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Posted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 1:26 pm
by Dave Watterson
Another thread about the titles FACI, FACI(M) and LACI developed into a discussion of the title for our organisation. That topic arises again and again, so I have copied the relevant parts of the postings on the FACI thread here, so that we can focus attention on the title.
-Dave the Moderator


Posted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 2:39 pm
by Ian Woodward
Thanks, Dave, for the history of how FACI came about.

So, in literal terms, it means Fellow of the Amateur Cinematographers Institute. Not a bad title!

By the way, if the Iinstitute does not like using the dreaded word Amateur in its title - hence, presumably, the favoured use of the abbreviation IAC, why not simply rename the company and use as its main title the name that is currently its sub-title, The Film & Video Institute?

Bigger organisations than the IAC have not been afraid to change names when it has suited their commercial needs (takeovers) or marketing strategies, from Midland Bank becoming HSBC to Norwich Union taking on a new lease of life as Aviva, for instance, and it would seem that none of this re-branding has been detrimental to their core-base customers.



Posted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:24 pm
by Lee Prescott
Hi Ian, first welcome to "the club"!!! I for one hope that you find it useful.

My view is that the IAC could and should get out of its Insularity, reorganise and widen, very much, its horizons! This would take complete new commitment, energy and a WILL to do so. This means that the somewhat "younger element" need to come to the fore, replace the so called General Council with new faces, new members and above all NEW IDEAS and get out of the "age old rut" currently in vogue and has been since the year dot!

Only in this way will the IAC advance for the benefit of all members young-er and old.

As to the title IAC! Always in the past it has been (erroneously) claimed that it was not possible to change the title being, as it is, a "registered charity". I researched this excuse quite recently and my letter on the subject was printed in the "Film and Video Maker".... The Charity Commissioners told me via their Web Site and on the 'phone, that any charity can change its title to a more "suitable" one IF desired WITHOUT INCURRING ANY COSTS!!!

Including myself many people dislike the word "Amateur" in this day and age of electronic None Linear Editing, (NLE), because what the word means, as per a quality dictionary, no longer applies. The proof is exhibited almost daily in the many none professional video films available. Further, presenting ones membership card in any professional circumstance, including the Police, as a statement of bone fide and honourable intentions often looses credibilty when they read the word "AMATEUR"! - From experience.

Lee Prescott. FACI.

[This message has been slightly edited to suit this thread. The full posting is in the thread called "FACI". - Dave]


Posted: Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:44 pm
by Ian Woodward
Hi, Lee, glad to hear that you too think a change of title for the IAC is long overdue.

Never mind the "Amateur" bit, I'm not all that happy with the "Cinematographers" bit either, though I realise it stems from the days when members were more into 8mm celluloid than memory cards and MiniDV tapes and all the rest of the stuff that I don’t understand.

But this is 2010, not 1932 when the Institute was first incorporated.

I’d rather tell any busybody official on the street, enquiring what I’m up to with my camcorder, that I’m a member of the Film & Video Institute than a member of the Institute of [er, cough cough] Amateur Cinematographers.

“That ain’t no film camera you’ve got there,” Mr Plod might say accusingly as I video the rush-hour traffic, “that’s a video camera if ever I saw one.”

So, technically, I’m a videographer rather than a cinematographer addicted to sprockets and editing cement (OK, I admit it, I started out years ago with 8mm film cameras and associated projectors and pull-up viewing screens), and therefore I feel very little empathy for the word Cinematographers in IAC.

Ian Woodward, FZS

[This message has been slightly edited to suit this thread. The full posting is in the thread called "FACI". - Dave]


Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:06 pm
by Lee Prescott
Hi Ian,

I would add that I too am concerned with the entire title of the IAC - re your comment about the "cinematographers" bit. But the rap I got about even considering the subject of changing the "A" for "Amateur" in the title tended to confirm for me that any suggested changes within the IAC must be taken at one stagger at a time! After all, 78 years is not very long to give consideration to such - or any changes!

Other folks have said that they've never had any trouble proffering their IAC Membership Card, (which is very useful), but I certainly have in "professionally controlled environments" and that has always centered around the dreaded "A" word! (Few understand the word "cinematographers" now. That bit the dust with the demise of cimema newsreels)!

From my 20 ton tome of a dictionary: "Amateur - Item 3/ 2 = Characteristic of an Amateur: -- "Unskillful" - "Not of professional standard". "Lacking skill or judgement".

