Movies vs. Films

There are movies and then there are films.

What’s the difference?

Well, the difference is not the budget, actor, special effects, music, opening weekend or even box office gross.

The difference is the summation of many disciplines, and in search for a single word to describe it, I can only really settle on maturity.

The mature director understands drama, arc, pathos, credibility, internal logic, performance, style, cinematography, editing, dialog, pacing, production design, casting, authenticity, pulse, rhythm, emotion, and a whole lot more.

The movie-maker is heavy-handed gimmick-peddler who’s trying for a big office return. Some of these guys are in charge of $200 million franchises—doesn’t change the fact they are a movie-maker.

The fastest way to tell if you are dealing with a filmmaker is whether or not they talk about their film and the story they were trying to tell, or how much money they made.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with making money, and making a lot of it, but when that’s your focus you are a movie-maker.

Now understand, no one is being insulted here.  Filmmakers are more concerned with entertaining the audience and movie-makers are more concerned with getting the audience’s dollar, and both know and are comfortable about what side of the line they are on.

The Spielbergs, Scorseses, Camerons, Finchers, Nolans, and Jacksons are all dedicated story-tellers, and even though they’ve all had wild success, they will tell you outright they are committed to the story first. We’re fortunate to have these men making quality films for us.

Sometimes directors start off making movies and graduate to making meaningful films.  Unfortunately, some directors go the other way and start off with films and degrade into making movies.

Still other directors can only make films, while others can only make movies.

And sadly, there are more than a few who think they are on one side when they are really on the other.


~ by David Jetre on January 30, 2010.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: