I’ve spoken to hundreds of filmmakers over the years and one thing still holds true: The stronger their passion, the better their film turns out. This isn’t to say the more universally accepted their film becomes. In fact, some passionate films, while making a strong point or accomplishing the filmmaker’s mission, are not received well by the public.
The passion is what sparks the creativity and drives the filmmaker to improve his craft. Without it, he only makes films that are overt, obvious or expected. This same difference used to be seen between television and movie houses. TV was cranked out so fast, the plotlines were simple and the messages weak, while motion pictures took advantage of longer production schedules and a higher attention to details leading to the message.
Today, films are based on remakes and television is constantly rerun. Passion seems to be at an all time low.
I made an eChristmas Card this year, based on a specific passion that was stirring within my soul (Chrome is having problems playing some YouTube films at this time).
I received word back from several people who had very different perspectives on what I had created. One person voiced her disappointment, while another was excited that it caused her unsaved millennial to ask questions about how the message was related to Christmas – Which was the exact response I had hoped for.
Passionate filmmakers who have numerous untold stories that must get out into the public find it hard to receive a plethora of public response. Some filmmakers can’t handle the pressures from those who disliked their work and others change their work to meet up with the praises of the people. Both types of responses dull the passion and reduce the number of films released.
The passionate filmmaker, who continues to move forward listening to his heart, is the one whose films are emotionally gripping for the specific audience they made it for. An example would be the film Courageous. The Kendrick brothers know their audience well and found their film to be a huge hit within that niche. However, people outside of their audience, didn’t understand their fans’ passion for the story.
The Twilight Series had the same affect. Millions of people went to see the films and raved about them. But those outside of the niche market couldn’t understand what the buzz was about.
There seems to be only two possibilities for the filmmaker: finding the right audience to share his passion; or, altering the story to fit a larger audience, which might risk the level of passion that makes its way to the screen. Without passion few in the audience care about the story.
It’s the passion within the filmmaker that must deliver the message, for without it, the film lacks value. Said more simply, a passionate filmmaker can present a message that changes people’s perspectives and hearts. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true: Watching a film from a less passionate filmmaker isn’t worth the admission price.