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Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:30 pm
by Brian Saberton
Cinematography - "the art of making motion picture films" is the definition in my Concise Oxford Dictionary and seems to me to sum up pretty succinctly what most of us try to do. If the word is out dated no-one seems to have told the professional film-making sector so I don't think we need to worry too much about it. As for changing the name of the IAC I've been involved in a few organisations that have changed their names in an attempt to keep "up to date" and in my experience it has been largely a waste of energy, a waste of time and a waste of money and has made little or no difference in attracting new members. Frankly I doubt if it is possible to come up with a new name that would embrace the world of film making and audio visual, be agreeable to all and slip easily off the tongue. The initials "IAC" work well and it's easy enough to describe what we do if asked.


Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:08 pm
by Mike Shaw
Deep down I'm inclined to agree.

Explaining the IAC/FACI arrangement, and trying to ignore the 'Amateur' bit from the expansion of 'IAC' is an ongoing 'oh not again' problem though, that it would be nice to nail once and for all. They're questions that are asked every time when 'selling' the IAC at, for example, 'Ambassador' trips.

There's also the fact that if we all agreed to drop the subject now, sure as eggs are eggs, as the months and years go by, it will be raised again and again and again.



Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:44 pm
by ned c
I suppose like any aging diva I am permitted more than one final farewell comment.

If anyone feels that the word "amateur' is still relevant to the IAC and the BIA (Amateur)FF then a quick read of the article in the current issue of F&VM on the making of "Vicious Culture" should raise some questions. A film made by a professional film maker/actor and three professional actors wins the top award in an amateur festival, something that should be excluded by a careful reading of the rules.

Now, don't misunderstand me, I am not objecting to this but rather suggesting that times have changed to the point where the profesional wants to make movies for fun and enter them in Festivals. We have recognised this for years at AMPS where the status is defined by the intent of the movie (i.e. non-commercial) not the status of its makers. This is another reason why the term "amateur" has to go, added to its meaning in the world of film where it is used to define incompetence.

THe Welsh Rugby Union was famous in the fifties for the payment of amateur RU players (I could have played for Wales but they never asked me) and of course there was the shamateurism of the Olympic Games. So are we now a bunch of shamateurs?

The definition of "cinematographer" used by Brian is completely out of date, a cinematographer is the person who is responsible for the art of recording moving images, a well defined and limited activity, he/she is not he "film maker."

Sigh indeed as we watch the IAC fade into the sunset.

ned c


Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 9:01 am
by Mike Shaw
Not sure the IAC is going to fade all that easily Ned, but I do agree with many of your points there: supposing Spielberg wanted to join a 'local video club' and make some movies just for the fun of it ... would he be banned? I doubt it, thankfully: think how much the rest of us could learn. He is quite definitely no amateur, but his films (for said club) would be, presumably, on a 'non-commercial' basis.

Alan Smith created a byline for the Kent Film festival a year or so ago which I thought summed it all up - "Films made for pleasure, not for profit".

I think maybe you have already mentioned this, but the term 'non-commercial' isn't all that clever either - it rather suggests (to me anyway) that the film, by being non-commercial is so bad it wouldn't sell...

As Dave has pointed out, there seems to be only negative ways of saying all these things (non-x, not for, and so on). Which is a big part of the problem.

There has been quite a number of 'amateur' movies shown at IAC events where professionals of one kind or another have been involved - freely - in the making. Like Ned, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that: our aim is to make films for fun, and learning from the pros - making films with the pros on hand - is to me part of that process.

Here's the problem. Someone makes a documentary that many other people are interested in - and would like to own. As 'Amateurs', by the current rules, they mustn't sell those films - as that would make them 'commercial'. So they have to either print them off and 'give them away' (at whose expense?), sell them for the production cost (but that would still make them 'commercial', wouldn't it?)' or accept 'donations'. What a weasel! (Old advertising biz phrase).

If lots of people want to buy a copy of someone's 'Amateur' film, why shouldn't they be able to? There are many films I've seen at BIAFF and other events I'd love to have a copy of - to study techniques etc as well as simply to enjoy watching again. I suspect this starts opening up all kinds of copyright and Royalty problems - so its an area of eggshells and broken glass, I'm sure.

I personally think the definition should embrace the 'made for fun, not for profit' concept - then it doesn't matter who makes the film. And some of us rank amateurs (and I mean me, in every sense of the word amateur you wish to apply) may learn a little more: the playing field may be tilted a bit against us novices - but hey, best way to learn - and improve - is by being in amongst the pros.

In my opinion.


Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 10:51 am
by Lee Prescott
Fascinating by the day this subject of changing the whole of the meaning of IAC! Folks, that title, with all its past respect is quite outdated. Surely it must be changed even if the I the A and the C remain. The "A" no longer applies in virtually every scenario for starters.
Ned's comments are quite on the ball as are those of Mike. Re Brian's comment about the word "cinematographers", my argument is not about the meaning but one of general understanding. Note: A Photographer it is known is a person who takes photographs - (Wedding Photographer), therefore Cine(ma)PHotographers it's understood by all those of my acquaintance as being a person who Photographs films - i.e. moving images. As for a new IAC title - please see my previous Post-ing. On the reverse of my Membership Card it states that "Holders of this card are AMATEURS ......." Now that of course is true BUT Brothers and Sisters, the word "Amateur" does absolutely nothing to help in many circumstances. Much better if it stated something like: "Holders of this card are members of the Independent Accredited Cinemaphotographers"......or "Independent Association of Cinemaphotographers"

Lee. ["Fellow of the Accredited Cinemaphotographers - Independent"!!!!!
"Fellow of the Association of Cinemaphotographers - Independent"!!!!].....WOW!

P.S: To Dave: DO any, any at all, of the hierarchy read any of these posts?
Unless I've missed something I cannot find any name that "rings a bell".
I must admit though that except for three people I haven't a clue who is on "Gen.
Council", has anyone else?


Posted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:20 pm
by Dave Watterson
The main website lists the IAC Council at

I can spot at least five Council members on the Forum membership list. There may be more. It can be hard to tell, because so many people choose to use strange names when they sign up.

It is also possible to READ the forum without registering. To WRITE you must register.



Posted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:08 pm
by Lee Prescott
Many thanks Dave for your response. Forgot of course that some folks hide behind a misnomer. Me, I'm ME as you er -- know! Anyway, I still can't recognise the others to whom you refer! Obviously the fault then is mine. Would it be an impertinence to request that you respond by giving the names of all on the council? Surely none of 'em want to hide that fact? i.e. Mr. A. Mr B et al? Oh and as an afterthought, exactly what each persons function is. Ta!



Posted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:31 pm
by Dave Watterson
Come on, Lee! What did your last slave die of?

At the top of the forum are some links. The second from the right is "Members". That offers a list of all registered forum members. You should be able to find several council members there - using their normal names.
- Dave


Posted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:38 am
by Brian Saberton
Is it just film-makers who have a problem with the word "amateur"?

Here is a quote from a caption in the sports page of today's paper: "Jeung poses after receiving the silver medal for being the lowest scoring amateur at St Andrews" referring of course to the conclusion of the Open Golf Championshop yesterday. Anyone who watched the coverage yesterday will know that the young Korean concerned was referred to throughout as an amateur golfer with no suggestion that he was somehow a lesser mortal than his professional counterparts.


Posted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:43 pm
by Mike Shaw
I think 'amateur' has a different connotation when applied to anyone involved in creative pursuits compared with those in other 'non-creative' activities, such as, say, of a sporting nature, and therein, probably, lies the problem.

The trouble is, I'm sure, the misreading of the word 'amateur' as 'amateurish' where anything creative is concerned: for some reason, such misreading doesn't seem to occur where sports are concerned. Perhaps that's because sporting results are more 'definitive - someone wins, gets a low/high score, and that's it. The result of a race (for example) is definitive, so judgement is finite and non-subjective. With creative work judgement is very subjective: if it weren't, then every judge would agree with every other judge every time. But we all know that doesn't happen. Even the 'pros' don't always agree on judgements of creative work.

Surely it is the (mis)interpretation of 'amateur' as 'amateurish' where subjectiveness is involved that is at the root of the desire for a name change?


Posted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:58 pm
by Lee Prescott
Hi Dave, Sir:: Corrected again hey, past time I retired from the fray! To answer your question: My last "slave" died of overwork and underpayment - 'they' said he "woyn't a

8) :
Hi Brian: Dunno about Mr. Jeung but "golf" other than it appears to be "a good walk spoiled"!
Seriously tho' cosider again the Dictionary definition I previously copied in here. No matter what the Jounralists view of Mr. Jeung is, it does not alter the fact that the word "Amateur" is treated with disrespect when the likes of myself and others, I noted Michael Slowe's comment, when endeavouring to gain co-operation from within various "professions"!
Incidentally I would also add that I ran into this repeatedly from companies when I was voluntary Advert. Manager for FVM! Usually doing fine until they asked what IAC stood for! For these people "Amateur" is as "Ham-ateur" as applied to Ham Acting!

I again have to state that I agree entirely with Mike's last Posting above.

:? Lee.


Posted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:02 pm
by Lee Prescott

Oops again: sorry mistyped our Eurospeak friends might say: "das Vinger Poken Problem"!