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Holistic Thinking – Integrated MakingA Thirteen-point manifesto for educating creators of cinema and the institutions that teach them.
[After three scrappy attempts to collate these ideas here lies the final Manifesto]
The paradigms have shifted. The great wheels of perspective and process have turned and re-aligned themselves. They haven't done it alone. The cogs have moved with the binaural pressure of technology and expectation. The technology has given media makers new ways to create and new means to deliver. On their own these might not be enough to shift the paradigm of understanding and conceptualization over but with new means of creation and new channels of delivery comes new and evolved expectations of the viewer. An audience that has an increasingly sophisticated visuality and an ever broadening complex of psychological tools for comprehension.
And here the great turning of the wheels grind and shudder, for whilst the tools have evolved, and the viewer has evolved in their expectations of what the tools can make; the conceptual underpinnings of the institutions of cinematic teaching have not. The hierarchical, segmented, linear, sequential and stratified paradigms of cinematic assembly and comprehension still form the spine of teaching and learning about cinematic making – embodied into the bedrock of the institutions seemingly unshakable and unquestioned.
But, to persist with these engrained modes is inherently problematic and walks the path of failing the media makers of the future. There is no doubt that, in spite of these inflexible short-sighted pedagogical approaches at odds with the direction of cinema, media makers will always find their way forward into new cinematic possibilities driven by technologically. But what the future of media production requires is not more creators who know how to wield the tools but more creators who can wield the tools with an intellectual and conceptual deftness that prevents a diminishing of technology to its lowest, common, cinematic denominator.
Give any young person a software video editing system and their first product will invariably be a pastiche of every video effect, transition and digital hyperbole the system can offer. This is not just immaturity but rather a natural process that must be embraced. One must 'get it out of their system' before they can embrace a more sophisticated mode and process. Before they can wield the tool with finesse and greater emotional dexterity they must first feel its weight and wield it in earnest clumsiness.
But whilst the institutions that provide the foundation for shaping new media makers continue to be built from traditional and antiquated production and theoretical structures - structures fundamentally at odds with contemporary and evolving expectations and sensibilities - we in effect, create cinematic practitioners that leave their education and enter into creative lives still having not had the chance to get the digital hyperbole 'out of their system'. A generation of immature cinematic creators still dazzled by the power of the digital rather than intellectually and tangibly skilled in manipulating and shaping the digital into more meaningful forms.
In this light I present a thirteen-point manifesto for repositioning the education of creators of cinema and the institutions that teach them. Thirteen key areas that all media makers of the future must conceptually comprehend and tangibly be able to wield. Thirteen key areas that all students should be versed in and knowledgeable of. Not in substitution of established cinematic concepts but in compliment to them - The layer doesn't supplant the sequence; it enhances it. The composited image doesn't dilute the cut it expands its context. The animated doesn't overtake the power of the still. The virtual doesn't discount the real, it emphasises and questions it.
Here then I propose 13 elements, perspectives, cocnepts and approaches for building better cinematic artists of the future.