Passive Watching or Engaging the Viewer

In 2010, I watched for the first time, Errol Morris’ documentary “The Fog of War”. This insightful film introduced me to an engaging alternative to the traditional interview style of the subject looking off camera.

Somehow I’ve never really felt comfortable with the subject looking off camera – as though I had become a passive observer of a discussion taking place with someone else. 

I wanted to feel as though I was being spoken to – engaged in the dialog directly.

To illustrate my point, below are two frame grabs from the film of interviews done with former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

The first image below shows the established looking off camera interview style:

Next is the technique of direct engagement of the person being interviewed by looking into the camera:

To me, there’s a major difference in how I respond to each image – and when watching the film.  The first image: I feel as though I’m a passive observer, almost intruding on a discussion between the people involved in the interview.  The second image: gives me a sense of direct engagement – as though I’m being spoken to directly about the topic being discussed.

As a multimedia journalist and short form advocacy filmmaker, it’s my job to tell my clients story to the viewer.  I have found moving to the looking into the camera lens style for interviewing my subjects in clients projects has raised the bar of quality in my work  – and my clients have commented on how unique and engaging the final project appears to them.

Since meeting the clients needs is my job, I’m content with that.

Photographers Quit Your Whining

Over on APhotoEditor, there’s a posting about the so called REAL state of being a professional photographer (I also see this applying to multimedia journalist)

After I say “Get out of the way if you can’t take the competition

I’ve been at this for a very long time and I’ve seen drastic changes come – at one point I gave up being a photographer for 10 years due to the cost of high entry cost barrier moving from film to digital, but I’m back at it hard core and realized I HAD to make it work – it’s what I love to do and I’m willing to give my clients the best I have to offer – and be true to myself as a businessman.  There are no guarantees in ANY profession.  If I’m going to do something – it will be something I truly love doing.

To the others in this field, If you can’t make the commitment to yourself and do whatever it takes to make it a success, maybe you should consider a different career.  Being in this field is not for the faint at heart.  It requires a level of commitment and courage to yourself in running a business – along with the ability to be an artist at the same time.  Not everyone is cut out for this.  I’ve known I wanted to be a visual content creator – first as a photographer back in 1977, then 2007 as a video journalist and since 2009 as a multimedia journalist.

You can hire someone cheap, but it’s my belief – and this has been shown time and time again, you get what you pay for when you go down that path.

Add to the equation of my shooting solo – and producing compelling content as a Solo Multimedia Journalist – that requires more than just a business sense or artistic sense alone – that requires a level of continued commitment to doing WHATEVER it takes to be different from the rest of the pack – and that allows me to bring that level of commitment to my clients projects.

The bottom line is this:  You have to ask yourself what success means for you – not what it means based upon the rest of the worlds definition of success.  Once you can answer that question truthfully to yourself, then you can make an informed decision.

David Hobby

using an assistant as a “voice activated light stand” gives you all kinds of opportunities for different lighting directions.

Seth Godin

the exhaustion from overextending yourself creatively is some of the best exhaustion you will ever feel.