June 21, 2016 at 11:38AM, Edited June 21, 11:40AM

0

Can we all stop pretending we are so passionate about film making?

'Passion' or 'Passionate' seem to be the most overused words not only here on NFS but all throughout amateur and independent film making. I'm almost immediately turned off to posts and fundraising projects that mention the word.

I think it's akin to someone believing they are in love with someone when in reality they're just lusting after them. They are in love with the idea of that person rather than the reality of that person.

I feel like a lot of people are either totally delusional or are passionate about the idea of film making rather than the actual craft. It's hard not to be though. Film making is a very romantic endeavor to think about.

Any opinions?

41 Comments

We're all kind of drama kings, I get that. But I think it's better than being totally jaded. To make it as a filmmaker of any kind, you need more than passion, you need untold hours of hard work and vision, and practical solutions to the many problems and roadblocks that will get in your way- just like a real relationship instead of a crush. Is that your point? If so, yep.

June 21, 2016 at 3:14PM

12
Reply
avatar
Patrick Ortman
I tell stories. Sometimes for money. Sometimes, not.
871

Passion never hurts, just make sure you've got something worthwhile to say. I've seen lots of Indie projects that were technically well done but many of the stories and the characters in these films had nothing new to say.

If your script wouldn't make a good novel, then it's probably not going to be any better as a film.

June 21, 2016 at 3:46PM

9
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32221

-Patrick & Guy

I guess I agree with both of you for the most part. I think the consumer in me just wants to see what people can do instead of hear them verbally masturbate about filmmaking.

June 21, 2016 at 4:36PM

14
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

Yeah I might be inclined to agree with you here.

In fact I don't think this only applies to filmmaking, but a lot of pursuits whether they are artistic, scientific or otherwise. Words like 'passionate' can often feel like something brought up during a corporate team building exercise, and really, doing stuff every day like making films or music or art doesn't feel like 'passion' if you ask me. It's bloody hard work, and it involves dedication, not only as a choice but as an impulse.

I'd be much more inclined to say, perhaps, that some of my friends are 'passionate' about football. They allow scores to affect their mood, they play at the weekend, they watch tournaments like the Euro's religiously, and they write blogs about it and stuff.

Filmmaking feels a lot more like a job than that. It's about having the wherewithal to get the job done, and have enough vision to see it through. That doesn't mean it's not exciting though, it's very exciting.

Sometimes I see what other people are up to online and immediately think that they must being doing amazing stuff and really well thought of, but the reality is that there are tons of people out there doing amazing work that don't constantly walk about talking about being passionate about filmmaking, they're too busy to do that. Some of the people online with blogs and flash websites and outrageously active twitter accounts are producing a lot of hot air. Granted, not all of them obviously.

That might not make any sense. I should be editing.

June 22, 2016 at 8:11AM, Edited June 22, 8:11AM

0
Reply
Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
1197

I have to admit that this is more of an obsession for me. No passion involved. It's really hard work and you have to be kinda crazy to WANT to make films after you've experienced all of the hard work and long hours involved. You don't get to come in, do 8 hours and go home. This is work that comes home with you after you've shot for 12 hours or more. This is work that invades your dreams and forces you to wake up at 3AM to jot down notes, scene ideas, shot ideas, etc. I thought I was "passionate" about movies until I started working on them. Now I know I'm just hopelessly obsessed with filmmaking. And there's no end in sight unless you count death.

June 22, 2016 at 2:57PM

0
Reply
avatar
Don Way
Writer/Director of Photography
1199

...and the rejection and critique that comes with being a professional makes it all a little less romantic. However, if not for the 'passion' we all share we would probably give up along the way so I'm grateful for loving this artform more than my wife.

I'm kidding, I don't have a wife. Ex said I was too passionate about my work ;)

June 23, 2016 at 11:53AM, Edited June 23, 11:53AM

12
Reply
Filmdudezero
Director
342

- Don & Filmdudezero

Both of you are exactly who I'm talking about. I'm not trying to rustle any tail feathers with this post but it seems inevitable.

