And no, I’m not talking about making colors brighter, either.
Over-saturation, or bloat, is when something becomes too full of similar or like-minded things. For instance, in 2012, and not including the very basic of indie movies, there were upwards of almost 4,000 movies created and shown. You might have seen 4 on average. Not to mention the sheer amount of media that has been created for other mediums, such as television (which accounts for 30,000+ new episodes of shows on all the various channels, or about 660,000 minutes (averaged) of actual production time (not commercials), that you may or may not have seen), music videos, animations, web series, and just footage compiled into some sloppy mess and thrown on to YouTube. When you consider this, you’ll begin to understand that we’re inundated with not only media of all kinds, but people who are in the business of making the media you’re watching (or not).
So you need to ask yourself a few questions at this point… Or, just let me help you out with that by providing you a list:
- Why in the hell would anyone want to make new media?
- What could POSSIBLY be my chances of making it in the filmmaking world?
- Do people really need this much stuff?
- Are we alone in the universe?
We’re suffering from bloat. And when i see new filmmakers emerging from somewhere, a process by which they might actually have attended film school or just decided one day that they want to make stimulating visual images move, I must ask myself, “Why do I want to do this?” It really is a legitimate question.
When new filmmakers come to me and ask why I make media, I instantly tell them that I love to do it. Should they delve into the question more, I will then explain my real circumstances. I don’t know anything better to do. Working non-stop for 16-20 hours per day to make my, or someone else’s, dream come true just comes naturally to me. I can see what people see. I can feel the emotions they feel for a scene. I love the idea when all is said and done – even though we’re over-saturated with other media bombarding us at all times – we’re going to have something that becomes our legacy. If just one person gets to see it and it changes their life forever (or for 20 minutes), then the work is done successfully. It’s something laid out to the world that can never be destroyed. Well, unless it was on original celluloid and it deteriorated over time… Then it’s a problem. Or a hard drive fails before you have the final edit done, wiping out everything you’ve worked so hard on. But I digress.
But then I have people showing up who just want to create. And while (I guess) anything that is created could be considered art, a lot of it is just plain, old shit. The problem is that no one stepped in to tell them that what they’re doing is either bad, broken in places (acting, story line, visuals, etc.), or just shouldn’t be done for any number of reasons. Many of the filmmakers think that they’re on to “the next big thing”, when in actuality, they’re not. Most of the time, when a filmmaker tells me about their story, I can cite several other movies of the same story line, in the same genre, and probably of the same feel. But then I run the gambit of what I like to call SLAPBACK.
Slapback occurs when you try to explain something to someone, even in a neutral tone, and they instantly do one of two things:
- They see you as a threat, disregard your feedback in any capacity, ignore your hard-earned expertise, and continue on the path to make the next, what they believe is, Forrest Gump,
– or –
- They feign like they’re listening to what you say, taking everything you say into one ear and out the other, and proceed half-heartedly toward their goal of making some poorly-crafted media.
It’s very difficult to get beyond slapback when it occurs. But I have learned that it needs to be done, and very honestly. To best achieve it, let the person know that you’re going to be brutally honest and that you don’t want this to damage your relationship. Explain what you feel about the movie/show, and that you want them to listen to you, especially if you have quite a bit of expertise in the field of making media. And encourage them to keep on trying. See, it’s that last part that usually makes the rest stick with them. “Keep trying… You’re almost there.”
Anyhow, the world would be a better place if we could not have slapback and people took our words wisely. They would try harder to create something better. They would strive to perfect what is now nowhere close to perfect. And ti would keep us from becoming over-saturated and bloated with all of the stuff we’re asked to watch on a normal basis.