MINIMIZING THE INFLUENCE OF MONEY ON EXPERIMENTAL FILM




If to experiment means to try new methods and concepts, none of which at the time can be guaranteed to be successful, then by definition sustained experimentation produces a large amount of waste. In experimental film that means a lot of wasted footage. If a filmmaker is working with celluloid film and doesn't have a lot of money, sustained experimentation becomes impossible. It is simply too cost prohibitive to pursue. Thus experimentation is curtailed, or it is done, but in small amounts, preventing the filmmaker from fully exploring and realizing their ideas.

What if I try this? What if I try that? What if I scrap everything and start again? Such questions are left unanswered because to answer them costs too much. And with a lack of an answer to each question, a filmmaker loses important real world experience and feedback about what their concepts look like actualized in reality and not simply imagined. And while there still may be a strong concept in an experimental celluloid film done on a budget, chances are the concept could have been presented even more robustly had the filmmaker had more money.

Experimentation should have no budgetary constraints. The only constraint should be the will and ability of the artist.

Some filmmakers swear by the experience of shooting, processing, and editing celluloid film so much that not being able to work with celluloid is a deal breaker. They would rather not make films at all than to make films using video. That’s fine, but as we have seen, if a filmmaker doesn't have a lot of money and insists on working with celluloid, they are limited in their ability to experiment. A filmmaker shooting video isn't. This means that when we view celluloid based work, we are always watching what a filmmaker is able to create within their budgetary constraints, as opposed to what a filmmaker is able to create if budgetary constraints are not an issue. This means that we cannot evaluate artistry and concept execution in celluloid based work in the same way as artistry and concept execution in video. When watching celluloid based work there is always the question: What if the filmmaker had more money? In other words: Is the film we are watching the one the filmmaker wanted to make, or is it the one the filmmaker was forced to make due to their inability to shoot more footage?

Theoretically, there is no problem with anything and filmmakers should do whatever they want, but if we are speaking of advancing a film art, it may be worth considering creating the proper circumstances for one to be able to experiment fully in order to realize one's concepts, even if, unfortunately, one may have to dip into shooting video.




2020





take me home!