“Necessity is the mother of invention.”Someone
“Creativity craves constraint.”Someone else
“Creativity is inversely proportional to the amount of tools you have to work with.”Equally uncitable
The quotes above reflect a common theme; it’s one I’m terribly enthused by and a concept I term “Availability Determined Creativity”, or ADC since everyone loves an acronym. I’m enamored with the idea that creativity increases when less is made available to an artist. I’ve made horrific art with a full-featured set of paints and brushes while others produce real art with a ball-point pen. Now, reduced tools doesn’t always mean better art, but it does require more creative use of what you have. The less you have to work with, the more you’re forced to get creative. There are a thousand ways to practice this concept, but fortunately for you, the work itself will force you to do so. Photography and video give you certain, very specific parameters to work with and then leaves it up to you to make something pretty or at least something different.
I believe many aspiring filmmakers and photographers achieve mediocre results because they’re reaching for something more grandiose than what’s around them. I suggest the opposite approach: take what’s already available to you, something you know, something that’s uniquely you, and make something awesome with it. Trying to recreate an action film, comedy, or drama with no resources and inexperienced actors never ends well. Pick a location you already have access to, write a script with no dialog and tailored to the strengths of whoever is available to you. Create images that are meaningful using subjects that have meaning for you. Capture the fleeting years of a child through pictures that last forever. These things might not advance a career or bring in money, but they’re a safe training ground for improving your skill with the benefit of capturing some of the memories that matter most to you.
Prove that you can create with no resources and you’ll work on improving the skills that will best serve you when resources become available.
ADC and telling your story. Use media to diversify, not homogenize the world. People are attracted to confidence. Sorry for the soapbox.
It’s what’s in front of your camera that’s most important. Gear matters less than talent. Love what you’re doing and expect it to be hard. When you look at other people’s work figure out why it works. Realize that a low budget camera looks great in a high-budget environment. It’s ok to copy your inspiration.