indie filmmaking


There’s a lot of fucking filmmakers around these days. Yeah, I’ve got a DSLR, I’m a filmmaker.


Most people don’t make films at all. They make videos and that’s no slight at all. I shot music videos for a long old time. I never called them films. That makes you sound like a knob. Similarly, commercials. No-one calls them films. That doesn’t mean there’s no craft in them, far from it. It’s just respectful to the genre of actual film.

Now, you might just think this is a question of semantics, but if you throw that at me I’ll turn around and walk away. I won’t even bother to argue.

Why? Because anyone who uses the word ‘semantics’ in an argument about film can fuck off.

Film implies drama. Drama isn’t a genre, it’s the name for the conflict that defines the very heart of storytelling. I’ve heard people say “No, I’m not shooting a drama, I’m shooting an action film.”

Then you have no understanding of story and your film will be shit.

Drama is the premier league of production. It’s where the best talent is to be found. It’s by far the hardest type of production to master and excel at and, for me, it is by far the most rewarding.

Shoot long form drama (could be TV, could be a feature, could be a half hour short) and I will gladly call you a filmmaker, no matter how crap your film is.

Anyone who steps into the breach, puts their balls on the line and shoots long form drama is worthy of respect because it’s fucking hard.

I’ll cover in a future post why it’s so hard. But, I can turn up to most jobs with my eyes closed and do a better job than the majority of DSLR ‘filmmakers’ out there in a fraction of the time because what they’re producing is facile.

You are not a filmmaker because you film shit. You can call yourself that if you want but no-one’s going to take you seriously.

I don’t call myself a filmmaker. I’m a director. That’s enough.

Stop devaluing the craft of real filmmaking. Stop churning out mediocre, piss poor, empty works of digital blandness and look further. A £1k 50mm 1.2 doesn’t give you the right to shoot shit.

PS You may wonder where I stand on documentaries. Feature docs can be absolutely incredible. Compelling beyond most fiction. It’s a different beast and the burden falls much more squarely on the shoulders of the director. Are those guys filmmakers. You bet your ass they are. Have I contradicted myself? Not really.



  1. The biggest difficulty isn’t in making something. The real challenge is in making something that other people might give a frak about it.

    And by other people I mean ordinary people who don’t inhabit a bullshit world of f stops, codecs and art direction. Like your mum, or the girl on the supermarket till, or the guy standing next to you at the bus stop.

    The problem with all ‘film makiing’ that doesn’t try to engage with a mass audience is you end up preaching to the converted, because the converted are the only people who will see it. It’s like Jehovah’s Witnesses only knocking on the doors of other Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    Yes it’s tough to make stuff. But not as tough as getting anyone else to care. We all love a story, but it’s still the most difficult thing to make a story that other people love.

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