifth) (all of the aforementioned are REALLY important) - everything else is craft. JMO

Kindari O'Connor

Defining who is an artist is almost impossible to answer because it's subjective to each person. Some people feel a pile of candy on a pedestal is art. (This example is actually on display at a museum). Some people refuse to consider that as art. Syd Field said in one of his books that screenwriting is a craft that occasionally rises to the level of art. I've always liked that idea, and I think that sentiment works with many things. On the 'overall assembly as craft'... consider that the academy award for Best Picture goes to the producers responsible for getting the whole thing together, not the director, writer, actors, editor, or dop. Each person has their own perspective on this. My .02 is that most of the people directly involved are the artists. They are collaborators in the art form and they often are putting their own creative influence on whatever aspect they are doing. Film is unique in that beyond a very small project, you must collaborate with others to complete it. What matters more in the end (to me) is if the overall project is artistic or not in nature. Some would argue it is art by default (others would argue that no film is art, only the classical arts). Just a couple ideas; hope you find them useful!

Deryn Warren

Hmmm. Whether film making should be called art is subjective. I agree with Kindari's quote by Syd Field. But to CALL yourself an artist is another thing. Let someone else call you an artist. Calling yourself that is like saying you are compassionate or amazing. Let someone else call you that. Never say it about yourself.

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