This post’s title, Actualites, Actually is a reference to this post Ways of Showing/Ways of Seeing on James Fallows’ blog at The Atlantic, a post which explored the role of technology in the ongoing development of the language of cinema.
So then, having only just renounced any claims to being either a filmmaker or writer, let me now tell you about what’s going on with my writing and filmmaking. Let’s first go back to this closing passage to my introductory post as a League front-pager, In Which the Rogue Becomes an Officer and a Gentleman:
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!
Let us also remember this brief passage from the recent Why I didn’t go to grad school the second time:
…I ended up dropping of both of the math classes because that summer I was seized by an idea. [That idea being the construction of a giant self-portrait composed of 6400 1-inch portraits of Andy Warhol.]
What I have found in the nearly two years since the first post is that there is a much better synergy between the business of running Mon Tiki as a charter and my long-dormant skills as a photographer.
So earlier this year I bought a medium caliber DSLR (a Lumix G2 for the gearheads amongst you) and have been making picture-postcard type images of Montauk and trips on Mon Tiki, posting them occasionally here at The League and insensately on Facebook where I believe they have done a good job of getting the word out that we’re here in beautiful Montauk, offering rides on a beautiful boat, and that (just maybe) the people who own and operate Mon Tiki love Montauk for the same reasons you do, so when you ride on Mon Tiki you’ll be with people who “get it” and who will enjoy sharing the day with you.
So then what’s this all about? Why am I tell you this? Why are you reading?
One of the reasons that I bought the Lumix is that my film, sailing and boat building mentor Bob Wise told me it has very good motion acquisitions capabilities, and I have recently been seized by this capacity. Over the last month, in addition to going looking for good images for our ongoing photography campaign I have also been shooting motion. Some examples (Actually watching these is not crucial to the point I’m going to try and make, so skip down if you want. My feelings won’t be hurt. Much.):
As laid out in my introductory post quoted above, the problem with film is it’s fantastically expensive and labor intensive, and the above clips are the first time in about the last five years where I’ve felt like the effort to make has balanced out from the rewards gained from making.
And this is where things get complicated.
One of the things making and posting these clips has done is confirmed that where professional communication is concerned, not only is a picture worth a thousand words, it’s also worth at least 5 minutes of well-produced video. This appraisal has cascaded through not only how we market and promote Mon Tiki, but also through my wife’s design practice.
In an day and age where people’s attention spans are measured in fractions of a second, film, prose and music are all hampered be the investment of time asked of the audience. By contrast, a photograph can communicate and then be responded to almost instantly (think LIKE & SHARE.) Right now, for dollars spent and hours invested, nothing else comes close.
And yet there is something compelling to me in making these clips.
So despite the fact that they take longer to make, despite the fact they are harder to craft (example, you can make good stills without a tripod, a good tripod for motion costs a couple thousand dollars, and worse, you have to carry it with you!) and despite that fact that these clips are little watched (like four or five orders of magnitude less watched than my most popular still images) and despite the fact that I can’t for the life of me see a clear way forward to making moving images that will make making them worthwhile, I am still making them.
I am, in a word, seized. And sometimes that’s all the reason you need.