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Thursday, September 26, 2013

••◊ A History of Influences

I'm stuck at home due to illness this week, but that doesn't mean I have less time to think about film making. I personally hate sick days because it's usually just me at home, bored out of my mind...which of course means lots of time to be a couch potato philosopher.

This week I saw two videos that were from different resources, but when combined together gave a bit more clarity into what we do as artists. The first video comes by the way of Chase Jarvis in Seattle. He hosted a sit down interview with Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist. Austin has been travelling around talking about how working artists are always actively searching out influence to steal, combine, and re-mix into our own work.


The second video was posted on Shane Hurlbut's blog yesterday and features Steven Spielberg.  I found his comments interesting that he talks about filmmakers today only stretching their influences back to the 70's; about 40 years ago.  However he goes on to say that his influences as a "70's movie brat" stretch back to the 30-40's - to the dawn of color and sync sound, about 40 years before he started making films commercially. 

At some point - maybe when there's a radical shift in storytelling style (1970's) - there seems to be a dividing line in which the new generation looks at the time before that shift as immature.  I know that I very quickly tire of actors yelling in the scene in order to get enough volume into the microphone.  A lot of older pictures are lit like stage plays with flat lighting because of the technical limitations of film and film making equipment at the time.  That's not to say that I don't like classics like North by Northwest, but it's not the sort of storytelling look and feel I find myself being influenced by today.  I'm sure in another 30 years the filmmakers will have the same opinion of films that don't have perfect looking sets due to CG set generation.  Can't you just hear them saying..."like....why did all those old dudes use real sets and actors?  I can do better in my mom's basement with Windows Movie Maker."

...and yes, I agree that black and white versus color isn't a real issue for good storytelling.  Just look at Spielberg's Schindler's List, which is a hybrid of modern cinematography and monochrome.


Now if only I could time my Seattle trips with one of Chase's sit down interviews.

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