The Tools of My Craft

I've been interested in telling stories all of my life.  I've invested my money, my effort, and most importantly of all, my time, into being relatively knowledgeable about all things story.  Whether it's capturing a look, a feel, an image, or a moment.  All of which are super important to the process of becoming great at the art that you make.  

As I've progressed through life and seen a shift in technology, along with it has come a shift in the way that people view the artist behind the technology.  I believe that the democratization of filmmaking has been extremely valuable.  

You can be a traditional artist by walking into a art store and buying a paintbrush for a few bucks.  Hell, you can become one of the most world renown artists by painting on walls that aren't even your's to paint on.  Yet, becoming a filmmaker always had about a billion barriers in the way.  Money being one of the biggest to overcome.  With the price of cameras dropping drastically, and every computer shipping with editing software, the ability to make video content has become very easy.  Your ten year old son can edit films on his iPad at the dinner table while you listen to NPR on your am/fm radio.  Brilliance can be born at any moment.  Yet as I progress through my career I've started to fully understand my value, and why my clients see value in me.  

The delicate balance of creativity, art, and ability to work well with others.  To stay organized and balanced, and ability to shift gears if needed.  To be able to talk to people as people, and talk work when needed.  All things that I've learned on my path towards what I call my career today.  

Expectations have risen, and payments have fallen, but I've found a way to make all that work despite the odds stacked against me.  Mostly, because I think I'm finally starting to realize that I am really good at what I do.  Me, as a human being, can do something that others most definitely cannot.  When you finally realize what it is that you're good at, and what it is that you like to do.  That's when you realize your worth.  The democratization of filmmaking tools has been one of the most epic shifts in an industry in the last twenty years shouldn't be scary.  It should inspire you to be better at what you do.  Not just with better visuals, but better at actually telling the story.  The quality of the camera shouldn't mean as much as what you can do with those images you captured.  What tone, what mood, what position you take in the story.  

That's what I'm good at.  That's why i've bought camera after camera to help me tell the story.  To help me move the process along.  To help me get right where I need to be, with the right tool, to tell that story.  That's why I keep all my camera's on a shelf.  Ready to go, ready to work for me.  I worship their ability to capture what I see, and at the same time I treat them as just another tool in my shed.  I take care of them, but I also push them to their limits, and they reward me.  The tools of my craft. 

John Jenkins

West Los Angeles, CA, United States