I just wrote a long post about reality vs pretense in the presentation of self in media industries. It was spurred on by me looking through other blogs about filmmaking and filmmakers, and I was noticing the number of people whose self promotion has tipped so very much into presentious arrogance. I started the blogpost because I hit on a blog that was, how can I say this... it was coining phrases that in and of themselves were not unique, and presenting them as if it was the height of new. I don't want to openly refer to the blog in question so I won't use some of the completely googlable terms (I know nothing about the individuals involved, I don't want to openly leave a trail that could hurt someone's feeling..), but I'll try to fake the sort of thing it was doing. They had picked a term, akin to 'Proactive Filmmaker' and they weren't talking about it in a measured way. It wasn't like 'hey I think I'm a 'proactive filmmaker' yeah, I just get out there and do it!'. I mean, the sort of wording it was, it would be like if someone did that for real. They were talking about this coinage like it was as genuis as the theory of gravity, like discovering the two words together will radically change their life. But really if you heard someone do that or read a blog like that, someone saying 'I'm the Proactive Filmmaker'! I think a lot of people would think the same thing I did:
"Dude, most anyone who just goes out and makes films regular, they are by their very nature's 'proactive' and a 'filmmaker', you can't copyright that shit."
And it didn't stop there; their blog is full of stuff about finding the strength to be a filmmaker, having faith in blah blah blah and about if they get a five figure amount to start there production company it will be the beginning of a revolution. And yes, that bit is true... this blogger was one of those people who talk about starting a style/production/format/ethos revolution. Like they're planning on building new cameras that actually connect 10 people together, zap all the thoughts and imagery in their heads out via cables, moosh it together and they projects a load of random shit at a wall and call whatever discernable narrative that might pop out a movie.
That sort of thing really gets me thinking about self promotion. It's been on my mind anyway since the time to make a shift in one direction or another is on the brink, but this blog really got me pondering. I think it's really pretentious, really going into the sphere of ignoring a sense of your proportionate place in the industry, comparing yourself and a realistic assessment of whether you are a big deal or not compared to everyone else who are also talented and productive. I personally think that the work should be the focus of promotion, not the hollow choice of words describing the word as important. But then again, I noticed the blog, and had enough of a reaction that I thought about and wanted to write something. It may not be much use to the filmmaker in question since I think it's pretentious but I noticed. It wasn't films by the blogger that got me enthralled, it was just the self promotion. Imagine how much attention, and maybe money and work, they are getting off people who bought into that crap, who didn't just want to bitch about it. They are visible.
Self promotion is kind of like that Izzard joke about clothes n stuff. Any Izzard fan will know the 'looking hip, looking cool, looking groovy ... looking like a dickhead' sketch. It doesn't go like that obviously but the point is that looking cool and looking like a dickhead are polar opposites but on a barometer cycle they are right next to each other as well. Some people don't self promote at all, some self promote accurately, some frame how they present their work a little more impressively than their work and skills deserve but not to an embarrassing degree, some seem to frame their work so impressively that you wonder if it's a case of their don't know how little they don't know, and you want to pat them on the head for only seeing the tiny bits of skill and technique they currently know. And some self promote to such extremes you're in awe of them if they have the talent to back it up, and with the people who don't, you wonder if it's some piece of satirical genius living performance art.
Like the Izzard joke. Doing it really well and doing it really badly are both so noticeable they're pretty close to each other on the barometer despite being polar opposites in effectiveness. None the less they both get you attention. Ironically the doing it subtly, not embarrassingly and not impressively is somewhere in the middle, the part where you don't look awesome, you don't look stupid, but you also don't look noticeable.
The hard thing for self respecting people to get into about self promotion is that you might feel like a dickhead for saying stuff or doing stuff in the self promoting process you'd be embarrassed for your friends to notice, but if you don't are you completely invisible to anyone who might make a difference changing your career in a timely manner?
Either way, something promotional is on my mind which will be discussed soon. It's been on my mind for about a month or so, but I think it really is something to get out in the public sphere, an area of experimentation possibly. But more next week.
Anyway, this is a much shorter post than what I are wrote before this about different attitudes to self promotion, and how honesty, proportion, pretense and careful framing play into it, and then decided not to post. So that's an improvement - I'm self censoring. I'm sure some people will think that's an improvement :)
*I'd like to reiterate that 'Proactive Filmmaker' wasn't the term in question; me saying I don't want to lead readers back to the blog in question wasn't a double bluff or the like - if anyone does find someone talking about the words 'Practive Filmmaker' like they need a patent on some blog, that's an unlucky accident* In fact, the real term that was being used was even less interesting, original and useful than that!