When I first started making films I found it challenging. I was always comparing myself to filmmakers who were better and further ahead in their career and skill level. They always seemed to have the latest and greatest gear or were always shooting in some fantastic looking location and had some super awesome filming opportunity. My reality was that I was stuck using an old Canon minidv camera, filming in a friends house with homemade Ikea lights. Looking back on where I started I realize how much these limitations were actually vital for fostering creativity.
I was reading a book recently and came across a quote by Jack White, “Telling yourself you have all the time in the world, all the money in the world, all the colors in the palette, anything you want; that just kills creativity.” I stopped and had to read the quote again. I immediately began reflecting on where I had come in terms of my filmmaking abilities as an artist. From a highschool kid using an old wheelchair or a homemade skateboard dolly, to using glidecams and gimbals. From using a tripod to create a shaky crane shot to a proper tripod mounted jib. I now have all the tools I need to make a cinematic film. Yes, there is always a new piece of gear that would be fantastic and I don’t have a large budget to create a sci-fi short film, but in essence, I am not nearly as limited as when I first started producing films. After reading this quote it scared me. Have I become less creative due to my lack of limitations? This started a huge reflection process and ultimately it created a change in my perspective. I am not less creative - I just have more options...more options to move the camera, more options on how to share a story and more opportunities to share those stories. More options isn’t necessarily a good thing. I still have challenges, however, they are different than what they used to be. I now have more filtering and sorting through my ideas and options.
I’m glad my limitations changed from when I first started making films to where I am now. I am not stuck or going backwards. I can confidently say I am moving forward. I am growing as a filmmaker and an artist. This perspective change encourages me to continue to think creatively and question each decision I make on a project and ask this fundamental question: Is this the most creative way to tell the story or is there another option?