Art v. Commerce

 In A thought

I’ve been making videos for a while and ever since I first made any money from it, in my head I still always wanted to tell stories more than anything. But it felt good making some money from videos even if it wasn’t narrative. So the debate was always – “Art or Commerce?” Should I take another step in the direction of making art, something I love? or should I invest time into more commercial projects?

From what I have experienced, I still have not made a solid decision. I’ve definitely invested into equipment that will help me with client work, but in the back of my head I never let myself spend too much because that is simply not my ultimate goal. Whenever I buy something, I always rationalize, “yeah it will help me with client’s but will it help me with my filmmaking?”. Of course gear isn’t everything, but that’s a thought for another day.

I once had a client ask me “What is it you want?”. Something I think  many people in video work are asked, and I told the guy I want to make movies, I want to make something beautiful, and with merit. He seemed to love my answer, telling me I was the first “video guy” to have such high aspirations, which made him sure I was the guy he wanted to work with.

There was a time when I realized I was doing a lot of work for other people, perhaps too much. At the time if seemed like I had no time for art. I had unfinished scripts, incomplete ideas, and dozens of half written notes on my phone. It’s not a good feeling to think you don’t have the time to work on the things that were your driving force for so long. Since then, it’s been a little better but I’ve also met so many new people that would like to work and balancing the time do it all has been a mess. Luckily I’ve been blessed with more creative jobs, so now when I talk to clients I tell them I’m a filmmaker first, and a videographer second.

 

(Two stills of videos I filmed. Left was for someone else, right was for myself.)

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Comments
  • Emily Frazee
    Reply

    This is so incredibly important to consider. The path to being a filmmaker is filled with great uncertainty, and it’s a tough decision between making money (necessary..) and doing what we love (while also being able to make money lol). I think you’re doing amazing things. I believe all of your work with clients and videography is extremely beneficial to building relationships and networks. You work with so many different people and are gaining so much necessary and relevant experience (while often creating visual masterpieces, even if they’re not narrative). Keep on doing what you think is best, the right opportunities will arise when they’re meant to!

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