I was getting an oil change during my lunch break on Tuesday. In my hand was a stack of articles on filmmaking and I was poring over them in the florescent hum of the waiting room. Outside the window workers yelled over mechanical clatter but I heard little of it. I was highlighting Herzog quotes vigorously and chuckling at the occasional trade joke. The manager of the service department poked his head into the waiting room and asked, “You a schoolteacher?” Undoubtedly he was referring to my sprawl of papers and markers taking up two chairs. Without blinking I replied, “No, a filmmaker. At The Church at Brook Hills down the road.”
I startled myself. I had never used that word to describe what I do.
There are people in our city — heck, within our church — who are wildly talented filmmakers. I metaphorically (and sometimes literally) duck my head and avert my gaze when I think of our skills and experience side-by-side. I’m producing content for a global powerhouse of a church and until March I had never been out of the country except for our honeymoon. Almost daily I think, “How did I get here?” I’m terribly self-conscious and sometimes require an absurd amount of affirmation to counter that.
But I am a filmmaker. I wear several hats here at Brook Hills, but my favorite hat is the one that I wear on production days when I’m covered in sweat and hauling around a Pelican case full of gear, stringing a lapel mic up a stranger’s shirt and laughing about how we just met, even pre-production planning and sketching out a storyboard, rolling with the punches and making magic, gladly becoming utterly invisible behind a camera while I listen to a story unfold, asking pertinent questions to draw out the lifeblood. Later at my editing desk I choose the perfect music before I ever touch a timeline. Sculpting that final product is a powerful and influential thing. I don’t take it lightly.
Every autumn we revisit our budget and look toward the next year. One of my goals is to really grab this “filmmaker” label by the shirt — taking a good look at our approach, our gear, lenses, locations, taking some risks, building some sets, and thinking way outside the box in which we (I) have been chilling comfortably. More than mindlessly recording an interview with talking heads and slapping on some decent b-roll to cover transitions, I want to craft visual experiences and tell stories that people want to watch three, four times, texting links to their friends saying, “You have to see this.” I want to do more weaving of narratives that people will remember years later — ones they’ll point back to and say, “That was the moment I decided to ___. That video opened my eyes.”
I’m excited to be gaining confidence and dreaming creatively in my role here.
Less videos. More films.
Favorite sources of inspiration and learning right now:
Musicbed blog posts
The cinematic duo Of Two Lands
The Beat blog for filmmakers by PremiumBeat
My friend Abby’s moody photography especially on her Instagram Stories
Cultivating my favorite “looks” on Pinterest boards
Video School on the Vimeo blog - filmmaking articles & videos