How does that fit US these days?
For me therefore the "A" in the IAC now is, quite frankly an insulting description considering the excellent standards frequently, or virtually always achieved. Without "sounding off" I would just add that TV / Film Professional acquaintances of mine have often been amazed , (I live on the western edge of The Cotswolds), at the standards of "Amateur" video films I have exhibited and still do, in my area!


[This message has been slightly edited to suit this thread. The full posting is in the thread called "FACI". - Dave]


Posted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:27 pm
by Michael Slowe
Are the Powers That Be reading this thread I ask? Couldn't agree more with what has been written. I too have found the dreaded "A" word an embarrassment in certain circumstances. Let the judgement of our work rest on a viewing rather than a pre judgement based on the description amateur. The dictionary quote by Lee is so damning and that alone should be enough to prompt a change, especially now that someone has debunked the hitherto accepted mantra that the charitable status prevented a name change.


Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:35 am
by Mike Shaw
I'm 100% behind the idea of changing the name to the 'Film & Video Institute' -or, if it wants to expand its horizons, maybe even 'International Film & ... etc). The 'IAC' element seems so totally redundant these days. No doubt though, any such name change will be an expensive exercise - so many things to change everywhere from stationary and embroidered goods to signs and websites etc. And what happens to all the existing FACIs and LACIs, do they overnight become FFVIs and LFVIs? (Fuffies and Luvvies? ) :)

I also go along with the idea that younger blood and today-thinking is needed in the organisational corridors. If you can get it! (And I speak as one who is now on the edge of being octogenarian - with plans to withdraw from the tiddly little I do IAC-wise and make way for others when that magic number finally hits next year...)


Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:51 am
by Dave Watterson
This topic tends to provoke sighs of resignation from Council and other long-time members, because it comes up time and again. It is not that they are all against change. Some, of course, like the tried-and-tested name. Others would welcome a change for all the reasons mentioned in the earlier posts.

So far, no one has suggested a title that is good enough to replace the existing one.

Of the formal name Institute of Amateur Cinematographers only "of" is uncontentious!

For several years now we have been supposed to use the title:
IAC - the Film & Video Institute

This retains the familiar initials and adds a more modern explanation. But it still uses that old-fashioned word "institute", highlights the film versus video debate that has effectively ended with the dominance of video. (Yes, I do know there are a few enthusiasts shooting on cine film but they are a tiny proportion of the people making movies.) And it ignores the many AV groups and workers who are part of our membership.

All organisations of our sort face this dilemma.

In much of Europe similar organisations have dropped the word "amateur", but many have substituted "autor" or "author" ... since they apply that term to the sort of movies where one person is effectively the creative force. (That is the sort of movies most "amateurs" make.) But in UK and the USA we associate "author" exclusively with the written word.

Some nations - notably the Poles - have adopted the term "independent film makers", but in Britain and America that term has a specific meaning: "commercial film makers working outside the established studio system".

Some countries are keen on the term "non-commercial" to describe our work. That works, but defining ourselves by what we are not seems a little degrading. Some go for "non-professional", which has the same negative connotations and implies poor film making too.

Ideally the title should:
  • a) indicate the difference between between the range of work we do and the range of work done by professional film and television workers.
    b) cover all forms of moving image - including AV - without specifying the technology needed since that changes from time to time
    c) indicate that our work is not just about using cameras, but all the other skills needed
    d) sound attractive
    e) not become rude when abbreviated or referred to by its initials.
AND - I think we need to keep in mind that although we tend to talk a lot about the relatively few of our members who make great movies, the vast majority of members make holiday films, short comedies and simple documentaries ... and most of their work is amateurish, because not everyone can work to the highest standards.



Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:57 pm
by col lamb
Ah, a rose by any other name...............etc

Does our name really matter enough to change it, the cost alone of re-branding should surely be enough for any of you to throw the idea out?

The IAC is known world wide and do you really want to have not notify everyone who is involved one way or another on a global context that we are now the "International Association of Movie Makers" (wait we cannot call ourselves that as IAMM already exists), insert whatever name you want?

As long as we can grow and get more people interested and active in movie making then that surely is what matters more than what we call ourselves.

If you look at sites of the web such as Vimeo you can see thousands of movies made by people all over the world and in the UK alone there are many thousands making movies and posting them on the web. A very large untapped market, and it is surely more important to attract new active movie makers as members than it is to raise a name change. That alone is not going to entice many new members. One thing I strongly believe should happen is for our website to be radically updated to make it more attractive to prospective members. It should not be just pages and pages of text but should be a showcase of the best of the IAC .

