In many ways, and I say this often; the job of the filmmaker is relatively easy. They need to know their craft, but ‘filmcraft’ isn’t just technical or creative. Filmcraft is as much about knowing the technical aspects as it is about knowing how to strike up rapport with someone the moment you meet. To listen, to understand, to encourage, and to guide.
It is the people on camera, often the video interviewee, that makes the film. It is what they bring to the encounter – in terms of courage, in terms of willingness, in terms of knowing.
It is the people on camera that provide the energy and pace, the passion, and the buzz; the words and knowledge that can envelope and nuance with the b-roll (cutaways) and music, and tell a story that inspires, motivates, changes, encourages, teaches, or persuades.
From these words, the filmmaker’s responsibility is to immerse themselves in that energy, pace, passion, buzz, and knowing. To connect the hard edge of the technical, to the soft flow of story during the edit. To understand movement, transition, and developing the dialogue; but also how the right choice of music can take those words and elevate their emotion tenfold.
I’m sure many filmmakers will agree, of the experience of the world melting away as they connect with and work the edit. Time seems to gently slip by around you. You’re in that ‘zone’ where for that short while, nothing else really matters. It’s a buzz in itself.
But it’s the people on camera that truly make the film. They bring the humanity, they bring everything that enables the story to happen. They provide what is possible, they make the very ground upon which the film is built.
Without them the film is less.