Apparently Don has no passion and only works by obsession. Passion is a synonym for obsession. But let's forget about that. How can anyone do anything as involved as film making, that they enjoy, without any sort of passion?

And to Filmdudezero, it's all how you frame it man. I don't know why you have such a defeatist attitude about rejection a critique. Some of that feedback will be from people who are better than you and have a genuine point about what they are saying. That's what makes a professional in my opinion. Someone who can take all of that and be able to listen to the feedback people are giving them.

Don would die for it. Filmdudezero loves it more than his ex-wife. What you both are saying, again, is exactly what this post is about. You both are over-romanticizing the process. You talk about being so into film making and really have nothing to show for how great your "obsession/passion" is.

June 23, 2016 at 2:41PM, Edited June 23, 2:56PM

0
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

No feather rustled here lol. But, I'm not quite sure what your point is. We admit to being obsessed and you claim that obsession is synonymous with passion to fit your initial narrative when the jury is still out on the passion vs obsession debate. There is a fine line between the two, but there is a line. By your interpretation of our obsessions are you implying that we are not obsessed but only pretending to be? Are you implying that we'd rather be doing something else with our lives? Would you rather be doing something else? Do you really feel that we are all pretending or are you just projecting the way you feel about yourself onto filmmakers as a whole to justify your own realization that YOU are the one pretending and YOU aren't really passionate about this thing? Genuine questions. I'd really like to know where you're going with this. I'm not much into theory but you've piqued my interest.

June 25, 2016 at 5:10AM

17
Reply
avatar
Don Way
Writer/Director of Photography
1199

Kinda curious indeed

June 25, 2016 at 3:29PM

0
Reply
Filmdudezero
Director
342

Glad we can have a civil conversation. If you google 'obsession' the word 'passion' is listed under synonyms. I asked myself before posting this discussion if I was bullshitting myself and projecting and I can't say that I am. I am pretty satisfied with what I have accomplished so far and what my future plans are.

I don't think you're pretending. I never mentioned anything about pretending. And I don't know you well enough to say that you should be doing something else.

The direction I'm going with this is:
https://vimeo.com/98368484

Dean Butler, if you look down in the comments, posted this link and I 100% agree with it.

People like to bullshit and also bullshit and lie to themselves about how important they are. Or how important their work is. Dude, you said you would die for film making? What are you doing in film that's so important that you would die for?

I guess my ultimate point is for people to just stop bullshitting themselves and to stop expressing that bullshit to other people. Stop talking about how "obsessed/passionate" you are and show us.

June 25, 2016 at 11:25PM, Edited June 25, 11:32PM

8
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

Of course we can have a civil conversation. This isn't youtube, lol. I get where you're coming from now and totally agree with your main point as I understand it.

July 3, 2016 at 5:39AM

0
Reply
avatar
Don Way
Writer/Director of Photography
1199

You seemed to have missed the part where I said I'm kidding. Quite a serious attitude you have there.

Also how am I romanticizing the process in any way?
I'm just saying, this line of work can mean a lot of rejection. I'm not sure if you're a professional and/or if you try to get your art projects funded - but it sure ain't easy. If you do find it easy, congratulations, you have won the jackpot.

Yes, some feedback is usefull and given by professionals I can learn from. Other feedback is just horrible and made by hacks who have money, power but no vision. And that's all part of the game. And because I have my passion - I still love my work no matter how many obstacles are in the way.

June 25, 2016 at 3:29PM

0
Reply
Filmdudezero
Director
342

Fake it till you make it.

June 24, 2016 at 9:49AM

0
Reply

Really interesting point. Reminds me a bit of the everyone's a storyteller s@#t that many flocked to to brand themselves and their businesses (and I don't consider myself separate from that). You might enjoy this video Nick, https://vimeo.com/98368484

Passion's important, or enjoyment in creating and telling (hahaha) stories on screen, but my family (2 kids and wife) are WAY more important to me. When I'm on my death bed, if I don't die suddenly, I'm not going to care about the films I made or didn't make.

