Cinematic Employment vs. Cinematic Art

Above photo by Jakob Owens, Filmmaker and Photographer: LA/PHX. | | Instagram: @JakobOwens
Cinematic Employment vs. Cinematic Art

By David Worth


It’s simply not realistic to think that just because you’ve graduated from one of the best film schools in America or, for that matter from any of the other outstanding film school elsewhere on the planet, that you’re going to find work in the professional film industry.

Very often getting any kind of a foothold, even on the bottom rung of the ladder in Showbiz, can be as much “luck and timing” as being born the son or daughter of Cinematic Royalty. Just being at the right place at the right time wins out over a film school degree nearly every time.

Back in the day, I wanted to become a Cinematographer and attempted to join that Guild. The answer was “No!” Because at that time, Local 659 was a “father to son closed shop,” and you were either on the inside looking out, or on the outside looking in. I was most definitely the latter. However, by being at the right place at the right time that all changed…

But that’s another much longer and more convoluted story…

Allow me to pose a question: Isn’t going to film school becoming more like reading all of the redundant books on writing?

It’s been said, that if you need a book to become a writer, then you’re probably not a writer. So it follows, that if you need a film school to become a filmmaker, then you’re probably not a filmmaker! It follows that, if you’re driven to write, then you’ll become a Writer. If you’re driven to make a film, then you’ll become a Filmmaker!

What’s the worst that can happen? Whether or not you go to film school?

The answer is: Not getting a job in Showbiz.

Right! But today you have the option of creating your own job because the technology is there for you to do exactly that. You can get a DSLR and a GoPro, Wireless Microphones, Adobe Premier and/or FCP, and/or DaVinci Resolve and After Effects… Ta-da! Now you’ve become your own studio, and you can “Green Light” your own productions.

The next question is:

ARE YOU DRIVEN to do it?

If the answer is YES, then get some like-minded friends and colleagues together, only work on the weekends, so nobody has to quit their day job, and make whatever movies you want to make!

Don’t try to compete with Big Hollywood Productions. Instead, if you choose to become a Cinematic Artist, here are some of the possibilities that are open to you…

“The Artist explores philosophical questions about being in the world, heightened awareness of the mysteries that surround us and favoring intuition and poetry over rationality and logic. They consider the process of making art by playing with scale, the ephemeral quality of materials, the nature of time and language, and the relationships between the subjects that they create. The Artist proposes that that works of art can inspire us to contemplate and to question, offering more possibilities than certitudes, more curiosities than arguments.”

Doesn’t that sound much more creative, dynamic and doable than just another Horror Film or Thriller or Rom-Com or Web Series?

Today, we have the tools to Google views of distant universes shot by the Hubble telescope, or find virtually any fact about any subject known to man with a key stroke, yet how seldom are we actually awed by anything? Is there any awe and wonder included in the content of our films, or for that matter in the content of any of the films that we see being produced today?

Out of the billions of years of our planet’s existence, just consider what’s happened during only the last 25,000 years:

(A.) 21,000 years ago, the last glacial maximum occurred, with sheets of ice as far south as the Great Lakes, and covering what today is known as England.

(B.) 18,000 years ago, early humans began to cultivate plants, and herd animals.

(C.) 8,800 years ago the first cities appeared.

(D.) 5,500 years ago, the wheel was invented, along with writing.

(E.) 540 years ago, the printing press was invented.

(F.) 130 years ago the telephone, and 60 years ago the computer!

In less than 18,000 years, everything that has become our planet’s culture, our religion, our countries, our politics, our language, our education, our science, our music, our crusades, our inquisitions, our wars, our holocausts, our exploration, cultivation, and eventual the ravaging of our own planet, has occurred.

And here we are today with our iPhones and iPads, with the world at our fingertips, all knowledge is at our command.

But how often do we as Artists and Filmmakers pause to contemplate that what we call “civilization” is barely 18,000 years old, and we are standing on a planet that is 4.5 billion years old? A planet whose life forms have survived several nearly total extinction events, as well as millions of years of volcanoes and ice ages, and realize that the Earth will also survive the brief and fragile carbon footprint of our civilization.

Let’s put some Awe, Amazement, Wonder and Mystery into our Art and Craft as Cinematic Artists & Filmmakers!

Show Me Something Awe Inspiring!

Cinematic Employment vs. Cinematic Art

David WorthDavid Worth, MA has a resume of over forty feature films as a Cinematographer and Director and has worked with talents like: Clint Eastwood, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Shelly Winters, Roy Scheider, Dennis Hopper, Sondra Locke and Bruce Campbell. He has worked with indigenous crews from Hollywood to Hong Kong, Bangkok to Indonesia, Italy to Israel, South America to South Africa, Bulgaria to Romania and back again. He has taught filmmaking at Chapman University, USC, UCLA and at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. His three textbooks include, MILESTONES IN CINEMA 50 Visionary Films & Filmmakers and are all available at David’s website is



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