Here's Why You Should Think Twice Before Buying That Fancy New Camera
In today's post, Rob's "War on Gear" continues.
All right fine, I'm not really at war with gear. It is, after all, an essential part of the filmmaking process. Without a camera, microphone, and a way to edit it all together, there would be no conceivable way to make live action films. Simple as that.
However, in the past few years, our relationship with gear has become counterproductive, and that's putting it mildly. In essence, we find ourselves in a weird psychologically-crippling loop in which the gear we have is not good enough to produce anything meaningful, and the gear we're about to have will make us whole and put our creative woes to rest. But it never does. And the cycle continues.
Simon says something in this video that really gives me pause: "I don't want the most exciting part of my week to be taking a product out of its box." That hits at the core of something that I, and probably countless other people, have struggled with constantly, and in far more aspects of life than just filmmaking.
The truth is that we lust after new gear because we like the way it makes us feel. It feels good to imagine ourselves creating great work. And more than that, it feels good to imagine that whatever self-imposed psychological barrier that is preventing us from creating work has been overcome through the simple act of purchasing something new. The only problem is that once new gear comes out of the box, you quickly realize that it's not the panacea you were hoping for. It, like the camera you already own, is still just one very small piece of the much larger puzzle which is filmmaking.
And I think that's the problem. The process of making a film can be incredibly overwhelming, especially with small crews and tiny budgets. So, when it comes time to actually make something, it's easy to make excuses like, "Oh I should wait until I have more professional gear." It's a defense mechanism against having to immerse ourselves in a process that is not only daunting and tedious, but which could very well turn out to be a waste of time if the product doesn't turn out like we imagine it in our heads.
From my experience, projects never turn out exactly as you hope they will. There are always obstacles — some technical, some monetary, and some psychological — that get in the way. The only answer is that you have to love the process of making a film. If you can learn to love the process (and it is something that you have to learn), it doesn't matter what gear you have because you're immersing yourself in something that is inherently enjoyable. When you love the process, gear becomes a side note. It still matters, but it's been taken off of the pedestal, and it becomes just another piece of the filmmaking puzzle.
That, my friends, is how we defeat Gear Acquisition Syndrome once and for all.