Imagine an idiot. Now imagine an idiot trying to work a shotgun. Don’t worry, it’s a regular old analog shotgun. There aren’t any fancy touchscreens on it. Oh look, he’s looking down the barrel now. Why does every hypothetical idiot always do that?
Thankfully this imaginary idiot couldn’t figure out how to work the shotgun so no one was harmed. But if this idiot had a digital shotgun 16 human beings would be dead. Because digital shotguns are cheap and have no warmth and texture to their image…I mean they’re cheap and make it too easy for idiots to do damage.
Proponents of the “digital revolution”, a revolution that will only be televised since theaters will no longer exist, often talk about the ease of digital film making and in truth, and by experience I can tell you, it is much easier. But so what? I don’t necessarily want it to be all that easy. Why? Because there are important lessons that were learned with film! Hell most every masterpiece in existence was made on 35mm…or 16mm. These were hard fought for lessons buttressed up by millions of miles of lost, damaged, or just plain old unusable footage.
But really, if you want the skinny on why it’s bad, you dummy, then you should just read this: http://www.laweekly.com/2012-04-12/film-tv/35-mm-film-digital-Hollywood/
Scary, no? Just think of what will happen to costly pain in the ass digital preservation in the hands of the cheap-ass studios of the future. I feel true sorrow for the budding film enthusiast of 2035 who will, hopefully be able to, read about Preston Sturges and when he or she tries to find his films just gets some A.I. emoticon saying, “Sorry, the film you are looking for no longer exists. Because we don’t give a shit about history. Would you like to watch the latest episode of Jersey Horders: The Challenge?”
But what really gives me fear (not really because I am fearless) is that this is a move towards film as disposable medium. The quick fix tissue paper entertainment! Come marvel at the latest crap made by people more interested in being famous than expressing themselves by way of an intimate knowledge and appreciation of the language of an art form! Come one and all to this tepid display of digital know-how-not! The mirror art used to hold up to humanity has become a fun house mirror! And it’s so much easier!
Is anything easy really worth doing? If it’s easier to make a movie will that translate into a better movie? Or am I even thinking about that when I’m watching a movie? No. I’m just receiving what the filmmakers are putting out and, hopefully, being entertained by it. So really does process matter at all or is it just the end result?
Of course process matters you dummy! If you are just burning 1’s and 0’s who gives a shit? Burn them! Just keep filming without any consideration of what is being filmed! So that when you get into editing you can look at the four wide shots you have, the shots that convinced you you had enough when you were filming because it felt like you did, and curse yourself for being an undisciplined fool! And if you think that people can still exercise discipline with digital then you suddenly have a lot more faith in humanity than you did when you were cursing at the guy who cut you off this morning, or at the old lady in line in front of you who was trying to pay with pennies and was one penny short. Remember?! You know you don’t actually have that faith in mankind! But when it comes to something like this our immediate reaction is, “Oh fuck you! It’s new! And new is better! You old foggy. Nostalgia! (fart noises)” I love whenever nostalgia is invoked as a negative in this type of debate (is this a debate?). It’s like bringing up Hitler in an argument, it pretty much puts the kibosh on any sort of exchange of ideas.
But I will admit, I am a digital filmmaker. Ah! The shame! But I make short films and for that purpose digital is great! Now we have access to make films that actually don’t look all that bad, to show off our talents to the world (51deep.com …go there…please!) And! We can learn the hard lessons too. The lessons that strengthen that muscle, you know, the one that allows you to conceptualize something and then actualize it relatively in the form you wanted with the impact you hoped for. If it wasn’t for digital cameras there wouldn’t be 74 movies at 51deep.com and if you are saying, “Man I wish” then fuck you you jerk. Where are your movies? Huh? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
So what is going to happen is film will be no more, studios won’t give a shit about preserving the history that, without which, they wouldn’t be in the position to fuck everything up that they are in now, and kids will grow up not going to theaters. Because if a theater is just a giant TV then why should I leave my already pretty big TV at home? It’s got a pause button. I can pee thanks to it. So studios are rushing to make sure that entertainment is once again in the hands of people because the Internet will make them obsolete. And at the same time ensuring that what they offer is in no way discernible from a much cheaper easier at-home entertainment. You know?…the glamor of Hollywood? That sense of importance? Gone because (to be read in a little kid voice) “Aww, it too ‘spensive. I want candy.” Good job you babies! No wonder you don’t know who I am. Dummies.
But really all this doomsday prophecy is silly. In order for a cultural apocalypse to truly take place humanity would need to stop producing geniuses. And while too much Internet and screens and whatnot might make it seem like we have, in fact, we have not. And I’m more than positive that future geniuses will discover this form, will Cronenberg-like merge their flesh with its gears, and make great films. It will happen, don’t worry, it’s been happening for the last century so no reason it wouldn’t keep happening.
One last thing. If you are making a major Hollywood film on digital don’t call it film. Don’t say “Rolling” or “Speed”. Just say, “Are we recording?” And don’t say, “My new film will be out…” Instead say, “My new video will be available On Demand soon.” Now. Did that feel good?
And if you want REAL DIY Digital Filmmaking go To 51DEEP.COM for fuck’s sake! We make these things for free, it’s free! Fuck you! No ads! I repeat, NO. FUCKING. ADS!
Whoops. Went a little crazy there. Time to calm down.