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 Filmmaking & Videography 
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:23 am
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Post Filmmaking & Videography
A friend of mine is convinced he's working in "the industry". The industry being the filmmaking/entertainment world. He's worked with small-time local actors, he's been on "sets", he's got access to a lot of equipment. He works for a small multimedia company, and on the side he has his own "production" company. He's constantly getting on me about how he's been working in the industry and how I should stop wasting my time at my current day-job and do what he's doing. And while I agree I need to stop wasting time at my current job, I strongly believe that he might be a little confused as to what the industry is. Or rather, what my goals are and what I'm ultimately trying to do.

I've recently secured a small acting gig, something that pays well and has potentially a lot of exposure involved. This is my first time doing this sort of thing and I'm excited to see where it goes. My friend tells me I'm going about it the wrong way, how I'm better off making my own movies. While I agree to a certain extent, I could say the same thing about what he does. Instead of working on 3D demos for military contractors or advertisements for Jewish institutions, I think he's probably better off doing what he's telling me to do, which is make my own movies. I figure we're both out to achieve the same goal, but we're just going about it in different ways.

What I would like is to see a clear definition of what a filmmaker and a videographer are. In my head, I'm an aspiring filmmaker. I'm set out to tell stories and entertain, not really advertise or sell anything. To me, my friend seems to be more like a videographer, doing side-jobs for the above mentioned military contractors and Jewish institutions. I'm not badmouthing either one. I'm just looking for a little clarification and want to see what you all think. What are the differences between a filmmaker and videographer?

Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:18 pm
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Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:09 pm
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Post Re: Filmmaking & Videography
You've spelled it out pretty well - in general a videographer is someone who works professionally making videos - promotional, training, wedding, etc - for hire, and for other people. A filmmaker is someone who makes their own projects to entertain an audience. They aren't mutually exclusive and there's significant overlap between the two, and the reality is even if your primary goal is to entertain an audience the economics of filmmaking mean you need to be selling something - yourself, your films, entertainment, etc.

You also have to differentiate between being in the filmmaking industry and being a filmmaker. There are thousands of people who make their living in the filmmaking industry ever year, and very very few of them are filmmakers themselves.

But I don't think any of that has much to do with whether you're wasting your time or not. That's entirely dependent on your personal goals. If you aren't doing stuff regularly to move you closer to those goals then, yeah, you're wasting time. But having a job that pays the bills can be part of that, whether it directly relates to what you want to be doing long term or not. Maybe especially if it doesn't relate too closely - I've mentioned this before around here but doing full-time professional videography for a few years essentially killed my energy for filmmaking and I didn't come back to it for 5-6 years.

Now If your long term goal really is to be a filmmaker then I think you're both right - the only way you can do that is by making films. Everyone wants to be a filmmaker, and anybody can become a filmmaker these days. Few people actually do. Fewer still keep doing it until they become good filmmakers - it's a long game now. The general rule of thumb is it takes 5,000 hours of practice to really master a discipline. The top people in most fields have double that by the time they reach the top - that's 3 hours of practice a day for a decade. So if you really want to be a good filmmaker, and you want an objective way to know if you're wasting your time, the real question is - are you currently averaging 3 hours a day of practice towards that goal?


Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:22 pm
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Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:32 pm
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Post Re: Filmmaking & Videography
Videographer is generally a video producer for hire - commercials, events, industrials, music videos, etc.

Film making, in my opinion, just denotes a teller of stories through motion picture - whether it's a narrative or documentary.

The big question comes down to whether you want to be part of the industry. Whether or not you want to play a more compartmentalized role on a film projects. As a film maker, whether or not you want to deal with traditional distribution obstacles and people (lawyers, agents, distributors, etc). Whether or not you want to play by the established rules as a producer, or director, or stuntman. This goes for hollywood and indy films - that differentiation is usually just a matter of budget. I guess what it comes down to for me is traditional film-making approach (investors, established crew roles, traditional marketing, the distribution industry) versus non-traditional (crowd-sourcing, self-sold, web-friendly, guerrilla marketing, social media communities).

There are pros and cons to the industry for film makers. Pros being union-protected paychecks and filming conditions. Big crews that delegate the work. Proper budgets from investors. Cons include middlemen meddling with a film maker's vision. An outdated and frustrating distribution system. Having lots of suits & gatekeepers between a film maker and their audience. Giving up a lot of control and rights to the product.

I do have friends that are very proud of making a living in the film industry as grips and gaffers. It's a fine job in my opinion. A couple years ago I decided to pursue the only path I could live with - pursuing film as a hobby instead of a career, so I could follow my instincts instead of "industry" advice. Maybe one day film can be a career for me, but as a film maker I don't really like the traditional system - so I'd be looking for a new way to make it profitable.

