Artistry under construction
In recent years, filmmaking has become quite popular among young people. Most of them shoot their films sporadically and release on YouTube to be famous in their friend circle. These young minds are not ideologically driven which affects their source of creation. They are driven by social media which readily serves "fast-food" content to the consumers. There exist a more significant proportion of young artists who are passionate, prudent and promising in Bangladesh, who take filmmaking as meaningful art.
As an independent filmmaker of this third world country, I believe that film is a vehicle to express one's ideology, philosophy and politics which is an attempt and opportunity to reach out to the thoughtful minority, the stories that I see and want others to share it with. There is no denying that people's opinions, perspectives and values cannot change overnight by watching a movie. Transformation of an individuals' mentality and their thought process requires constant stimulation. I believe it is a continuous process that would be beneficial to society and country's intellectual practices.
There are lots of stories in our surroundings but we, most of the time, aren't able to pick the right one. Most of us do not have any clue on how to portray the raw insights of the various notions of society, culture, politics, through the mode of audio visual storytelling. This article is for the enthusiasts of filmmaking who wish to tell their stories more professionally and aesthetically in terms of fulfilling their rational objectives.
Before any further discussion, you have to know what makes a director and what is his/her job? A director is someone who is in charge of leading a film production process. It is a career that allows an individual to use his/her leadership as well as creative thinking skills to guide and direct motion pictures. As a director, it is mandatory to widen your view and perceive art beyond borders. Watching, analyzing and deconstructing films that make a camera shot or scene work are all essential steps to becoming a successful director. It is said that if you get into a film school, it is great.
You will learn a lot. If not, then it is great too! Because the things you need to know to create a great film are learned on board of a film set rather than a classroom. Do not forget that things that matter to your soul do not require a hefty budget. Tarantino says, "If you truly love cinema, with all your heart, and with enough passion, you can't help but make a good film. You don't have to go to school. You don't have to know about lenses." Start working with what you have got. Learn the basics of shot composition. Do your best to record quality sound, or if that is beyond your means, make a silent film, there's too much colloquy in most films anyway.
For filmmaking, you have to identify the areas, most important focal points, on which you have to put maximum efforts. Knowing how to use great tools is the first achievement of your learning. Always remember that the story comes first, get rid of anything extraneous or just for show. A line might be a great kiss-off or a scene may be super-smart, but unless it makes sense in the context of the story, it won't sit right. Every element of shooting, every frame of the edit, and every word of the final narration script should support that story. Everything includes music as well, do not allow it to overwhelm the film or bury the words. For all of these, you have to watch a lot of films for a better understanding of the tips mentioned above.
A lot of the mistakes that young filmmakers make could be avoided if teenagers paid attention to their favourite films. Pick a film you love and watch it with the sound down; look closely at the camera angles, the editing and the lighting. Watch short films online and see how a compelling story can be told in five minutes. You won't be able to match the production value of these films and you don't need to do so. For this purpose, I can suggest some exemplary directors' name to create your bucket lists, which are Steven Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Chantal Akerman, Francis Ford Coppola, Akira Kurosawa, Abbas Kiarostami, Andrei Tarkovsky, Quentin Tarantino, Manoel de Oliveira, Vittorio De Sica, Stanley Kubrick, Satyajit Ray, Miklós Jancsó and Tareque Masud.
At the very end, I would like to suggest you to make horror films, if only you love horror. If you're into gritty social dramas, make a gritty social drama. Spielberg once said something along the line, 'I make films that I would want to go and see'. If you're making something that you're looking forward to seeing on the big screen someday, you'll have all the creative drive you need to deal with the pressures of making a short film. At the same time, try to attend as many film festivals as you can whether your film is screened or not. Check out what the standard is like, see what types of films are getting funded and do plenty of networking with other filmmakers. In that case, "don't pay attention to the mainstream industry," insists Scorsese. "Do your own thing. Make your industry and break down the form!"
Remember, NEVER turn off your camera!
Writer is an independent filmmaker of Bangladesh and an International youth jury of "2017-18 REEL YOUTH FILM FESTIVAL", Vancouver, Canada,