Taking Risks

Filming a scene for a documentary about Canadian Landscape painter Homer Watson

Taking artistic risks and creating stylistic content is dream of mine. In my career I have almost never taken artistic risks because Real Money is at stake. I have always found it necessary to go TRIED, TESTED, AND TRUE.

Yet there is risk every time you undertake a new production. In producing visual stories there is always a demand for doing something new that you haven’t done before. Experience builds confidence but every new situation is unique, hence every production is … for the “first time”. Every time you move a light slightly, interview a new person, try a new font, edit a collage, work with new talent, mount a camera, pitch a client … it’s NOT PRECISELY REPEATABLE … it’s NOT A FACTORY … or AN ASSEMBLY LINE. I’ve worked in places where producers thought it was, and they were constantly upset when the budget got blown, even by an hour.

Video producers constantly break new ground. Every request or task is different. Yes, patterns exist, it can be predictable to a degree but sometimes in this business one degree of difference can cost thousands of dollars and … the loss of a job or worse, a client. I’ve seen it happen and at times my demand for perfection has been the contributing factor that has caused many ruffled feathers.

In short, that is why most of my career has been spent producing Bronze quality productions. Rarely have customers been willing to pay for Silver quality content and Gold quality? That happens in a totally different arena altogether, one that most clients aren’t willing to pay for and one that I’m usually just a spectator. The tools, personnel, talent, and most importantly budget necessary to pull off a Gold quality production is a true luxury for only the most demanding of clients and production companies. Truly world class stuff. This is why I am willing to admit that the productions I produce usually only achieve a Bronze. Still in the medals, but rarely is there enough resources or budget to achieve a Silver and unfortunately, to survive, I’ve had to accept a lot of grunt work that only qualified for a Ribbon of Participation.

So getting back to taking risks. Taking risk takes time, time costs money. Taking a risk doesn’t always produce desirable results, hence going back and doing it again, therefore eating up time which eats through money. Catch 22. This is why I go with Tried, Tested and True. Artistic choices are for the poor … or rich. A while ago I was shooting a scene for my own creative project and one of my shots with an actress was obliterated with extreme lens flare from the sun. Due to the time of day I couldn’t achieve the shot without continually getting lens flare. The result? My mind was blown I was inspired to make every shot a lens flare orgy, a risky but creative choice, eat you heart out J.J. Abrams.

Now, as I enter the third and final chapter of my career I find myself on a new path. One where I am already taking risks and reaching past Tried, Tested and True. Maybe I’ll finally impress myself and actually create an artistic work that put money in the bank as well. Stay tuned, I’ll let you know. For now at least I can keep dreaming.

David Delouchery

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