Curiosity…the best tool a cinematographer can have ?

CocoRosie - Child Bride

CocoRosie – Child Bride

Call it a new years resolution, but I’ve been thinking about trying to be more curious this year…actively curious…

Curiosity is a basic human emotion.  We are all seemingly and fundamentally curious as a species.  To try to understand when we don’t understand…

Curiosity is therefore a driver of both creativity and storytelling itself…To discover “what happens next” is one of the basic tenants of storytelling.  It’s what causes us to “lean into” a story….once we’re fed a little information, we all can make connections and assumptions about what may happen next.  And we need to know what happens next.  We also like to be surprised.

I think this is also why self directed multi linear narrative will never replace storytelling

Back in 2011 I made a new years resolution to actively take more risk with my work.

Curiosity seems to be the corollary of risk.

In the most literal sense I guess I can apply this to the technology and process of filmmaking.  I can be curious about cameras.  I can be curious about lenses.  I can be curious about lighting.  This is all the tech stuff.

I can also be curious about story. I can be curious about the story world itself…

So I’m aiming to make 2014 the year of the curious.  Yeah yeah I know it’s March already, but better late than never !

“It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.”

– Albert Einstein

Curiosity is a fundamental tool every cinematographer should have and nurture.

About johnbrawley

Director Of Photography striving to create compelling images
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10 Responses to Curiosity…the best tool a cinematographer can have ?

  1. Ron coker says:

    John, Well stated. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I dig the quotation “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education” In my case, speaking as a person who had very little!

  2. Brett Harrison says:

    Curiosity marks so much about a person: they aren’t too cynical or jaded, they aren’t laboring under the belief they know it all, they have the capacity to adapt and improve, and are likely enthusiastic and hard working.

  3. Totally agree. We should never stop learning and we should always be curious find out more about what we do and how we can do it better or even differently. Even if it means taking a risk because no one else has done it yet or no one has worked out the methodology. Sometimes it works other times it doesn’t, but that’s how I believe we learn and evolve in our craft. Well said John. We should all be curious.

  4. Peter Gell says:

    It’s fine to be curious about the ‘tech stuff’ but if this is all you’re curious about then you’re not challenging yourself.

  5. Howard Davidson says:

    No need to be risky. Just being creative is risky. And being continually creative is risky and difficult. Just do what you do, but better each time.

  6. Vorn Hancock says:

    I came across your great article via Wolfcrow on Facebook. As well as a huge interest in film I am also an Improvisor of many years standing. One of my favourite ‘rules’ is ‘We suck and we love to fail’. Each time we fail on stage infront of friends or an audience of strangers we learn something. It’s a helluva rush but a great way to learn and it always embraces risk.

  7. I love this. I know that some people have creative visions in their head that they are just working to realize, but for me the creative process is about being curious – because I often don’t know what’s next in my own projects! Most of the time, I’m jut as curious as everyone to find out what’s next, because stories have kind of a life of their own.

    As for this resolution being late in the year – you can call it a fiscal new year’s resolution!

    Now I’M curious: Do you have any specific goals for how you’re going to be more curious? Is it just a general attitude adjustment or are you going to pursue certain things to achieve understanding?

  8. Cris Rogers says:

    Movie-goers see the on screen cinematic results, but most have little or no idea of how big the behind the lens army really is or what these other lesser known movie makers do.

    Some people have curiosity inside their blood.They are curious about each and every thing in the world around us. Same is the case with cinematographers.They are the most creative people with the maximum level of risk in their profession.

  9. Simon says:

    Until 3 years ago nobody heard of John Brawley. In fact we only got to know who John Brawley is not from his films or TV shows but because of his association/friendship with people who works at Blackmagic Design who were releasing a camera that got the filmmaking community interested. Just so happen John Brawley was the man who got to test their cameras and became a spokeperson for a product under development. Otherwise nobody knows who Mr Brawley is unless you believe someone who graduated from film school in 2007 and work as a DP for a low budget Aussie soap nobody heard of deserve international recognition. I’m sure Mr Brawley got some awards for his endeavour but it is not likely to be anything you would take notice of.
    Filmmakers with real reputation are feted around the world and constantly travelling to different countries working. I would invite Mr Brawley to come out of the small enclave of Australia and come and work in the real world in places such as LA, London, Paris, HK, Tokyo, etc and see how far he get

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