A friend of mine got an idea a few weeks back. She’s a creative person, studied photography, hangs with artsy types, and knows a guy who owns an art gallery or something. Her idea was to hold a small, local, short film festival. She was going to invite people she knows to make a short movie, submit it, and get together and watch the films together. That way, creative people could meet one another, discuss, maybe collaborate, whatever. I was invited to produce a movie for the festival.
I don’t consider myself a very creative person. I feel like I have a lot of technical knowledge, but little in the way of ideas. In fact, working as an editor, I have always felt that if I sat down in front of a computer with a creative person and some video, we could make a great movie together, and quickly. So the idea of making a movie – writing it, shooting it, editing it, all of that made me a bit nervous. But right off the bat I came up with an idea. There is a background to this story, and I don’t want to get into it here. But the premise is that I would tell a story on camera, with cutaways of my daily life, about how I never got braces as a kid. My brother got them twice, but I never got them. It would show that while I never got them, I turned out relatively normal. But the more I thought about that particular subject, the less I liked it. I needed something that more people could relate to. The idea here was to be funny, and if you don’t care, it’s not funny. So then I decided to make a movie about trying to lose a little weight. I run, bike, have changed eating habits and things of that sort. I would show those things, and wonder why my weight hasn’t dropped a bunch. Then, the end would show me finishing up every activity with a giant beer and slamming it. But my on camera persona would still be dumbfounded. Then I liked that idea less and less. Why?
I talk to a friend of mine, Ethan constantly about taking photos. We both do it, we both really enjoy it, and we both want to get a lot better at it. One of the things that totally confounds me about people’s photos, and this will sound totally trite because it’s almost a joke now, is that so many are taking photos all the time of their cats. I can’t figure it out. Ethan’s theory is that people tend to be very stationary when talking photos. They take them from their couch, their desk, their kitchen. They don’t leave the house, walk around, look for something to take photos of. Looking around on Flickr will show you that. Sure, it’s a community site so people want to share their lives on it. But if you look at it as a ssample of what the world is capturing with their camerass, it’s relatively boring. I come across a few beauties on occasion, but it takes some serious searching. And the more I thought about my movie, the more I wanted to really, really make it stand out.
What I realized is that I wasn’t getting up and walking around looking for a story to tell. I was sitting at my desk and snapping photos of what I have on top of it. I was standing in the kitchen taking a picture of the the moisture from the dryer on my back door. And my movie ideas were exactly the same thing. They were all about what is easy to me. They took no real work, learning, or risk. They were about me. I’m an easy subject for me. And as I can see when I really look closely at what happens here, I’m not all that interesting. And that’s not me trying to put me down, but I’m pretty sure I’m far more interesting to me than I am to anyone else. And I’m not going to tell you that I have this site because I want to write for myself. I want to become a celebrity. I want people all over the internets to recognize my name, and know exactly where to find me. So I’ve decided that making a movie about me – and writing about my life – just aren’t going to make people remember me.
It’ll take some thinking, and maybe some outside help from people who know these things, but I need to figure out what will make me more marketable. Will I make movies and become known for entertaining that way? Will I become the coolest and best video blogger out there? That would take time, and as of this moment, I really don’t want to take a whole lot more out of my life. I tried the podcast thing, but realized that was just about me as well. So I have to find a niche. But not a narrow niche, a very broad niche. The qquestion is, where the hell is that niche?