Owning a Camera and Knowing How to Use It Are Two Different Things

What if I told you that last week I bought a state-of-the-art laryngoscope. The camera on the scope creates incredible high definition images of your vocal folds. The technology is cutting edge. For a limited time, I can offer you a scoping session at a discount. You’d pay a lot more somewhere else.

Oh, but there’s one catch… I don’t know how to operate the equipment. It seems easy enough though. Just open wide and I’ll stick this small camera down your throat. Why should that bother you? The equipment is amazing.

OK. OK. It seems a bit far fetched, but I’m trying to make a point here.

Many of you are doing the exact same thing, but with a different kind of camera.

In this world of self-tape madness, people with a keen business sense have sniffed out the latest way to make money off of actors. Buy a fancy camera and then put actors on tape for money. Easy.

Just because someone owns state of the art equipment doesn’t mean they know how to use it.

What adds to the madness is that in this sea of choices, there are incredibly gifted and trained artists who know exactly how use the camera to create storytelling value and produce self-tapes that work. Those artists are being drowned out by camera owners with great marketing skills.

So what are you going to do about it?????

The answer is simple. Do your homework.

Before you invest hundreds of your hard earned dollars on a self tape that is high definition but low everything else, decide what “quality” really means to you.

As the prospective client, it is absolutely fair for you to ask questions before you put down your deposit. Ask to see samples of the work. Ask about track record and results. Ask about who will be behind the camera, handling post, mixing the sound, etc.

If you are going to invest real money in a self-tape, it has got to produce a better result than the tape you would have made with your iphone, a tripod, and a ring light.

(PS - Have you read Melissa Errico’s great article in the Times about self-taping?)

Jen WaldmanComment