By now, you’ve seen behind the curtain. You notice the work that goes into making a movie, you’ve probably made some movies yourself. With that, you’re starting to notice the key elements of a film; score, photography, acting, writing, the blocking of the sequences, editing, and so on. You may have also noticed the way you talk about movies is changing as well. You’re beginning to isolate people with the things you’re starting to understand, things that everyday movie-watchers don’t even notice.
Believe me, it happens to nearly every filmmaker at some point. You become obsessed with the the puzzle, and studying film, and you surpass your friends’ understanding, crossing into the process. The same friends that you’ve built relationships with around movies. You risk looking like a snob or elitist, and in turn those friends don’t enjoy the conversation as much as they did before. It’s a difficult line to tow, because you’re expressing your passion for the material while being oblivious to how esoteric your passion has become.
You’ve hopefully touched based with other filmmakers with whom you’re starting to build relationships. Other people who, not only love the established high profile Quentin Tarantinos and Paul Thomas Andersons of the world, but also love the Jason Eiseners and David Gordon Greens, and champion the catalogs of these filmmakers with you. They’re also the ones that can name the first cinematographer they took notice of (Bill Pope for myself,) and key creative talents that helped shape their love for the craft. Your film family turns you onto the work of filmmakers you’ve never heard of, and films that you might have missed somehow. Together, you discuss the past, present, and future of cinema with an unrestrained passion that’s like a roundhouse kick of dopamine to your brain.
Your film family is important, they save the people in your everyday life from being beaten to death with information that means absolutely nothing to them. At worst, you come off as a snob, and at best, you may spark an inkling of interest. These people have no real desire to understand the process, but instead just want to enjoy a great story. This doesn’t mean that these people in your life are not enjoyable, or even valuable to your life. Quite the opposite, these people offer the most incredible input on your work; the everyday film-goers opinion.
Find your film family to geek out about the process, find your friends to geek out about movies.
In any situation, it’s important to recognize the audience, and to tailor the conversation to their understanding. You wouldn’t talk about engine combustion with someone who simply likes to drive, why should you talk about cross-cutting with someone who just loves to watch movies? I find making the first viewing of a movie to be for the sheer enjoyment of what it is, then I watch it again for the study of the process that went into it. Talk about that first experience with your friends, talk about the subsequent ones with your film family.