Updated: Oct 7, 2019
By: Marshall Scott
Anyone who has tried to do anything creative has heard the phrase, "find your voice." Whenever I was trying to figure out what it is to be a filmmaker, this was one aspect that confused me, like it does most people whether they want to admit it or not. I understood what this meant technically, but this concept was more abstract than composing a shot, recording sound and cutting it together.
This is where pretension comes in with any artform. The concept of having a voice is obviously something that only the individual can determine, however it is intentionally shrouded in mystery so that people who have already found it seem to appear as a being of higher creative intellect.
So what is your "voice" and how do you find it? Your voice is a combination of inspiration, aesthetic choices, and themes you like to explore that culminate into a style that is recognizably you. Describing it is easier than discovering what it means to you personally, but there is a relatively simple way to figure out that meaning for your individualized experience. The reason this post is titled "Figuring Out What YOU Want To Do" and not "Finding Your Voice" is because the concept of a voice implies a creative mysticism that needs to be unlocked in order for your true potential to be unleashed. When it's really about figuring out what you like, why you like it, and then applying it to your own work. This creates a unique amalgamation of thematic elements, stylistic choices, and emotional tones, that when integrated within a story you want to tell, a "voice" begins to develop. Over time, it evolves and becomes clearer to you, which is the most important part of creating something that is yours. The way I personally approach this situation (notice I didn't say that in past tense, because it's still evolving for me after 10+ years) is very simple and doesn't have any deep meaning behind it. I do what I think is cool. Not what other people might think is cool. Whenever I make something, I make it with the intent of, "if I stumbled across this online, I would become obsessed with it." I make things that I want to see because nobody else knows where my sensibilities lie.
Personally, as far as the technical film aspects go, I like bright colors, as well as the absence of color, slow motion, subtextual dialog, music that imposes a sense of dread, abrupt cuts, smooth cuts, looming shots that go on for too long, and many other things. As far as the experiences in my life that I weave together with these elements, I infuse psychology, conspiracy, many different types of humor, human emotions that everyone experiences, my friends, myself and anything else I've ever thought was interesting. I use all of this, plus more, to make things for me. Even though it's selfish to make things for yourself, that doesn't mean that a point you're trying to make won't come across and connect with others. It just means you're saying what you want to say.
That is what your "voice" is, dumbed down to my level. Make everything for you. Draw from things that inspire you in order to create what no one else can, based on your interests and experience in life. If you're making something based on trends or what someone else might want to hear, you're not saying anything at all. You're screaming into the void with everyone else.
That is what your "voice" is, dumbed down to my level. Make everything for you.
Marshall Scott heads up the group "Time To Go Pictures". Their paige can be found below: