Saturday, February 15, 2020

Peter Bogdanovich on Film Technology

Peter Bogdanovich was interviewed on Reddit a few years ago. He was asked about his thoughts on the digital revolution in filmmaking, and the fact that it's possible to shoot a film on a smartphone for very little money. He viewed this as a plus, and brought up a good point that doesn't get talked about that often in relation to these developments:

"Because I think amateur filmmakers, or wannabe filmmakers, will discover from using that equipment that it isn't as easy to make a movie as sometimes people think it is.
And it might actually invigorate the art of the movies, because younger people who want to make movies can get the materials, the technical materials necessary to make the movies, much more easily." (source:

The ease of access to technology and the low cost of production have laid bare the realities of moviemaking for even the most entry-level amateur. For those willing to put in the work and who have the dedication and discipline to see the project through, it is indeed easier than ever before at a purely technical level to get the movie made. However, these same advantages have made it more difficult for wannabes to make excuses about why they aren't making anything.

It strikes me that at the beginning of the digital revolution, there was this idea that anyone could make a movie and indeed it seemed like everyone with even a passing interest in it was giving it a try. Now, to some extent, it might be that -- as with anything -- digital filmmaking has simply become more professionalized in a way that it wasn't 20 years ago, back when digital was viewed largely as the purview of the amateur or DIY hobbyist. Now that Hollywood has gone digital, and the professional level equipment has become so much more costly and sophisticated, it could be that it has opened up a lot of the same insecurities and disparities that existed before with film.

But I tend to agree with Bogdanovich -- that when wannabes who think that it will be "easy" to make a movie get their hands on digital tools that they think will make the movie for them, they're going to be in for a surprise that it's still not that easy.

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