20 Years

Well, I am about halfway through my career now, so this is a good time to reflect upon what I set out to do, what I learned and where I am going. I am lucky enough to have a place to share these thoughts because my career has given me a monthly column to write.

I set out to democratize and enrich television. Along the way I emphasized empowering people to make video. Within the human endeavor, this falls under Arts & Humanities, Visual Arts: Filmmaking. Like other visual arts (ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, etc.), filmmaking or video making can be complex and intimidating to learn. Video making seems much more influential to me. Videos, TV shows and movies touch many more people's lives compared to ceramics. The implications of increasing the number of video producers seem more dramatic compared to painting. Video allows the artist, author or creator an outlet to say so much more than someone sculpting a statue does or painting a picture does.

In many ways, video has helped shape our world view. What we watch seems to have an influence over what we think is important. Advertisers know this and that is why they pay so much for TV commercials. If we watch a lot of TV sitcoms with affluent characters, affluence becomes our norm. If we watch educational shows, intellectual growth is what we come to expect.

Setting out to democratize and enrich television still seems like an important thing to do. However, video is now seen on web sites, in movie theaters, portable media players and mobile phones, so it seems all the more important.

Along the way, I have learned that:

  • Things are not as easy as they seemed when I was 29 years old.
  • Advertisers are difficult to please.
  • People with an interest in making video need encouragement.
  • Company morale, cash flow and innovation are all like weather, with sunny days, cool nights, dense fog, torrential rains and blizzards.
  • Young people are smarter than they are given credit and retired people can do more than people expect.
  • Women can make fantastic video but men don't believe in them enough.
  • Fame and fortune are fleeting notions with little intrinsic value to humanity.

    Where am I going?

    Now that I am 49, I look forward to working harder because things are difficult. I don't intend to overtly please advertisers but I hope that they are pleased with all of you. I will always encourage video creators every chance that I get. I intend to be flexible with our business and keep suntan lotion, a light jacket, an umbrella and a snow shovel handy. I will continue to admire the young and respect the retired. I want to see more women make video. I will keep chasing after things that have great possibilities to serve humanity.

    Matthew York is Videomaker’s Publisher/Editor

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