I was recently interviewed for an article about Microfilmmaker Magazine for RuntimeDNA. (Feel free to read the article here.) As I was answering the questions, I began to really think about all the things that I have personally learned about the microfilmmaking community over the past two years. While this particular question and answer didn't make it into the article, I thought I would share it with all of you, as perhaps it will inspire you as much as it has inpsired me.
Q: Over the past two years, what is the most valuable thing you've personally learned running this magazine and helping critique the films that have been sent in?
A: To quote the X-Files, that "We are not alone."
That may sound extremely self-evident and obvious, but, for filmmakers, in a way, it's not. You see, in more traditional artistic communities, there tends to be an artistic fusion that naturally occurs amongst artists, where everyone is trying to make the best art they can, but there is no limit to how many can be successful so everyone is inspired by the community rather than feeling threatened by it. In filmmaking, hundreds of thousands of filmmakers around the globe have bought into the Hollywood mainstream lie that there are only a few people who can be successful in filmmaking, so you better not trust anyone else who's a filmmaker, or they might get those few "golden" opportunities to be directors in Hollywood. As such, you quickly descend into a non-communicative paranoia where you know that there are other filmmakers only in the way many people know that there are other applicants for the job they want.
Before I started this magazine, I theoretically knew that there were filmmakers in other parts of the world, but, after running it for two years and seeing films come from every continent on the planet (with the current exception of Antarctica), I truly understand what it is to not be alone. When you can look at a low-budget filmmaker from Britain and then one from China and then one from Australia and then one from the former USSR, you really understand how huge a group we really are. And we're all making sacrifices to tell the tales that burn in our souls to tell. I mean, one gentleman works at a vacuum cleaner factory six days a week and spent two years shooting his film on the one remaining day a week: Sunday. When you understand that, it's terribly humbling and it makes you realize how common our hearts really are.
We've been privileged to take this understanding of community to the filmmakers around the globe and start to pass on to them the concept that Hollywood is the old way of doing things. New opportunities are constantly arising in terms of mass media and global distribution for low-budget films if we as no- and low-budget filmmakers will work together, rather than being distrustful of one another. By sharing information on the art of filmmaking with them and choosing to critique their films for no charge, more and more filmmakers are becoming inspired to work with one another and share their information with one another. While this is happening all over, we're even seeing a huge growth inter-connectivity between formerly disparate filmmakers here in the state of Kentucky, where we're based out of.