Like a 5 year-old!
Filmmakers ask me the same question over and over. How do I create? It is a great question and one that I enjoy answering. I recently gave six keynote presentations at CES in Las Vegas. When I got off the stage after my first performance, a group of three filmmakers came up to me and started asking questions. They thanked me for all the knowledge that I share and how much it has inspired them. I thanked them for their kind words. There was a group of people behind them who had many questions as well. Just before they were about to leave, they asked what I was doing for dinner. I said that I was having dinner with them. They were floored. I make it a point at the trade shows to leave one night for filmmakers. This happened to be their lucky day because they were the first to ask. Check out the young filmmakers’ blog posts about it.
Josh Gilson – Jonathan Prieto
We sat down at dinner and they asked me to explain how I create. I told them that I enter every film, commercial, music video, etc. as if I were a five year old, like I never have done any of this before. It is all new, exciting, a blank canvas, where all the brushes and colors to paint are fresh, unique and captivating. I told them I had the viewpoint of a five year old with the experience of 50 year old. They all laughed. Did I just say 50? Holy COW! Yes, on February 18th, 2014, I turn 50 years old. Many ask how could someone with all this experience at the tip of the spear feel so young? It all comes down to the five year old kid rule.
A five year old wants to try new things, not wanting to do what he has already conquered. This same process works because I have the same view on never doing things twice. It is also important as an artist to be selective, to not just do the first thing that comes in front of you. This is where the 50 year old rule is practiced. I have made this mistake a couple of times in my journey as a cinematographer and I will not do it again. You have to follow your heart and believe in your ability and the longevity of your career.
I thought it was fitting to mention the parallel of turning 50 years old to the number of cameras that was our recipe for success on Need for Speed – 50.
How I create is not based on whether I have a huge budget. My methodology is the same for a 200 million dollar blockbuster or a short produced out of the garage for two thousand dollars. The creative process is the same. I always work with what I have. Sometimes I have more, sometimes less, sometimes not much of anything. You have to get resourceful and look at the project from the eyes of a five year old. You cannot put a price tag on creation. Go out there and GRAB IT!
A Beginner’s Mind:
“To practice beginner’s mind means to open to the experience in each moment as if meeting it for the first time… without the intermediate layer of thought or comparison to the past; Because in truth, each moment is unique. Though you may have experienced a thousand sunsets, you have not experienced this particular sunset. The same is true of a lifetime in breaths… this particular breath and this particular taste will never happen again.”
“Is filmmaking fair?” The answer is yes. Is it equal? Not for one minute.
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