When you chat to people close to the end, careers, hobbies and passions pale in comparison to how much they wish they treated people better and spent more time with the people they love.

June 24, 2016 at 10:24PM, Edited June 24, 10:26PM

0
Reply
avatar
Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
824

Wow, thank you! He said in two minutes exactly what I'm talking about haha. I think everyone should watch this. This needs to be an "article" here on NFS.

June 25, 2016 at 10:55PM

10
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

Glad you liked it. I thought it was gold. I'm sure it was on an article somewhere. Not sure if it was here or somewhere else.

June 26, 2016 at 4:49PM, Edited June 26, 4:49PM

0
Reply
avatar
Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
824

I guess it depends on how you think of passion... I am passionate about being a mother but it is a far from glamorous life, it is burping a splotch onto your favorite blouse, smelly diapers, no sleep,etc. but also the best thing in the world. So if I say I am passionate about filmmaking it is not meaning the act that got me pregnant in the first place (and lets be real, that passion everyone likes anyway) but the full knowledge of how hard it truly is...

I think the problem is it becomes a "buzzword" and overused. But it just means become better at spotting the trendy from the 'real'... Like everything interesting in life, it attracts those who want just the glamour without the work...

June 25, 2016 at 3:20PM

0
Reply
avatar
Searean Moon
Director/Writer/Producer
209

Thank you, you understand exactly what I am saying!

June 25, 2016 at 11:03PM

16
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

I think we are who we are and there is no rewind in life, so are free to express ourselves as we see fit.
Sometimes we create something in the process

June 25, 2016 at 4:19PM

0
Reply

What?

June 25, 2016 at 11:28PM

0
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

"passionate
ˈpaʃ(ə)nət/Submit
adjective
having, showing, or caused by strong feelings or beliefs."
google define.

I am passionate about film.
No I don't throw the term around but I do hear it a lot from other, I don't doubt they are or they are not, I don't think it's important really.

I am passionate about making films because the process has helped me immensely with my personal life, it has taught me a great deal about life itself, about people, relationships and about the world and it is something that I sincerely love every single process of.
From conception to release. I love every part of film making.

I am passionate.

June 26, 2016 at 2:51AM, Edited June 26, 2:52AM

12
Reply

Well said, thank you for adding to the conversation!

June 26, 2016 at 2:37PM

0
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

I really don't see the need to get so cynical about this. Why get upset? What is really bothering you underneath all this?

June 26, 2016 at 4:02AM

0
Reply
Filmdudezero
Director
342

The only thing really bothering me at this point is someone who thinks they're a therapist automatically calling an opinion cynical instead of trying to see the opposing point of view and not even trying to have some semblance of an intelligent discussion about it.

I've been giving credit to everyone who has said something useful. From either side. You've just been defensive in lieu of adding to the discussion.

June 26, 2016 at 2:47PM

8
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

Cynical: distrustful of human sincerity or integrity

By claiming in the topic title we are 'pretending' I'd say it's quite cynical yes.

But if my questions bother you I'll refrain from the discussion. Didn't mean to do that.

June 27, 2016 at 6:57AM, Edited June 27, 7:20AM

8
Reply
Filmdudezero
Director
342

This has developed into an entertaining thread. Some interesting perspectives from both camps.

First off, I have to say, Nick, you certainly seem to be 'passionate' about your disdain for the word 'passionate.' I respect that passion.

But seriously, is the use/misuse of the word 'passion' (or its derivatives) consequential to anyone or anything whatsoever? As stated previously, whether you're 'passionate' or not is inconsequential. Is your WORK passionate? Have you expressed yourself through your chosen medium? I get what you're on about, Nick. I truly get it. I was once annoyed too when 'artists' spoke of their passion (or: craft, storytelling, etc) until something changed... I became too busy to give a f**k what people said let alone the words they used.

