Recently, for my multimedia reporting classes, I was given the assignment of creating an introduction video of sorts to the communication department at my university. It seemed simple, and already my head was brimming with ideas; did I want to do a weird Tim and Eric style kind of take, or should I strive for cinematic purity? I felt like I was ahead of the game for once.
That is, until, I got into the finer details. Normally, some restrictions on an assignment can help get me into the right mindset, or snuff out some superfluous ideas that aren’t the right choice for my work. However, attached to the grading rubric for the intro video assignment was a shooting script which I had to follow in order to get credit for the assignment.
This shooting script wasn’t just a guideline — it was more like instructions on how exactly to shoot the video. It laid out what sort of shot to get, what I was shooting, where I was shooting, what I saying, when to use voiceover and when to appear on camera. After seeing this script, my immediate thought was something akin to: “Wow. This’ll be easy!”
And therefore, the video kind of popped out of my head.
The assignment got me thinking, though. Did I only enjoy making movies and whatnot because of the creativity that was given to me? I always figured I enjoyed telling the stories and crafting work that I could call my own, but now it seemed somewhat solidified that generating work was the key point for me. Perhaps the act of filming itself is just tedious nonsense that I use to tell a story. Is there any real enjoyment for me in filming itself?
Well, fortunately, there was. I got together with a friend of mine to film the 90-second long video and I wound up having a good time. There actually is something very enjoyable about waking up earlier than you want to, meeting up with somebody who is injecting just as much coffee into themselves as you, setting up the tripod, and finding out the best and most efficient way to get a shot. The mechanical nature of technical perfection is an art in itself.
And I will say, despite all the limitations that I had moaned over before, there was still the ability to get creative! It just took more work. It’s nice to be filming some short dinky video for a class, and still remarking to yourself in the editing room, “That was a nice shot.”
The moral to this story? Creativity is in the eye of the camera holder. Or… well, you’d probably want to place it on a tripod, but… you get what I mean.