Art and Experience: How does it feel to know that after all the time, effort, and money you spend crafting a film you might be one of the only ones who truly believes in it?
Though it’s not the positive, inspirational message we all want to hear, it’s true: nobody really cares about your work. It’s not because it’s bad or because people are mean and out to get you—it’s because we live in a time where the over-saturation of media causes audience to have exceptionally discriminating tastes. In the past, when only a few dozen films would hit theaters (and there weren’t a whole lot of leisure activities to choose from), being picky wasn’t a luxury most audiences could afford. Now that the internet and digital filmmaking has democratized cinema, the influx of content is too much for anybody to keep up with, so viewers become increasingly selective. In the end, they don’t care about your film. How could they?
So, what do you do? Choose between selling your camera or making films no one will ever see? Sounds kind of sad—and certainly not the kind of circumstances that would motivate many filmmakers to continue exploring their craft. There is one thing, however, that might keep the fire lit inside you to keep pushing through the impossible obstacles in order to reach the level of success you aspire to reach in your film career.
So, it’s not all doom and gloom; there is a light at the end of this exceedingly long and depressing tunnel. The the idea that the world doesn’t need any more artists—photographers, writers, or filmmakers—is really prevalent, and it’s easy to understand why this “bitter default” resonates with a lot of consumers and creators of content alike. But that dark precept is only partly true, because whether or not you believe the world does or doesn’t need more artists, I think we can all agree that the world needs more work that matters.
This work, particularly these films, make us think, they challenge us, they inform us, they inspire us, and move us. They create awareness for causes and bring issues out from the darkness. They transform and entertain us. They give us something to talk about and something to do. And sometimes they just make us feel a little better than we felt before.
“Our survival as a culture is dependent on work that means something.”
That is why you shouldn’t give up. That’s why you shouldn’t sell your camera and hang up your dreams. If you’ve got something to say, you owe it to your beloved art form to say it. Yeah, the market may be dripping with videos and shorts and features made by filmmakers who may not be making “transcendent” work, who may not be pushing themselves or the art form to new heights. But it’s not about them—it’s about you. Are you that filmmaker? Is your work going to make us think? Is your work going to challenge, inform, inspire, and move us? Is your work going to be the thing people gravitate towards because it’s unifying, transformative, or just plain entertaining?
Nobody cares about your film—it’s your job to show them why they should.