Should We Forgive Artists?

During the whole Harvey Weinstein debacle I felt I had some kind of hazy responsibility to comment on it. So, I decided to wait until the dust had cleared and then comment, but, being the person that I am, another question arose within, after watching the response to the event. The question of “Should We Forgive Artists?” was probably derived from watching the art community cannibalistic-ally devouring its own.

I think writing about how you shouldn’t sexually assault people would be redundant and the moral of that essay is pretty self evident to begin with, but tackling the issue of art and forgiveness might spur us to much needed introspection.

Artists are people too. They are deeply flawed like all of us. The key difference between them and us is exposure. Whenever a public figure does something wrong, they are either ignored and ostracized, ignored and tolerated, or simply damned to Hell, seemingly on a random case-by-case basis. I believe that is what people struggle with. The arbitrary nature of accountability among public figures.

Artists are, for lack a better word, strange people. It is because of their unique way of being that we admire them. Should we forgive them? I think so, but that point stops when they transgress the law. The Law should not be arbitrary. Justice plays no favorites. However, when artists do repugnant things that do not break the law, we should forgive their faux pas. Another crucial detail to this constant mass hysteria is that we treat every tweet like it is anything other than a throw away thought. People say and do repungnant things. Status, wealth, and talent don’t protect artists from their own faults. As a general rule, you shouldn’t take anything at a face value, especially when confronted with creative types. They clothe themselves in irony, jest, and shock for effect. It is better to assume ignorance (and classlessness) than malevolence.

I would also note that it is possible to like the art without liking the artist. Art is a transcendent feat of humanity, but sometimes part of that task is to see the flaws its creator and accept them.

We must keep in mind the humanity of artists, as well as the other captains of industry, and judge ourselves by the same principles that we judge them by. Why does it matter if a movie producer transgresses the law if a truck driver can get away with it?

A Year in Focus

As of today, Pulling Focus with Ethan Hatchett has released 10 episodes cover subjects such as Christine (2016), Mindhunter (2017), and film editing. I couldn’t be more happy with the series and the response towards it. Thank you all!

I have always loved watching video essays and I had tried making some in the past, but for whatever reasons, I was never happy with them.

I have a big plans for 2018, so stick around for more!

A Bird in Hand is finally up.

or watch on Vimeo if you prefer.

After over a year, A Bird in Hand is online for all to see. I started this project during my film apprenticeship at Film Connection in late 2015 and now it is fully realized. I have known the Pitmans for over a decade at this point, and it was an honor to capture their story.

The first major lesson I took away from this experience is to be open to whatever happens. In October, 2016, when it was shot, I was as flexible as a rock. My friend Tal who was an enormous help in all areas, flipped his car a day before shooting on the way to Jekyll Island, so that freaked me out for all of production. I was on edge the entire time we shot, to the point where my arms were sore from being locked in the position I was holding the camera. This film meant (and still does) a lot to me and I was terrified of messing it up. I would argue that in a lot of ways I did mess it up, but it still turned out well. When I do my next film, I know I will be much calmer because I have grown as a person from this experience.

Overall, I am very pleased with this film. I hope that it brings the exposure that the Jekyll Island Banding Station deserves. I think helping nature (and by extension animals) is one of the most altruistic things you can do.

Learn more about JIBS.

It’s That Time of Year Again

*This probably going to come off as a rant.*

Why do I have to drive over an hour to see any films made by actual humans? I like corporations making feature length advertisements as much as the next guy, but some self restraint would be nice.

Last film I’m exerting effort for this year:

When you have Phases of films to release, like the 10 Plagues wreaking destruction on the  Egyptians, it is a tad overwhelming. Disney mass produces films so fast that it is disturbing. From watching them, I can tell that no significant thought was put into them, but it is impressive nonetheless.

The absolute worse part the MCU, SWU, FU, etc. is how other studios are trying to adapt to Disney’s business model. Remember when you could watch a Warner Brothers or Universal film without having to be prescribed anti-depressants? I have vague memories of it. I am genuinely surprised that we didn’t have a Paul Blart Cinematic Universe from Sony.

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Disney is even threatening the very existence of movie theaters. Apparently Star Wars need more than a $1,000,000,000 per film to rehash old story lines. Perhaps, every individual Porg is $1,000,000 to render for the final film. Who knows?

If Disney took a slight risk with any of their franchises, maybe I wouldn’t be so annoyed. However, if you have one Marvel film, you have basically seen them all. It is the same for Star Wars.

They do make baffling decisions with their own properties, like The Jungle Book (2016), where King Louie is doing an impression of Marlon Brando from Apocalypse Now for some unknown reason.

The only entertainment I get out of their “original” films is by heckling it. The use of CGI is embarrassing for a major release by a major studio. It appears that they stripped out any material from the animated versions that would make the film progress in any coherent way. It baffles me that anyone would look at the classic, animated Disney films and think, “We should make this live-action!” The whole charm comes from the animation. How do you not understand this about your own properties?

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I don’t have a problem with people enjoying these films. To each their own. The problem for me, lies in the overabundance of them. Like I said before, I have to travel over an hour to see a different kind of film. It’s okay to like Taco Bell, there is nothing wrong with that, but wouldn’t nice occasionally to eat something else? There in lies the problem of Disney.

I think I’m done now.