Social Media: A Filmmakers Friend or Foe?

Dr Parvinder Shergill

Social media has become a world in itself, from quick picture-snapping on the gram to political comments with the birds of Twitter. It is indeed a virtual land exploding as the months pass, with new apps continuously being promoted. We are now in a time of zoom or house party for those that need to work from home.

Whilst self-isolating, social media has indeed come in as our best friend to save the day, in ordering our shopping list, to catching up with granny.

I have spoken as an expert speaker at Parliament for social media. On one hand, yes it needs to be used wisely as it can impact one’s sleep, anxiety, exercise, and self-esteem to name a few. However, it can be an excellent tool for connecting with others that you wouldn’t normally come into contact with, with a supporting platform for those that have autism that can find typical face to face contact difficult.

For a filmmaker, I think it is a unique opportunity to showcase your work, almost free publicity if you will, which anyone in this industry will appreciate. Gone are the days of posters, or leaflet giving, but now one click can reach millions. It has certainly been as asset to many celebrities in endorsing their products. A strategy of technology that can contribute so much to a filmmaker.

I worry though, as with all social media, that despite it being an effective communication tool for filmmakers connecting to the industry at a tip of their fingers, that it could also downplay just how difficult it is in fact to create a film.

This is exactly what I spoke with David Yorke, an award-winning filmmaker. David, I met only last month at a film festival, which already feels months away due to lockdown. I was drawn to one of his films, in particular, named Safekeeping. It is a story that was originally created when David entered a competition about the world ending. What he made, I feel was tragically beautiful on the screen. It certainly is a film that one can take away a lot of messages or interpret in many ways, which I discuss with David. I personally felt drawn to the themes of abuse, palliative care, love, attachment, and loss. I won’t say too much, in case you have not watched the film, but for me, it resonated, possibly due to my work in mental health, with the exquisite location in a large field- some of my favourite scenes in this field.

I see David’s Instagram and I congratulate on him on the recent festival wins, and he candidly speaks about how Instagram shows only one aspect of his career, however not the hard work behind the scenes. I ponder on this, as he is absolutely right. For a moment I have been swept with the limelight social media can portray into someone’s life of just looking at the best-taken photos, but not actually what that individual is going through or doing to even get to that point of the picture being taken. We as human beings, get drawn to the attractive object, the good object in our mind’s eye, the power, the money, the trinkets of unattainable wealth, the prestige, the good looking, and even the downright ideal of what we want to be. Essentially conditioning ourselves to believe that if a picture looks perfect, then that person must be living a perfect life.

But being a filmmaker is messy. It means constant drop out of actors, lack of funding, desperately awaiting emails for location, and the need to be accepted to festivals for recognition. It certainly is not the edited poster or final edit of the film as we see as the audience.

Social media reminds me of exactly that: the poster of the film. It is the edited version of our work, our work meaning our life in this context. But what we fail to show is the bloopers, the slips, the pick me ups, the tears, and the laughter through the exhaustion.

I hope as filmmakers, we remember that of course, it is about the final product, the final edit, but to remember the process of achieving that, and to remind one another on social media how we admire this process and not just the edit.

Also Read: Interview: Dr Parvinder Shergill Talks Mental Health & Movies

This article was originally published in www.thesecretpsychiatrist.com

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Dr Parvinder Shergill

Psychiatrist | Doctor | Philosopher | Author | Blog Writer | Motivational Speaker | Actor | Filmmaker | Charity Co-Founder