Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Beware of the Rules - Videojournalists

The only rule is that there is no rule.

There are a number of guiding principles, but they act as guides. It's simple, the rules many trumpet exist in videojournalism are presented to allow you to do something coherent to begin with.

The menu you chose from that book to cook your friends a meal. You followed it word for word and your friends loved it. Then one day you changed the ingredients, because you couldn't get fish, and instead of cooking the onions first, you fried the tomatoes.

What emerged was a meal with the same ingredients but a different flavour. The rules you abandoned were replaced by guides.  BUT, and here's the big BUT.

The only way your video/meal  worked the first time is that it was based on the exemplary techniques of someone at the top of their game. But even they will profess to it not being a rule, because it is an artistic practice

Learn enough and then drop the so called rules.

I have been fortunate enough now to work in Tunisia, Cairo, Beirut, China South Africa, Ghana and several other countries and where talent emerges it is based on ideas and concepts that the rules do not follow.

The trouble is it's difficult to sell books if we don't tell you about rules. What we should be teaching is artistry.

Otherwise we end up being automatans, and what's the point in that!

I'll place new videos on that helps in this thought process.

David Dunkley Gyimah is an artist in residence at London's cultural centre, The Southbank Centre and has been a practicing videojournalist since 1994