On the subject of the "Institute", the Professional handle that goes behind my name has two occurances of "Institute" and I am very proud of that in that it took a lot of work and effort to get the membership of those great institutions.

Col Lamb


Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:50 pm
by Ian Woodward
I appreciate that probably the biggest obstacle in a name-change for the IAC is a logistical one, allied with a financial sting.

But at some point the IAC must embrace the 21st century and become reconciled to the fact that many amateur enthusiasts who make video films yhese days are, in quite a few cases, using professional equipment and producing work that a professional would not be embarrassed to admit as his/her own.

I notice on the IAC website that no overseas movie club (or none that I can find) use the word “Amateur” in the title; and, when referring to the film/video-makers themselves, opt for the more acceptable term “non-professional”.

The IAC should be renamed The Film & Video Institute of Great Britain.

This move would do three prime things:
1. send “Amateur” to the Recycle Bin;
2. elevate members’ self-esteem when they talk/write about the Institute; and
3. place the Institute smack-bang in its national context
(it is no coincidence that British Airways and British Rail are not called, say, National Airways and National Rail).

And, in terms of all those who hate change and pray at the altar of the Status Quo – and I don’t mean those who worship at the shrine of the purveyors of “Rockin' All Over the World" and "Whatever You Want" – might recall how quickly we got used to saying Beijing instead of Peking and Mumbai instead of Bombay.

In an ideal world, the IAC should be reincarnated as The British Film & Video Institute, but this might cause confusion with the BFI (British Film Institute).

Fellows could use the abbreviation FFVI.

So where do we go from here?

(he, Dave, who has probably provoked “sighs of resignation from Council and other long-time members”)


Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:44 pm
by Lee Prescott
I quite understand what Col is referring to but I do very much like what Ian is “saying”. As for Dave’s comments, I also more than understand the “sighs”, (or should it be gasps), of the anciently entrenched....! Personally I am of the opinion that that is where much of the criticism of the IAC , (including BIAFF judging) etc. results from. Anyway I offer the following:-

I selection: Independent. Incorporated. Impressionist. Incisive. Impeccable.
* Interactive. [Iconolatric even]!

A selection: Advanced. Accredited. Advanced. * Academy.

C selection: Cineastès. Cinémavérité.......or then maybe Cinemaphotographers.

* Buzz words these days.

Hum...I’ll think more about the C word when my head stops “splitting”! Or will I? Obviously
21st. Century, Video, Blu-ray, NLE et al or no – any effort would be a complete waste of time.



Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:57 pm
by Dave Watterson
I ought to have made it more clear: older hands sigh when the question of a name change comes up NOT because they are against it, but because lots of discussion over several years has failed to produce something significantly better. It feels like beating your head against a brick wall.

IF we could come up with a better title, I suspect the majority of Council and members would accept it.


Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:43 pm
by ned c
I suggest "Film and Video Association". Institute carries with it the implication of approved qualifications that function in a professional setting.

The Festival could be The British International Film & Video Festival (why not, sounds great?) just drop the "amateur", this would serve to attract a larger entry/audience and if membership of the Association offers real advantages/rewards to entrants then this would attract a wider membership. There absolutely has to be a Student section; this is the future; do not use age (junior etc) as a determinant. Student to include all attending a form of education from kindergarten to graduate school.

I prefer "non-commercial" (n-c) to "non-profesional" that carries a whiff of incompetence with it.

I have written on this subject for years and this will be last comment as it all seesm to be a waste of time.



Posted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:46 pm
by Lee Prescott
Hi Dave, Ned and All,

IF you just ponder what I've written above in my last Post you could perhaps string a new title from some of the verbiage thus keeping the full I A C initials.

The word "cinemaTOGraphers" it seems is outdated and not understood by Mr. "Joe Bloggs" & co: But cinePHotgraphers is! How do I know? Easy, I've done a "recce" and tried it out!

Lee. (The aged Youngster)!


Posted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:15 am
by Mike Shaw
I wonder ... has anyone ever considered that the name of the group/organisation/society/association does not have to stand for anything, letter by letter?

(MENSA for example - means nothing, except being Latin for 'table' - which on the face of it is irrelevant).

Just a name that sounds 'right', perhaps even apposite, with a sub-head explaining it all.

Thesaurus runs dry of alternatives for 'amateur', 'non-commercial', and so on. So why bother trying to find that which doesn't exist.