If not amateur, then what?

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TimStannard
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If not amateur, then what?

Post by TimStannard » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:24 pm

In a hopefully more lighthearted vein ...

Having, very grudglngly, accepted that the word "amateur" has connotations of poor standards among some people, I'd just like to state my dislike of the term "non-commercial".

It's perfect for describing how one may use material (free for non-commercial use) and it is an accurate way of describing the films most of us make - they are made without any intention of making any profit. However, the terms "non-commercial film" or "non-commercial film maker", also carry their own connotations.

First and most obvious, if something is described a "non-commercial" the reaction among some people (exactly the same as "amateur") is that it is not of a good enough standard to be worthy of selling.

Second, if the above is ignored, it may be assumed that the maker has chosen to call his/her work "non-commercial" because they realise it is not good enough; it's an excuse, a sort of pseudo art.

Third if we ignore the above and belive the film maker is competent, it can carry an air of arrogance - "my work isn't suitable for a general audience - they won't understand it".

So, if not, "non-commercial" then what? Hobbyist (sounds like somone tinkering with films rather than making one - would certainly fit me, but not, I think BIAFF diamond winners)?
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it

Mike Shaw

Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by Mike Shaw » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:55 pm

The best description I ever saw was a few years back by the Kent Film Festival publicist at the time - Alan Smith.

He said the festival films were (to be) 'Made for fun, not for profit'

Now if you can concoct a single word to cover that (I bet the Germans could do it with their portmanteau words... :) ) ...

And then turn it into a noun as well to cover the makers of such films ...

I totally agree that 'non-commercial' means - 'has no sales potential - not worth trying to sell'. I think I said that somewhere else on this forum.

Word invention time ... the Yanks do it with ease whenever their Funk & Wagnell lets them down. The Germans just bolt words together.

Time we had a go!

ADDED: Note - 'not for profit' also implies that the films can be sold - for charity, or to recoup costs involved in mass reproduction - but 'not for profit' ...

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Dave Watterson
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by Dave Watterson » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:29 pm

Please let us use this thread to suggest positive ideas and not re-hash debates about the meaning of "amateur" and so on ...

At one time or another each word in the IAC title has been decried as old-fashioned and off-putting.
The name was concocted 80 years ago to sound impressive. That approach was a strategy for many years. It was felt that formality and even a certain degree of quaintness gave added dignity to what is, after all, a hobby group.

Language changes ... despite dictionaries, teachers and all attempts to resist it. We have to roll with the flow.

Are we cinematographers, videographers, film makers, movie makers?
Lots of people dislike "movie" but is that not the essential element in what we do, whether we shoot with camcorders or make AV sequences? We make moving pictures.

Is there a positive term to replace the devalued word "amateur"?
The European usage "author" is neat because the idea that the film or sequence is at heart the creation of one person, whereas most commercial ventures are subject to some degree of group or committee control. Let us avoid "non-anything" because negative definitions generate negative feelings.

What are possible alternatives to "institute"?
Association? Organisation? Group, Society

Forget "IAC" perhaps
It would be nice to retain the initials IAC, but not, I venture, essential. If freed from that constraint what might we come up with?

Over to you ...

john ingham
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by john ingham » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:47 am

I think we all need to see if changing the name will affect the charity status and how much work it would cause for the volunteers who run it

in my honest opinion..the title did not put me off from looking in and joining the forum, what could be updated is the actual logo, at the moment it would sit perfectly side by side with the old AA and RAC badge on a 60's car bumper..

actually having the words "The Film & Video Institute" says it all
Keep trying, for one day you will get it right

col lamb
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by col lamb » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:25 am

Whilst I dislike any reference within the IAC to the term amateur I do like the logo, surely a simple name change to the International Association of Cinematographers - The Film and Video Institue would be sufficient to rid us of the term and to move forward.

Then develop the consitution along the lines of a self funding movie making association of like minded individuals and clubs.

To emphasize the point we just have to look at the credits on many movies submitted to BIAFF to see the amount of effort and hence costs associated with movie making by the many, many people involved in getting the production out of the idea stage onto the screens.
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Ian Woodward
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by Ian Woodward » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:36 am

John, you say that the institute’s title did not put you off “looking in and joining the forum”.

