Who Am I as a Filmmaker

Who Am I as a Filmmaker

Who am I as a filmmaker and what do I want to accomplish?


Johnathan Paul on location filming his Short Film “Fields Where We Play”

I had a close friend recently pose this question to me. And to be honest I couldn’t really answer it right away. There was an initial thought in my mind that this would be easy to answer. However there I stood silent and still. Finally I told him I’d have to get back with him on that, and that it wasn’t as easy of a question to answer as I thought it would be. To the outside world I present myself as a filmmaker, but I am also manager of my business, I handle marketing and social media promotion with a bit of help from pistachioconsulting.com, but all the all those things seem like means to the real thing that I am so interested in. What is it?

So, here I am after nearly two weeks of searching. I’ve found my answer. And the truth is, I’m not necessarily a filmmaker as much as I’m a storyteller and film just so happens to be my preferred medium of choice. Really in the end that what most filmmakers are… storytellers.

I want to be able to tell stories and have those stories resonate with people, to grip them and allow them escape. That’s what movies did for me. They allowed me an escape. They allowed me to be aboard the Millennium Falcon, to stand side-by-side Indy as he emptied sand from the bag and to witness the lights and sound as the giant mothership hovered ever so quietly over the secret base next to Devil’s Tower.

I want to do that for a kid out there just like Spielberg, Lucas, Scott, Henson, etc. did for me.

To tell stories in such a way that you don’t have to have the greatest special effects that a super mega budget can buy, all you need is a little creativity and a rock solid story that the audience can sink they’re teeth into.

So, I want to be a storyteller first and foremost. But then I also want to push the boundaries on the standards of creating that story.

So I guess this question would be what is my style?

I come from a documentary film background, and also a very-very independent background, so much so that as a kid my old JVC camcorder didn’t have a tripod so everything was handheld and at times way too shaky. These two backgrounds have given me an eye for the natural. While I’ve employed this free range filmmaking style in nearly every single film I’ve done, I’ve found myself gravitating more and more to the steady well composed shots which use sliders and steadicams. I still feel having that loose roaming camera puts the viewer right into the action and will still employ that technique for that aspect alone, to give a sense of immersion.

Also, I want to use more soundscapes to present the mood and feeling of the story. One thing I learned from watching Fantasia a 1000 times as a kid was that a perfect marriage between image and soundscape can be a beautiful and wondrous thing. Lastly I’ve wrestled back and forth with the use of HFR and 3D. I believe I’m over my burning desire for 3D. While I think it can work and that immersive cinema is something I really want to tackle, I don’t think it needs to be utilized on every film we make. HFR however is a different story. I do like the hyperrealism that HFR gives you. Especially in my documentary films. Audiences go into a documentary with a preconceived thought process that they are seeing something real and tangible, so if you can add HFR to that realism, I think it has a really good shot of giving a slight hint of immersion.

In all seriousness I want to be an artist and work the camera like I would a paint brush or pencil. My canvas or BFK paper is what I see through the lens. Story and concept… Story and concept is my mantra.

Now, that I know I want to be a storyteller and that I also want to be an artist behind the camera. I need to ask myself and seriously start looking at what I hope to accomplish?

Looking ten to fifteen years down the line I am, and notice I didn’t say wish. I didn’t say this because a really great professor I once had told me, “don’t ever wish to do something, just go and do it.” So, ten to fifteen years from now I’m going to have my production company up and running, and through this company a vast array of projects will blast forth. From TV and film of other works to an entire cinematic universe of my creation, a universe that began in a backyard and fields where I grew up. There will also be a fully functional and award winning sound design division as well as a fully developed special effects division. Why, we’ll be a full turn key service production company.

Yes sir, this portfolio is going to be full diversity. From the divisions of production to the project such as documentaries and narratives, or experimental and commercial this portfolio will contain it all. But the one thing that will be the foundation of it all is great storytelling.

Because as I said, in the end that’s all I really am… I’m a storyteller.