04 October 2009

The 44th Hyphen


As a fun little side project, and to give me a chance to write on a deadline, I've recently started writing television reviews for the splendiferous pulptone.com.  Every Tuesday and Friday I get to wax bitch-osophically on two of my favorite television dramas, House and Fringe

The addition of a new hyphen to my multi-hyphenate status has provided me the opportunity to empathize with critics, and to form a newfound respect for the profession. 

From the perspective of an independent visual storyteller neĆ© filmmaker, the act of criticism is absolutely essential.  Next to the act of actually creating a film, it is the finest school you could ask for, to watch others, and unleash informed indignation where necessary, and shower praise where warranted.

The necessity of a critical eye in self-starting, independent, non-schooled (I use the term "schooled" here in place of "educated" for a reason - I adhere quite intensely to the Samuel Clemens adage, "I will not let my schooling interfere with my education," as they are indeed, two different things) filmmakers is one that cannot be overstated.  While the greatest tool towards developing craft is the act of creating and crafting, the act of refining taste is through the casting of a critical eye on the works of those who have come before you, the works of your peers, and most importantly, your own work.

That capital-C Criticism has been lumped together with insipid, belligerent, and odious finger-pointing, masked behind the wall of internet anonymity is an indictment of a rather sad state of affairs.   To say, "it fucking sucked," is one thing, but to say why it "fucking sucked" is quite another.  It is one of the same issues I have with many documentaries - it is one thing to point out the evils and problems of the world, but a whole different can of worms to propose solutions.

Criticism is the artistic form of governmental "checks and balances" and an invaluable tool for the growing artist, one which allows you to explore your tastes, to propose alternative ways of doing things, and to find your voice in your own work. 

In other words, I dig the gig.

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