And yet you don’t appear to be enthusiastic enough about the IAC to actually want to become a member.

Is there anything in particular that deters you from joining the ranks of all those paid-up members who have been so generous in offering you the benefit of their considerable expertise over the past months?

john ingham
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by john ingham » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:29 pm

Hi Ian..yes you do deserve an answer.... in one word money..





john
Last edited by john ingham on Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Keep trying, for one day you will get it right

Mike Shaw

Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by Mike Shaw » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:53 pm

Stay posting and keep using the Forum John! It is freely open to everyone, not just IAC members - and join IF you want, when you want.

It is by getting the views on non-members we can see where things need sorting to make the IAC more attractive to film-makers.

I don't think for a moment Ian was being critical - just wondering why you hadn't joined as you were being so supportive (though I shouldn't speak on Ian's behalf!).

john ingham
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by john ingham » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:12 pm

There are many reasons why people don't join any organisations, mine was financial (something i didn't want to advertise on an open forum)( but sadly, felt i needed too) that alone will not look good to attracting new members...
I do love this forum and the help people like Tim Fred and many others have offered with a kind heart....

but with lee's remarks, i just feel, if i am not a Paid up member than i should not talk about IAC issues...

i don't want to let this get into some sort slanging match.... If forum members feel non members should have no say.... then so be it

The real question that does incorporate both threads is how do you attract new members ........ Ummmmm
Keep trying, for one day you will get it right

Mike Shaw

Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by Mike Shaw » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:24 pm

I'm sure forum members do NOT think that way at all John - like I said, keep posting, and keep asking the questions.

It is a free forum. Dave will confirm.

(Chrisbitz - whom you'll have seen posting on the forum - isn't a member (any more) either - but his posts are welcome just like yours, because they help to show why the IAC is floundering at the moment).

And - sorry to hear about your Mum and the financial difficulties - this is not the best time for that sort of thing to crash down on you! Hope things turn for the better sooner rather than later.

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Dave Watterson
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by Dave Watterson » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:14 pm

John - your enthusiasm has brought fresh life to several parts of this forum. We value you and your contributions to the debates. I suspect Ian was trying to make all of us focus on the reasons why we did or did not join IAC ... and not a personal attack. He is not that type of chap at all.

I joined because I wanted to be part of an organisation that supported my hobby. I did not expect to get anything tangible from it. In this more material age younger people are less inclined to join for such abstract reasons. I don't take advantage of things like copyright licences or public liability cover. I read the magazine and regional newsletters with interest.

One aspect of IAC which I find honourable and worthy of great respect is that it does not make things like its competition and festival exclusive to members. It does restrict its help and support strictly to members. In its heart it does do its best to help everyone interested to become a better film maker.

john ingham
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by john ingham » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:00 pm

No problems.
Last edited by john ingham on Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Keep trying, for one day you will get it right

Ian Woodward
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by Ian Woodward » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:27 pm

John, as the original thread was headed Attracting New Members, I thought your views might be illuminating, because attracting new members such as yourself - and I’m always bowled over by your enthusiasm and hunger to learn – is what it’s all about.

Maybe it’s my failing, but it didn’t even enter my head that it would be for a financial reason; I thought perhaps you still needed a bit more convincing.

So I really do apologise if you took my question in a way that wasn’t intended.

Please don’t take a back seat: keep your messages coming because they’re usually quite infectious and often raise a smile!

Ian Woodward
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by Ian Woodward » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:44 pm

I forgot to mention, John – my mother also had Alzheimer’s and today my daughter, who was very close her to grandmother, donates a monthly sum to the Alzheimer’s Society.

I know from personal experience what a painful, frustrating illness it is, and how it must be confronted full on, and this in itself is exhausting beyond words.

You seem to be well organised and on top of the situation, which is the important thing.

john ingham
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Re: If not amateur, then what?

Post by john ingham » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:57 pm

No need to apologise Ian,
Last edited by john ingham on Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Keep trying, for one day you will get it right

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