Why I Shoot. By Robin Schmidt


How many times have you heard ‘I’m not in this for the money?’ – the stock response to why we bust out balls constantly for tiny wages. There are plenty of stock responses to the question of why we shoot and they tend to involve a fairly sugar-coated pick n mix of platitudes about creativity and collaboration. Not me.

The reason I shoot? I honestly have no idea. All my life I’ve been successful at everything I’ve turned my hand to. A combination of musical parents who were also terrifyingly bright meant I could apply my brain to problems and solve them and call upon enough creativity to dazzle when required.

Making films is hard, it kicks my ass constantly and the desire to reach the top of this particular tree, to become as good as the people I really respect, that’s what drives me on. I am in this for the money but only in conjunction with a level of independence that I’m not prepared to give up. I’m a genuine masochist, it kills me trying to get my work to the level I want. So why do it? Could be the challenge, could be the glitz and glamour, could be the buzz of being the boss of a massive crew of people, or it could be just that I’m an arrogant SOB who’s finally found something he can’t just sleepwalk through and it just seems to get the best out of me.

There’s a lot of bullshit in this industry, flung far and wide, and it pisses me off so much. It ranges from producers lying through their teeth, to filmmakers copying everyone else, to the rancid nepotism that plagues the industry. Honesty is such a rare quality but when filmmakers are really good it tends to be this quality above all others that we respond to.

Honestly, then, I don’t know, all I do know is that while I’m still enjoying it I don’t know anything else I’d rather be doing.

Jared Abrams is a cinematographer based in Hollywood, California. After many years as a professional camera assistant he switched over to still photography. About two years ago a new Canon camera changed the way the world sees both motion and still photography. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
  • http://www.rescuethecows.com Loren

    C’mon Skid, tell us how you REALLY feel! Seriously though, great post.