My theory is that the busiest guys/gals in the business are usually the most easygoing, supportive, carefree and accepting of the bunch. They're simply too invested in their own work to pay mind to anything else. The one's that are jaded, out of sorts and bitter are the one's that have the time to feel that way. As others have noted before, your words project an image that tend to exhibit the latter qualities; I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you're just in it for the friendly discussion (despite the odd belligerent tone, here and there). All the individual's in this thread have been just as open-minded as you claim to be. At least respect their right to ask their own questions/contribute their thoughts in return.

To contribute to your original post, I'd agree the word passion or passionate may be overused. I also agree it's most prevalent in amateurs... which makes total sense. Would it be fair to say all pros start as amateurs? Would it also be fair to say that all endeavors begin with passion (or at least the seed of passion, ie. keen interest)? It only makes sense that amateurs say they're 'passionate' about films/filmmaking the most -- they likely are (not to mention the sheer volume of amateurs vs pros make this a given)! I don't think its a misuse of the term at all nor do I find it annoying (anymore, at least) or threatening. Filmmaking, as you've said, is an incredibly romantic vocation (not unlike every other artistic pursuit) and attracts 'passionate people.' The irony is that if passion doesn't evolve into pragmatism and action then passion only it shall remain. That, I find, is what decides whether you are a creator of art or an admirer of art. Of course the best artists are both, but that's a whole other topic. The epitome of passion is Nikola Tesla. If recorded accounts are correct, Tesla slept only a few hours per day (whether by design or by insomnia; I suspect the former led to the latter) and was sexual abstinent for his entire life in order to concentrate on his work. Tesla's antithesis is that cool kid at my film school that spoke of wonderful ideas he had, acted on none of them and got all the ladies anyway. I suppose the takeaway is, "Be like Picasso. Do your work AND get the chicks."

Thanks for sparking the conversation, Nick.

June 27, 2016 at 7:31AM

10
Reply
Braden
574

bravo!

June 27, 2016 at 12:18PM

12
Reply
Filmdudezero
Director
342

-Braden

I'd say you're partly correct. It's not that I have disdain for the word, it's just a word. I have disdain for the empty way people seem to use it. And the way it has become a buzzword to describe anyone pursuing, well, anything.

You said that I certainly seem to be 'passionate' about this thread and you would be correct. But there is so much more punch that you yourself have identified me as that instead of me running my mouth about how passionate I am discussing the overuse of the word. Which is how it should be. People should be able to either look at your work or dedication you have towards something and identify you as passionate. In my opinion, I feel that people who describe themselves with buzzwords like 'passionate' are mostly full of shit. Not all but most. Amateur or otherwise.

It's a very all encompassing word to throw at someone who might ask,"Describe yourself as a filmmaker." To which the filmmaker replies,"Passionate!" It's lazy. Is it wrong for me to want people to step up their game and either put up or shut up? Nope.

June 27, 2016 at 7:47PM, Edited June 27, 7:46PM

13
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

I think many people 'legitimize themselves' by using these buzzwords like it's an accomplishment in and of itself. People, generally, tend to to grow out of that at some point. I know on my own journey I had a moment where I thought, "Hey man... I've actually made something... what have YOU made that makes you think you can use the word X, Y or Z? Stop being a wanker and create something." Eventually that 'calling out' phase passed and you learn to grin and bare it. People will say what they say and all the people actually working on their craft can see right through the cheap-talk.

So is it wrong for you to want people to step up their game? Well... no, but also yes. Only because you shouldn't care about others and their self-given labels anyway (IMO). Let the talkers talk, sort of deal. Also, if moving other people to improve their work is truly of interest to you, I think you'll stand to achieve more by providing positive insight rather than derisive insight.

As I said, I totally get where you're coming from. I think everyone has felt the same way about this topic at one point or another. The only reason I cared to comment is because I think it'd be beneficial to encourage creators like yourself to, "Let the children play," and spend that energy on your craft instead.

June 27, 2016 at 9:53PM

0
Reply
Braden
574

This is more an observation instead of an opinion. Before the advent of writing, and then definitely internet/social media, our ancestors were passing down traditions, etc. through verbal means.

