Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thank the deities, the deadline is off...... (about perfectionism)

... for the Industry 101 competition - I can finish The Afflicted at my own, leasurely pace! :)

I was beginning to worry - the end of march is not that far away, and most likely I would not have been able to have the movie ready for release until then.

I consider that one of my faults - I don't work well under time constrictions. I hate to rush things to do with movie-making. It goes against my wish to do everything as perfectly as I can; against re-imagining scenes again and again... which is as such not a bad thing, but sometimes I wonder if I'm not too perfectionistic and thus loading on work I wouldn't have to do if I just could be a tiny bit more relaxed.... I mean does the viewer really see the little things that irk me so that I redo a whole scene again the 10th time? Does it really make a difference? It surely does for me - and in the end, it's me who has to be happy with the end result, I know that. And it takes a lot to make me happy with my own work.

Why is that? I'm much more lenient when it comes to other people's work - I tend to overlook things that I would never tolerate in one of my own movies (or at least, I won't let little things take away from the enjoyment I otherwise get out of the film). Is it that the same for everyone? To which extend is the critical eye concerning ones own work healthy, and when does it start to become an annoyance; hampering the flow of creativity?

5 Kommentare:

Killian said...

I agree; I think we all tend to be less critical of other's work than our own, perhaps. Is this a "I don't want to tell the director that a shot wasn't particularly well done, as that makes me sound really pretentious and egotistical"?

Or is it genuinely because we are more concerned with the entertainment value of someone else's movies, and less anal about perfection with them than with our own?

I know for a fact that the tiny things you worry about probably will never ever get noticed by others, purely because you are such a perfectionist in every other aspect of your productions that any tiny flaws get overlooked (and what is a flaw to you will never even get spotted by someone watching the movie purely to enjoy it).

Watching a production for entertainment is a lot different to watching it to critque it, and (let's be honest here) we've all looked back at our previous work and cursed at glitches, messed up scenes or "I could have done that better" moments... if we haven't, that means that we're convinced we're at the pinnacle of our art (which is something I consider a vain and egotistical statement for ANY film-maker to make, no matter who, even in their own minds! None of us in the machinima hobby is THAT good that we can't see something we'd like to have done better if we did it again, or spot something we overlooked, no matter how perfect others might think it to be!)

sisch said...

Interesting input, Killian - oh yes, I know those "I could have done that better" moments...
I could never be convinced that I'm on the pinnacle of my art - for one thing, what is left if you think that? You could as well just stop making movies altogether, because if you think any given movie of yours is the best you could do... where's the incentive to even try it?

A lot of the success of a movie depends on the flow. That's one of the things I worry most about (apart from getting around glitches, and as-real-as-possible looking movements and expressions). Flow, for me, is defined through interesting camera angles, changing perspectives, and, of course (and foremost) a great script and believable dialogue. If the flow is right, you can "get away" with imperfections. Sound comes to mind, too. If I'm expected to suspend my disbelief, these things just have to fit.

This is also the moment we come to the difference between watching a movie for entertainment or to critique it. I don't like to give a critique unasked - for one thing, what works for me or not, might work for another person - or not. It's always a very personal thing. And do we really want our movies to be dissected?

Killian said...

Well, that's exactly my point. I never make a movie to enter competitions or win awards (personal choice; that's just not what interests me, though I have no problem with others wanting to do so); I make movies because it's either a project I'm interested in doing, tells a story I want to tell, or purely for my own enjoyment (and if others like it as well, more's the good :)).

I certainly don't seek critiques, but I listen to the opinions of those whose opinions I value (purely because a) they know what they're talking about and b) I know those opinions are expressed with genuine interest in trying to help me improve (which is something I always try and strive to do with each passing movie I make or write)); everyone else can, no offence intended, go take a hike!

I'm not being elitist here; as said, I make movies the way I want to make em and if only 4 people watch em and love em, then that's as great to me as 400 doing the same. Unwanted "advice" from people I barely know and know nothing about their movie making skills or (even worse), "advice" from someone who (in my opinion) isn't up to scratch with their own shooting skills, is about as wanted as a hole in the head; if I feel this way, you can be sure as sixpence that others do to, so I tend to avoid unnecessary critiques unless asked for em specifically.

I look at unwanted reviews or critiques this way; it's kinda like turning up at someone's house for a movie night, then complaining constantly about the decor, the quality of the snacks and the TV you're watching the movie on, in my opinion :)

Norrie said...

Hmmm, lots of interesting things to talk about.
As far as making movies goes (even though I don't), I think there's a difference between someone saying "it's as good as I can make it" and "it's flawless". There's always going to be compromises, whatever you're using to produce it.

I sometimes think people forget that criticism is subjective, not objective. I really dislike people who say "this is bad" rather that "I didn't like that". They seem to be under the assumption that their opinion is definitive; and that's just arrogant.

I totally agree with Sisch about flow: they're not called "moving pictures" by accident. If I watch a film that entertains me, should it matter if I think that the ECU at 2' 15" lasted a second too long? I would hope not. But without the film flowing, whether visually or exposition, it's tough going.

We all have our own bugbears though, mine is unrealistic dialogue. I simply can't watch a film where people talk like they're reading aloud. I remember stopping a TMO movie after about a minute because someone said:
"I shall begin to commence doing that immediately."
I screamed aloud as I closed the window :)

I honestly don't understand why anyone would watch something for any other reason that entertainment. A pro (Mark Kermode for instance, a rare thing: a critic I like) gets paid to watch crap and give his opinion, we don't.
I tend to watch something for one of three reasons: someone I know made it; someone I know recommended it, or something on the forums intrigued me.

God, I've waffled! I'll finish with one thought. You might not make movies for awards Killian, but it must warm the cockles of your heart to be up for 76 "Jakechief awards" :)

sisch said...

Yeah, I do think flawnessness (is that a word?) is overrated - what a film needs most, for me, is a soul. Characters you get to know, you can sympathise with. That's a soul.

As for critique... I agree, every critique should be begun with the words : "what I didn't like"; or "what didn't work for me". Every critique is subjective, and as such, there are always people who beg to differ.
That's also the way we should read a critique given to one of our movies - pull the useful stuff out for further reference; and in other instances, just accept that this is an opinion - no more no less (and I know it is hard, especially when you put a lot of work in a film).

As for the people "who know what they're talking about" - hmmm... I see that a little different. Nobody complains (or at least we don't hear about it) if someone who never made a real-life movie himself critiques such a movie. Why should it be different for machinima? I would be happy if the medium would be more widely accepted and break out of it's niche - and that would entail loads of people who never made a machinima film watch and - of course - give their opinions.
Nobody (or at least very few people) watching a film like, lets say, "The Matrix", spend hours on thinking how the directors did the special effects - most people just enjoy and don't ask questions (or they don't enjoy..).

Why should I presume that people have to honour all the hard work that went into my film? Those in the know maybe do, but the others, who just watch for entertainment are allowed an opinion, too. I don't think you have to necessarily know how something was made to decide if it is good or not.

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