Filmmaking is the process of making a film, but the purpose of filmmaking is the reasons and motivations behind your filmmaking.
It can be useful for filmmakers to take a breather, step back from all the hustle and bustle of our busy world and frantic time tables and ask ourselves what is the purpose of filmmaking? Or, more specifically, why do you make films?
We all know everyone’s purpose varies widely for different filmmakers. Some filmmakers are natural storytellers and they want to tell their stories and build their characters through the visual medium of film, others are more like painters and see images and scenes in their head that they must communicate to the world, others are more like scientists and are obsessed with the technical details of filmmaking.
Understanding the purpose of your films and identifying the aspects of filmmaking that you love will not only help you improve as a filmmaker but help you focus on the areas of filmmaking that make you happiest.
Making Films that Matter
We can all agree that filmmaking is a wonderful form of expression that can connect with millions of people, affecting their emotions and showing perspectives and views on the world that your audience has not seen before.
From the first silent movies, for example, Thomas Edisons, “Fred Ott’s Sneeze”  which is shown below, to the modern-day blockbusters, every film will start with an intended purpose.
It could be argued that this first movie by Thomas Edison was purely comical to entertain where others argue that the purpose was just a proof of concept that the filming process worked.
Your films do not have to be world-changing films but they do have to have a clear purpose to communicate your message and idea to your audience, whatever that message or idea is.
How do you identify the purpose of your film?
It is important to have a controlling idea and theme for your film, especially for short films. It can be helpful to identify the purpose of your film to ensure your film is coherent and fulfils its purpose.
Step 1: Write down all the reasons for making this film
Try to be as specific as possible for example, instead of writing, “The purpose of this short film is to entertain, write, “The purpose of this short film is to make people laugh”. You should create a list of reasons.
Step 2: Highlight the reasons that are linked
Look through your list of reasons and identify reasons that are similar or linked, for example, “The purpose of this film is to sell a product”, “The purpose of this film is to raise brand awareness”
Step 3: Focus only on the reasons that are linked from step 2
From step 2, the main purpose of the film should become apparent. Take this dominant reason and park others. You can always store up your other ideas for another film in the future.
Ensure everything in the film, from the dialogue. to music, to costumes and even cinematic camera angles reinforce the reasons highlighted. This will ensure that you don’t lose focus.
Films often fail because they have too many ideas. Keeping it simple and portraying one idea per film is usually the best approach, as otherwise, the message of the film can be conflicting.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as a guide only for educational and informational purposes. It is not legal advice. The content contained in this article is not legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific matter or matters.