Wednesday, June 13, 2007
$13K

I've spent the morning frustrating myself. See, I've been looking at equipment, the stuff that would turn me from a random girl with a good camera and some ambition into a fully-functioning filmmaker, trying to figure out what it's going to take to get me from here to there. And I've come to one agonizing conclusion:

I am never going to have this much money.

The hilarious thing is, it's not even that expensive, at least not compared to how much it would've cost a decade ago. I'd need a fairly powerful computer, one good monitor (two would be better, but one good one is better than two crappy ones), the editing/postproduction software suite to make it useful, a sound recording device, a shotgun mic, a wireless lavalier mic, and a basic assortment of lights. If I had that fairly modest kit, I could do pretty much whatever I wanted -- it's enough for almost any documentary work, and most contract-hire work. I could bring the lot home for under $13K, I expect, which is less than a used professional-grade camera would've cost back when. I mean, thirteen thousand for near-complete creative freedom? That's nothing. But it's so goddamn much.

This is where the brash young independent auteur plunks down his first credit card and damns the torpedoes. Maybe that's the difference between me and him -- that and about ten years of bitter experience. If I thought there was a real prospect of using this equipment professionally in the near future, I might be more willing to do it, but the most I can assume at present is that this is a very expensive hobby, albeit one I'm unusually passionate about. I just don't think I'm up to freelance production work yet. There's still so much I have to learn to be as good as I think I need to be.

The first order of business, once I get established in this new city, will be to find a couple of mentors, someone with whom to work so I can get my skills back up to scratch. I'm rusty, my talents (such as they are) have become dull, and my confidence is shaky. I need to be much more adept with sound recording, and god, I need to learn more about editing. If there's one place where I think I could really bring my talents to bear, it's editing. I'm competent now; I could be brilliant. But I've gotten about as far as I can go on my own -- I've reached the point where I really need to spend some time working with someone much better than me if I'm going to keep making progress.

And yeah, I know, it's not the equipment that matters. But damn it, it matters some, and I'm sick of trying to record with a $40 Audio-Technica mic and light with $5 dollar scoop lights and tin foil. Fuck that -- I want to work at a higher level than that. This is the one thing that really matters to me, the one thing I can't not do. It's the one thing that truly justifies the investment. But goddamn -- where am I going to get thirteen thousand dollars?

Oh well. The next two weeks will see the final shots of this year-long documentary I've been working on, and soon afterwards I'll start editing. Then we'll see how much it's really going to take to make a respectable filmmaker out of me.
10:29 AM ::
Amy :: permalink
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