I wonder if there is kind of a shift in "storytelling"? In the video Dean shared above, where the dude says not everyone is a storyteller but our history wouldn't be where it is without people telling each other stories (now historical accuracy and stuff is another thread). Storyteller has become more of a title instead of people just telling each other stories and maybe that's where the conundrum is.

June 27, 2016 at 8:50AM, Edited June 27, 8:51AM

7
Reply

That's human nature. We are naturally a little self obsessed. Try it out when you go to a party and make small talk. Just ask questions about the other person and watch them go. :)

I don't think it's unique to film. It helps to understand that people have their own lives and problems. Nothing you do or say is going to make your "project" the center of their universe. 9 times out of 10 it will be a job and a job alone for everyone else involved.

I try to compartmentalize work and play. A lot of people do this. We get so mad when athletes don't seem to care about winning or losing. It's because they still did a good job and they are getting paid to do what they like. Very few people obsess over "winning". Michael Jordan was one. He was also famous for being a terrible teammate and calculating human being.

June 27, 2016 at 11:01AM, Edited June 27, 11:34AM

9
Reply
avatar
Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2989

All that to say, I think NOT obsessing is a life long skill that many have to learn. You notice the obsession in early/beginning filmmakers because they haven't learned how to compartmentalize yet. I just don't think it's a unique thing to filmmaking, everyone has to deal with that in some way. You either put your career over all else and risk losing much in the process or you compartmentalize and live a more well rounded life (one that won't have as successful of a career, obviously).

If you listen to older generations you will hear the latter as one of the "keys of living a happy life". So it's something I have been trying to do the past few years.

My three cents :)

June 27, 2016 at 12:15PM, Edited June 27, 12:18PM

15
Reply
avatar
Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2989

This :-)

June 27, 2016 at 10:47PM

11
Reply
avatar
Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor
824

I don't get why it's a problem, I am passionate, I spend a lot of time working and its something I love to do. Is that passion or not?

June 29, 2016 at 12:23PM

14
You voted '+1'.
Reply
avatar
Clark McCauley
Spaceman
1797

Oh, Mr. Frank Hernandez aka NinjaMonkey. How lovely of you to grace this discussion with your presence. Keep making those wedding videos brah.

June 30, 2016 at 10:15AM

0
Reply
Nick Rowland
Street Bum
731

lol

June 30, 2016 at 10:18AM

8
Reply
avatar
Clark McCauley
Spaceman
1797

Okay... I'm not gonna' lie. I scrub through NFS's main page everyday then I jump on over to NinjaMonkey's page to see who/what he's antagonizing next. It's a f**king addiction. And I know he's got his 'own thing' going on 'up there', so I feel a bit guilty in being entertained by his ramblings... but does that make me a bad person?

And, to be completely honest, the only reason I haven't reeaaaaalllllly leaned into this fellow (besides the 'up there' issues) is my fear that if I ever gain notable popularity my public posts will come back to haunt me. I mean, sure, it only takes people a glance to see what and who I'm reacting to, but all the same it's in bad taste.

Nick, Clark... you guys seem like cool cats and I'm sure you both are producing cool stuff (or intend to), but think of your careers and save yourself the embarrassment of dealing with a sick person's ramblings. I mean, if he cares THAT MUCH about what camera strangers are using then something is amiss. Hell, if Blackmagic cameras are so awful (yesssss.... I know that a 'leading rental website' doesn't find them fit for production. We aaaaaaalllllll know this now...) wouldn't you encourage your competition to use it all the more? Of course, that's if you believe that a camera is what will get you work or substitute for a lack of talent in other, more essential areas of filmmaking. I've literally read dozens of posts where NinjaMonkey kicks open the door to tell everyone how unprofessional, amateur, stupid and jealous they are of his knowledge and skills. To that I say to everyone, "LET. HIM." As much as I find it entertaining it really pains me to see legitimate filmmakers give him attention and their precious time. Yes, I know it's like having antelope leap right into a lions mouth. So easy. So savory. So... so... unnatural. Instead, have a Coca-Cola. Embrace a loved one. Shoot some wicked films with a drone (or not), a God-awful Blackmagic (I ADORE my BMPCC), a cellphone (Galaxy S7... mmmm) or even a fancy-ass Alexa. Just don't bother with NinjaMonkey.

