Thursday, September 15, 2005
Content Matters, Not Technology
I realize it's a contradictory statement to say "content matters, not technology" when speaking about film since it took technology to create film. And, by this statement, I don't mean to imply that the advancements of digital technology (especially those technologies that have democratized the nature of filmmaking) are a bad thing. However, the fact that more and more people can make films now means two things. One, some undiscovered talents who might not otherwise ever be known will have a chance now to shine. And two, more crap can and will be made. Some people think a digital camcorder and desktop software make them a filmmaker. Wrong! All it makes them is someone with a digital camcorder and desktop software. Content still matters. Content has always mattered, and content will continue to matter long after this year's newest crop of technological advancements give way to next year's crop. It all starts with the story. If you have a good one, you have a good start. Actors matter. I don't care how much we can enhance performances digitally, good acting still matters. Directors and cinematographers matter. Film may have begun because of a technological invention (namely, the motion picture camera) but how it's used, where it's placed still matters. Now, I also realize that I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said before, but it's worth saying again. All too often, Hollywood thinks we need bigger bangs, more realistic gunshot wounds and louder, crisper audio surrounding us. No. what audiences need, and have always needed, are good stories. The kind that stick with them long after they've left the theater. The kind that they tell their friends about. The kind they come back to see, again and again. Digital technology will come and go. The new will replace the old. But every movie since the beginning of cinema has relied on words that have been put on a page and then brought to life on screen. Long after this year's best digital motion picture camera is next year's doorstop, words will still be here. And the imagination of great minds to realize them on screen will be here too.