Just to prove that cinematographers aren’t alone in the pursuit of perfection, I present a statement from one of my all-time favorite vocalists, Linda Ronstadt:
“It’s always like that when you record: You always think that you can do a better job. You know, the whole thing with recording is you have to know when to turn off the tape machine and just stop because you want to keep fixing, fixing, fixing, you know?”
When I change out the term “tape machine” for “camera” or “DI session,” it makes me laugh. The quote reminds me of the obsession some people experience, and it’s not limited to those of an artistic bent. They might be a business leader, a shopkeeper or a street sweeper. It doesn’t matter. Everyone holds the same potential within them.
But for anyone who’s good at their job – if they’re really into what they’re doing – their mind is constantly engaged!
Which begs the question: wouldn’t it be nice to pause the internal thrum for a bit…just once in awhile? Maybe lighten up, be average, see how the other 99% lives?
No, it wouldn’t.
Improving at anything is an unrelenting process; the majority of people willfully ignore this. How many notice – really notice – a streak of light on a familiar wall? How many have their mood altered by the texture of the sky? When a cinematographer does anything like that, they’re referencing something much deeper than common fondness for their job.
I’ve been oriented that way for so long, it scares me to think about it. In a world of so many distractions and passing fancies, how does your obsession manifest itself?