Art or business? It’s make your mind up time.

Hi Film Folk!


Bright and early on this April Monday morning The Film Doctor Team have been talking about ‘film as art’ and ‘film as film’. We could talk about this matter until the sun explodes, so let’s narrow it down.

What are YOU doing? The script you’re writing now. The short you’re editing. The footage you’re shooting. What is it?

If you can’t answer then fall down the snake and go back to square one…because what you KNOW you’re doing, informs how you REPRESENT your work, which informs the audience’s PRECONCEPTIONS which AFFECTS their judgement during and after watching.

So what is it you’re working on? A film? An experiment? A music video? A commercial? Test footage?   Think about what each of those descriptions really means…

Even if you’re not looking for distribution for the 2 minute project you’re editing, get in the habit of accurately describing your work.

Is your project Art or a Film?

Over the years, The Film Doctor Team have seen many first-time/emerging filmmakers fail to deliver any substance in their projects. We have seen clever and visually stunning shots, innovative editing and glimpses of a very engaging subjects, but the films failed for one simple reason – no identifiable story present.  Now this is NOT a problem if you have mentioned in your theatrical viewing programme/VOD description/website text that the project is ‘experimental’ or ‘arthouse’ or ‘just a bit of random fun’ BUT the general audience expects CHARACTERS and STORY when they hear/read the word FILM…not a 4 minute clip of a mosquito sucking on a child’s knee to Metallica (art?) or time lapse of your dog rolling on the rug (fun clip?)

Label your project wisely in accordance with what it really is.

Often upcoming and producer-less directors will mislabel their work. The ‘Film’ they screen/upload focuses on style over substance. They play around with camera angles, lenses, filters, colour ranges and editing effects, forgetting along the way about the script or narrative required for a ‘film’. Instead they are accidentally creating art/experimental/video installations. This is fine if this was the intention, however if introducing the audience to a ‘film’ was what they planned then the end result is closer to a pretty picture book without a spine to hold it all together.

There are no rules for what you should do with a camera. There are no rules for what you do with the footage. You can make anything: ‘some footage’, a ‘music video’, a ‘short film’, an ‘experiment’, an ‘installation’ or a ‘feature’. But with every genre, title or label comes an expectation. Make sure you set the right one and make sure you fulfil it.


Monday Prescription No.12 – Know your project and then reflect it in your description.

Have a great Monday,



Watch this David Lynch short and think about how you felt going into it knowing it was David Lynch:

David Lynch is associated with art/experimental/abstract. You do not yet have the benefit of being a household name so INFORM the audience of what to expect!


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Have a great week!
The Film Doctor Team
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