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Illegitimate Media

When I started Microfilmmaker Magazine, I had folks immediately ask me, “Will it be a print magazine?” I would simply say, “No. We want this to be able to reach filmmakers all over the world. There are many places that can get internet, but can’t readily get mail.” When I would say this, most people would arch their eyebrows, as though to imply, “Then you’re not a legitimate magazine, are you? Legitimate magazines are in print. No reputable magazine would trust all their content to something as unreliable as the internet. Any fool knows that.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, if I see a need down the road to do a print version of the magazine and there are enough folks who are interested in it, I would definitely consider adding one. However, should I ever do that, it won’t detract from the online version. I would rather run an “illegitimate” online magazine that reaches the most people who want to be filmmakers around the globe, than run a “legitimate” print magazine that only reaches folks in the U.S. and the U.K.

Of course, being told that you are “illegitimate” when you’re a low-budget filmmaker is hardly shocking. After all, despite the huge strides in digital technology and the use of it by prominent filmmakers like George Lucas, Michael Mann, and Robert Rodriguez, film is still considered to be the only “legitimate” expressive medium to many folks in Old Hollywood. And, even in this day, many low-budget filmmakers use digital technology only long enough to get someone at a large festival to approve of them and tell them that they’re “legitimate” enough to become a “real” filmmaker. If they’re legitimate enough, then maybe a studio will sign them to do a film in “glorious 35 mm”. Then they’ll be a success…they’ll have “made it”!

I don’t have a problem with becoming successful or well known as a director. In fact, my goal is to get every reader of this magazine to become a successful, well-known director. However, why do we need to try to get folks who don’t accept us or the medium we use to decide that we’re legitimate? Folks that don’t accept you when you don’t have fame and fortune, will never except you when you do! Instead, the old disparaging term, “nuveau riche”—or, loosely translated, “new money”—will be used to describe you. And that’s not just about getting a feature bought and becoming wealthy. That’s about being a filmmaker without “putting in your time” in Old Hollywood—which, loosely translated, means choosing not to work your way up from grip to director over the course of 30 years and learning every lesson Old Hollywood has to teach you along the way.

It’s only when we embrace our illegitimacy that we are freed from a perpetual cycle of trying to impress others. We are here to tell stories. If we do our job well, then those who see our stories will be effected. We use what media we can afford, not what is trendy or legitimate! And we don’t ever dumb down our technique because we’re using a media that’s not film! After all, film has to be digitized for many types of color grading, optical effects, and nonlinear editing! Our medium is already digital, so we start out a step closer than they do!

We’re microfilmmakers. Some think that means that we make little films that only a handful of people see. The truth is, we make films with what we have available and we try to tell stories to the best of our abilities. Our stories are just as understandable to the masses as to the individual. The world is changing and, though, we may be “illegitimate,” we’re on the bleeding edge!

And, since my “illegitimate” readers are on the bleeding edge, than I certainly don’t mind running an “illegitimate” magazine that exists on that same bleeding edge!

Long live the “bastard” filmmakers!

God Bless,

Jeremy Hanke
Microfilmmaker Magazine

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