I was watching some interviews on the web from Steve Weiss, Vincent Laforet, and others on the web and it seems that every interview, they all have something to say about certain “filmmakers”. In my opinion, yes, anyone can become a filmmaker, but I think those who try to do it “professionally” should take responsibility. Just because you bought a camera, a few lenses, tripod, and etc, does not mean you are a Director of Photography / Cinematographer. You have to do your homework and understand how photography works. You have to understand what certain filters do, why we use shutter speeds of 1/50 for at 23.976 fps (the 180 rule), and color temperature.
What happens is that, those ignorants charge far less than the professionals and takes the job away from those who are qualified to do the work “professionally”. Yes, I can understand a filmmaker on a budget. Yes I can understand some DP’s may “overprice” themselves. But those who just jumped right in, didn’t do their homework, and think they can make any money from it got it all wrong. If you don’t know how to give texture to an HD footage, or achieve a certain look that the director wants, then that’s not the job for you. It just means that you need to do more homework and practice more.
As a Director / Producer / Writer / Cinematographer, I’ve put in thousands of hours worth of studying and work and I still feel I’m not quite there yet to the high end pros. But I know I am much better than I was a year ago in filmmaking. Yes, winning awards help with encouragement, but it doesn’t stop me from becoming even better and challenging myself.
If you want to be good at something, you better put the time and practice and invest into it. If I hire someone and I’m doing the job of the cinematographer, I can bet you that he/she will not be on my set the next time around if the price was unreasonable.
Anyways, that was just my thoughts of what I think when someone ask the question, “Can anyone become a filmmaker?”.