I got a new camera.
A misty morning in Montauk Harbor
In Tony Comstock’s post Why I don’t make movies anymore (and what I’m doing instead) I laid out how my family and I are responding to the changing social and economic landscape around media making:
The parameters were simple. Whatever was next had to be something that could not be digitized. Yes, I know, according to the digerati, all those people downloading our films weren’t going to buy them anyway, so that was no money lost. I don’t care. I made those movies with my own two hands. I wrote checks to pay for film-stock and equipment rental and to pay my crew union rates. I didn’t do that so people could watch my films for free. I did it to put a roof over my children’s head and food on our table. And because of that, I get a little upset at the fact that people can decide whether or not they want to pay to see our films.
And I’m not especially comforted by the idea that our livelihood is just unfortunate collateral damage of a technology that allows the flowering of mash-up culture. In all the tens of thousands of times our films have been downloaded, no one’s ever mashed up anything. No new culture, no new commentary. Just people riding the bus for free because it’s easy enough not to pay.
So it couldn’t be something digitizable.
It also had to be something that couldn’t be toured. I’m too old for that. I like being with my family too much. So whatever it was had to be something so special that people would come to me instead of waiting for me to come to them.
So what did I do? I started taking people sailing.
The Lady K
In my introductory post here at the League, In which the rogue becomes in officer and a gentleman, I continued:
This winter, in a barn in Bridgehampton, NY, we are building a US Coast Guard certified catamaran, that, when finished, will rate for up to 30 49 passengers. (In fact, just yesterday I received our project engineer’s Structure and Stability Calculations, 16 pages of diagrams and equations that are the basis of our application to the USCG Marine Safety Center.)
The other thing that changed is I’ve found myself (burdened?) with a strange and unfamiliar urge, the urge to write for writing’s own sake, and this has left me feeling a little off balance. Write, simply to write, simply to express oneself and (hopefully) be heard? What an odd notion!
But perhaps it’s for the best. As much as I’ve criticized and lamented the effect of culture and technology on the independent professional, I also recognize that we are living in a true Golden Age of Amateurism. So long as the scope of one’s efforts are limited to what can be supported in one’s spare time, there is really no limit to what might be attempted.
And with that in mind, what better medium than the written word. No film to buy, no crew or actors to be fed, so little bandwidth to distribute. What better way to be a creative person in this new reality than to be a writer!
Fresh paint on the dragger Caitlyn and Maraid
When I “quit” making films I told my wife, “I’m not really quitting, it’s just going to take about 20 years for this to sort itself all out. I’ll be in my mid sixties. If I take good care of myself I’ll still be strong.” Interestingly enough, the last time I bought a professional still camera — a Fuji GX680 — was in 1992. That camera, and the work I did with it, propelled me from Oregon to New York City, and to my life as I know it.
A Panasonic Lumix G2, with a couple of lens. I’m still getting it all sorted out. And also figuring out how this new camera works.
Edited to add:
After I hit POST this morning, Sean picked me up and we went down to MON TIKI. Of course I took my new camera!