I finally took a day off from work. I stayed home, tried to get some sleep, and the real goal was to edit on these short films shot now several weeks ago. In the blink of an eye, 2-3 hours can disappear as if it was a fleeting moment when moving footage and selecting takes.

I just finished a rough cut and the fine cut of one of these new shorts. By the end of the weekend I’ll have the color correction, score, and sound mix done too. I realized today what my hurdle was, aside from the obvious lack of time. This was the first short I’ve worked on where I was overwhelmed by good choices. Since this was a very short script and we had an entire day to shoot, I explored ideas and performances. This, in the end, gave me in some ways, too many options. I’m much more used to have fewer choices that are good to great. Here I had two women who were giving me variations and all of them usable and interesting. It made the editing go much harder than usual, combined with the higher volume of footage to sift through.

The style of directing I am used to has more economy to it, which has its downsides too. It makes for faster turnaround times, but not always the “great” material. I am shooting for “great” from here on out. If something is not 100%, then I have to work harder to make it 100% and I will not accept less than that anymore.

For NEWS OF THE WEIRD, I offer up some strange tidbits. On AMAZON.COM, my books are for sale. Not new news, but what IS odd is that some store in Florida is selling “special edition” copies for $35+. What makes it a special edition? There’s no email to ask, nor do I have any idea how he’s getting copies outside of buying them himself and that somehow makes them special. Similarly there are used copies of some of my DVD’s from another seller in Seattle that sells my movies in a “collector’s edition” for more than double the retail.

I google myself. In every way you can imagine, I do this. I’m a marketing whore and I want to know what I do that works and what doesn’t. I keep track of my webstats, even when some of the info disturbs me. The disturbing thing is the reading habits for this blog. Some people read this more than once a day. I don’t read my writing or think anything I have to say is worth reading every single day, so why are some individual readers tuning in and re-reading this so often? What is the appeal? Maybe some can answer this for me. I can’t even get My Sexy Fiancé Veronica ™ to pay attention to one of my long winded stories, so why are some people reading.

On the plus side, I can see several education institutions adding my sites and material to their websites. Either as links to the instructional videos, the free music, storyboard templates, or even the articles, I keep finding links or mentions. The University of North Carolina to USC have all had links to my site and videos. WOW. Seeing my name or site appear in formal syllabus for classes from high school to university film schools, I cannot help but feel honored.

I do worry that some of my formerly philanthropic desires are coming to an end, at least as far as most of my regional filmmakers are concerned. Not too long ago someone was asking about the twitchy handheld filmmaking style. They wondered if it had a name. It does. It’s called Cinéma Vérité. The fact that I know this is a testament to how much research and constant study I do on film. I’m not a genius, nor am I better than anyone else.

The oddity that has occurred is that I now feel displaced. I did not come up the ranks of film school or any form of higher education. I am self taught, and I my history with filmmaking is rooted in the do it yourself, microbudget, digital video desktop editing revolution of the past 10 years. Unfortunately, very few of the people who are a part of this “revolution” have a clue about cinema history, or even technological aspects. They just think because they watch movies and TV that this somehow qualifies them to make a movie. It does, just not necessarily a GOOD movie.

I’m becoming very cynical about the people, especially in my region here in Ohio, and whether or not they will amount to much. Without foundations in cinema history, understanding the mechanics of filmmaking, and real experience making movies without the benefit of learning from professionals (not pretend professionals who think because they watch DVD extras or solely read books somehow qualifies them to be a Pro), I just don’t see many of them ever progressing. There are exceptions of course. There are always the diamonds in the rough, but they are being buried by the masses of talentless wannabes with camcorders and no clue.

Some of my peers, the actual professionals, have been on me for years to stop trying to teach or even interact with the amateurs that are trying. I fought it because I related more to these “Backyard Kubricks” than I did to the professionals I have been working with for 10 years. In the last few months I find myself no longer desiring to impart what modest knowledge I have locals. I feel like I’m giving away an education to deaf ears, or simply wasting my time.

Then again, I have always had this unending drive to share. Every time I learn the simplest of things, I’d share it in a blog, a reply, an email, or on a website, an article, whatever. Can I really turn that off like a faucet?

Check out the adventures of “LITTLE GUY”, a kitty from Columbus Ohio whose adventures have captivated me for a while.

Little Guy from Dave on Vimeo.

Little Guy gets up on the Roof from Dave on Vimeo.

Critter Update from Dave on Vimeo.

Little Guy – Agent of Misfortune from Dave on Vimeo.

Categories: blog

Peter John Ross

A filmmaker, a dreamer, and the world's only Dan Akroyd Cosplayer


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