CAN WE MEASURE HAPPINESS* OF FILMMAKING?


*In this article I express happiness in terms of satisfaction with achieving one’s aims in filmmaking.


Two months ago I sent a survey out to filmmakers, asking them to clearly state the reasons they are still part of the filmmaking community. Also, I asked them for such details as years of experience, gender, country, aims, and how satisfied they were that they had achieved these aims.

Reading all of the answers (115 returned surveys from 35 countries) I can’t but mention the main feature I have noticed. I’m excited as it is great and it was not so obvious before this survey was started. Sure, it is not sensational, but it is worth announcing this. And… I suppose it is worth congratulating all of us who are called to make films, because …

WE ALL SPEAK A COMMON LANGUAGE. AND THIS LANGUAGE IS CINEMA!

…wherever you were from, Europe or India, USA or Iran.

Chart 1 MAP OF SURVEY

I state this because of the general consensus, I read the same inspirations in motivation answers from all over the world. And there were no substantial differences in the majority of factors. For example, filmmakers described predominantly the main reason they take part in the making of films as the desire to tell stories.

So yes, cinematography is a global phenomenon. And it is productive ground for collaboration and communication in the cinematography field.


As for survey statistics, it emerged that we operate with old stagers. Less than 40% of filmmakers have experience of less than 5 years (green colors in Chart 2). But the same percent is presented with veterans that have been involved in filmmaking for 10 years or more. These data gift the hope that our survey findings are verified by long years of our respondents’ experience in cinematography.

Chart 2


On the other hand, some particulars were revealed regarding the aims and satisfaction of the filmmakers. I publish the particulars that have an apparent character or seem like a tendency. I realize that the amount of obtained questionnaires is not enough to draw global conclusions. But I take into account datum that are too outstanding not to be noticed. I would aggregate all the particulars into the three distinctions.

Distinction # 1 The wind is blowing towards fun, art fulfillment, and knowledge

Distinction # 2 It is harder to be satisfied with money and film industry than your own inspirations

Distinction # 3 Caliphate in the world of cinema?


Distinction # 1 THE WIND IS BLOWING TOWARDS FUN, ART FULFILLMENT, AND KNOWLEDGE

The overwhelming majority of filmmakers choose fun, art fulfillment and knowledge as the primary aims in making feature films. Money is generally not a significant aim for filmmakers. Meanwhile, the satisfaction with earning money stays at a very low level. I hope that the difficulty of earning money for the majority of filmmakers is not the reason behind rejecting the goal of making money with cinema itself. And I hope that this dissatisfaction is not caused by greed.

 

Particularly, the issue of making money is more acute for poor countries. I use the list of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita to distinguish between the poorest and richest countries. I imply countries that are listed top or bottom. In fact, a half of filmmakers are unsatisfied with the funding in poor countries. But the difference between poor and rich countries is not critical concerning the ones who are satisfied.


Distinction # 2 IT IS HARDER TO BE SATISFIED WITH MONEY AND FILM INDUSTRY  THAN YOUR OWN INSPIRATIONS 

Among the factors defining satisfaction from the fulfillment of aims, I would put them into two broad categories: objective and subjective factors. Aims such as fun, art fulfillment and knowledge are of a subjective character, whereas recognition within the film industry and earning money are more objective factors and therefore impersonal.

Is it so rewarding to set a goal of earning money or being noticed by the industry? Is there any chance for success in the achievement of these goals? To put it mildly, the results broke the mould a bit, at least for me.

 


Distinction # 3 CALIPHATE IN THE WORLD OF CINEMA?

The disbalance of gender participation is obvious. Also, this can be verified with annual gender disproportion of male/female submissions for our Short Movie Club Film Festival. The above is true of for both traditionalist and non-traditionalist countries.


In the end, I want to make a conclusion that a sceptical assumption wasn’t confirmed. We live on the planet of happy filmmakers, not unhappy. And this happiness is the merit of its inhabitants, not money, or the industry…


— What are you looking for with such measuring? Do you believe it is possible to measure subjective factors?

— I’m not finding what we can measure but what we can not. I think that the main thing in art is not measurable. So we are looking for non-measurable things.


Author: Aliaksandr Martyniuk

November 2018