Also I do have couple friends that dabble in both, taking paycheck work on traditional shoots, and making their own stuff on the side.

Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:17 pm
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Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2009 5:49 pm
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Location: Newcastle, Australia
Appropriating Film culture is purely from social pressure biting at our egos, because it's aware that digital video can undermine it.
Where once there was a culture that was only for the privileged, there's now one that's for everybody.
But making movies is still making movies no matter how high a pedestal people try to place it on. The wankers doing that are just culture vultures that limit our thinking.
Art has and always will be about communication, the end result and the people you make it for matter more than social definitions.
It's the same old shit animators have put up with for years, and it applies just as much to people like us using DV.
I call it Moviemaking myself since it's just making moving pictures. And I make points like this all the time to stay clear on what I'm doing and to help make it clear for other people on what I do.

Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:30 pm
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Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:23 am
Posts: 68
Post Re: Filmmaking & Videography
Thanks for clearing this up for me guys. I’m not trying to bash the industry or videographers. I just wanted a clearer understanding of the differences between filmmaking and videography. Working in the industry seems to be a whole different beast, but for now I’d just like to stick with doing with what I want to do as a hobby and see if that eventually takes me anywhere. My friend can stick to doing industrials and events and whatever the fuck he wants to do. This just gives me a little peace of mind.

Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:21 pm

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:03 pm
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Post Re: Filmmaking & Videography
Hi! I need some advice! I do Taekwondo ITF and WTF, and hawe 10 years practiced boxing. Me and my friends wanna make a nice fighting scene. All what we need we hawe it. But i dont know how can we do blood in the scene. When i punch in the face, i need to see some blood. How can we do that?

Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:12 pm
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Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:18 pm
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Location: Xi'an City, China
Post Re: Filmmaking & Videography
When i punch in the face, i need to see some blood. How can we do that?

You're better starting a new thread, rather than spamming this one with something unrelated to this topic.

There are ways you can achieve blood on the face but you need to be clever with your camera angles and cutting - so the blood is there for one angle (the second one) but not there for the first angle - and cut quickly between the two. Film it from opposite angles.

Graeme Noble
Noble Brothers Productions
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Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:59 pm
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Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:19 pm
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Post Re: Filmmaking & Videography
A filmmaker makes movies (short or feature length.) A videographer gets paid to shoot for TV, commercials, music video, weddings, film, etc. Mostly the camera work.

For example you wouldn't film only commercials and be called a filmmaker. As a filmmaker you might have to: edit, shoot, direct, finance, produce, lock locations, cast actors, etc. Videographer is usually specifically for working camera, but they also edit and can direct. For example a videographer who creates a music video for a local band, they would be working camera and still directing the band. You wanted a clear cut definition so at the risk of over simplifying, a filmmaker in general works more like a director on set. The videographer is more like the cinematographer on set. Though thats a big simplification since at times they have other responsibilities in common especially at the indie level.

Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:03 pm

Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2009 12:22 am
Posts: 116
Location: Karlstad, Sweden
Post Re: Filmmaking & Videography
Warning: below text might seem a bit bitter :P

I think some people who are really videographers tend to call themselves filmmakers because it makes them sound more important. Seriously. About six months back I got a job at a local production company as a videographer/editor. The company has been around for 29 years (!) and the founder and owner (now almost sixty years old) still believes he is a filmmaker (and if you ask him, he would probably say that he's one of the top filmmakers in Sweden), even though the only "films" he's made during these three decades are (local) commercials and instruction videos for welding companies such as ESAB. We were out on a shoot in a garage some months back, and when asked about the company he referred to it as a Film Studio - even though the company only consisted of five (now four) people, working in a cramped office. He is, of course, a videographer - and even a subpar one at that - but he's entirely sure that he's a filmmaker, and a big-shot in the film industry.
I think that the difficulty separating the two words are because of people like that, who either knowingly or unknowingly confuse the
terms to feed their own delusions of grandeur.

Needless to say I quite the job, just like all the other videographers working under him before me.

I would call myself a filmmaker, since I make films, but I'm certainly not 'in the industry' since I only do it as a hobby for now.

Also, please note that I don't look down on videographers at all - only jerks.

Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:00 am

Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:19 pm
Posts: 92
Post Re: Filmmaking & Videography
I like this post because it shows that a videographer is not by default a filmmaker. I mean if he was a videographer/cinematographer who directs or produces, then by way of semantics he could technically be called a filmmaker. However it just sounds like this guy is a cinematographer who wants to be thought of as more. So he adds the title filmmaker to himself to sound more important or artsy. *shudders*

Another thing you've touched on is how pretentious or cocky some people in the industry are. I was very surprised at how sneaky some people in the industry are. I already know there are some people like that, that I will eventually be working with in the future. It's kinda sad.

Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:41 pm
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