June 30, 2016 at 7:26PM, Edited June 30, 7:28PM

16
Reply
Braden
574

Great post, thanks!

June 30, 2016 at 9:25PM

0
Reply
avatar
Clark McCauley
Spaceman
1797

We should always help each other out in this lonely industry and allow each other to be open minded about these type of topics.
Its obvious the person who posted this is having a doubts of himself and it seems like a deep rooted issue.
Nick, dont doubt yourself, Keep going brother!
or if you dont want to keep going then thats acceptable too.

All those who posted that they ARE "passionate" have the kind of attitude that will get them to the place that they desire.
I respect that very much and Im glad your out there because it inspires me to continue being "Passionate".
Those who are "passionate" should form an alliance and help each other out & provide knowledge and constructive criticism, so we can grow as an artist or even as business gurus (Just like here in NoFilmschool.com)
Lets not pixel peep or put each other down, lets encourage each other to CREATE!

My point is to not tell Mr. Rowland that he is wrong, I partially agree with him.
Maybe YOU and the others who agree with his post ARE delusional or atleast passionate about the idea of making a movie.
You shouldnt generalize for all filmmakers out there, because that might discourage the next "Kubrick" or "Scorsese".
But then again those who are "PASSIONATE" will not allow a person on the web to discourage them from doing what they love.

"You cannot second-guess yourself as a Filmmaker" - Ralph Bakshi

Peace be with you and if this post resonates with you, lets connect and help each other out on this journey.

July 3, 2016 at 7:42AM, Edited July 3, 7:47AM

14
Reply
avatar
Abraham Marquez
Independent Filmmaker
184

If you are working in the film industry and you've survived long enough to become established, you are working to provide for you lifestyle and family.

At this point, passion is a something that you need to protect. If you burn out, you will find yourself working in a very competitive and challenging career and likely not have an alternative source of income.

Protect your passion filmmakers <3

July 3, 2016 at 10:55AM

0
Reply
avatar
Matt Workman
Cinematographer
271

THIS.

I kind of compare it to finding that new meal or food that you can't get enough of. Right now it's a crab sandwich (Crab Po Boy) from Newport Oregon. Seriously...I want one as I'm typing this.

The problem is, I have been around this block enough times to KNOW how it will end. I will default to it over and over and over again. After about a year I will just hit a wall and never want to eat another one in my life. I will burn out...completely.

This is the risk you run with being overly "passionate" in filmmaking. It's common to behave this way when you first start out. The real test is having the self discipline to scale it back and coast. That doesn't mean you produce total garbage. If you got that far then you are a skilled technician and lets face it, that's 75% of what filmmaking is. It's a very tech oriented job. If you know it, you can do it without using much "passion".

Eventually you learn how to manage that. Let it build up, work on stuff that is nothing more than a paycheck but do good work. Just leave your passion out of it. The passion will build up and then use it on something that really matters.

I have experienced this enough to ensure that it works. I alternate between music and film. I will go "all in" on something film related and burn myself out. Then, I will find that I have a ton of built up creativity in music. After I use that up, the film juices have been dormant for a while, so they are back to full and I switch over. Back and forth.

I think it's key to have more than one art form to squirt those juices onto (cue laugh track).

That might actually be the most important factor in not burning out. If you really just need to "get it out"...do it! Just find another art form and see what happens. If you have two to alternate between, it helps keep them fresh.

It's worked for me, going on probably 7 years now. As of right now, I'm really burnt out on music. I sit down and...crap. Just, nothing good. Music that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (NinjaMonkey)

Film on the other hand, it has been sitting for a while and I can tell that I will have a lot of fun going back to it.

July 28, 2016 at 10:20PM, Edited July 28, 10:23PM

0
Reply
avatar
Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2989

Your Comment