John Hartman: An Intuitive Filmmaker with a Counter-Culture Outlook
What does it mean to be on your wild side? For thousands of years, human beings have lived in Civilizations that adhere to certain rules & functions. But we rarely get to discover what it means to be wild. And I don't mean in the sense of a drunk horny teenager. I mean an actual Roaming Animal who explores the world around them & discovers themselves (and their purpose) in the process.
Now I'm not saying we should all gather into a Cave tomorrow (although that would be fascinating). But our Culture & System Around us has disintegrated our Natural behavior. In fact, in 2017, it seems like the system built for us wants the human race to be nothing more than happy, obedient robots. Our world isn't Wild & Free; it's Cold & Calculated. And our behaviors have shown the adverse effects of how a Cold & Calculated World can affect our behavior.
In 2017, more people are prescribed to Anti-Depressants than it seems naturally necessary. More people are committing Suicide (especially among the Millenial generation) than they did 20+ Years Ago. Our world Dreams more than it Delivers. And the people who should be Leaders are instead replaced by Selfish Morons (Trump).
The Problem isn't that 2017 is any worse than any other time in History. Humans have lived through Plagues, Wars, Genocides, Famines, all kinds of stuff that would seem nightmarish compared to our current standards. No, the problem is that we've lost ourselves as an Intuitive Species. Before (no matter how tough it was) we all felt like we could find purpose in individual goals. Those Goals might seem small, but they still existed.
Now it seems like the world wants to tell everybody else what their goals should be. Everybody must go to College. Everybody must enjoy their youth. Everybody must get married & have children who will all become outstanding obedient citizens. Every Elderly Person should stay safe for their Child's feelings. The list can go on, but I feel like we all (unless you're a complete tool) want to experience something more Unique & Personable.
For the most part, human beings don't (and shouldn't) want to follow this simplistic structure for living their lives. Yet we all feel the pressure to Conform to the rules in order to succeed. Our lust for Comfort takes over our passion for Adventure. And because of that cause, we care more about being humiliated in front of our peers than we care about having our own Experiences. In other words, we live in a Safe-Bland Purgatory like existence. Is this what we want for ourselves?
Well, I don't know about you, but I sure don't. I've experienced the pain of losing yourself to the world around you. And let me tell you, there isn't a worst lost that a person can feel. This thirst for Mediocrity becomes amplified when you want to become a Filmmaker. If you Conform in the correct way, you can achieve the level of comfort you might desire. If you allow people to pull your strings, you can (eventually) pull strings yourself. If you sell yourself short, you'll get a big reward for it. Hollywood is a lustful city that can blind the passions of an individual artist. Fame, Fortune & Self-Worship can create false desires that can eat & destroy a person inside.
This absence from our natural needs as a species have made a lot of us feel lost in the presence of life. Luckily this doesn't have to be the case when it comes to how we live our lives tomorrow. And in the realm of Filmmaking, nobody is more Wild & Free than Today's Guest.
John Hartman is a Denver Filmmaker with a Counter-Culture Mind for Freeform Filmmaking. It's very Rare that any of his new Films ever use any Scripts or Pre-Production before he shoots. He allows the film to take a life of its own while he is on set. And the finished film is all naturally edited, allowing the viewing process to showcase a Unique flow.
You read that last paragraph & you might be confused. Well, yeah I was taken aback as well. I've always prided myself for not conforming my Vision to the Closed-Minded Standards of Hollywood. But even I have to admit that John is way more Open with his filmmaking process than I could ever dream of being myself. He is an honest filmmaker, with a process that one can just call "Intuitive." It quite inspiring when you think about it.
But how does John do so well with this Intuitive Third-Eyed Filmmaking Process? After-all, you view his films & he uses a Multitude of Actors/Actresses all doing stuff that would seem planned (at least to an outsider who doesn't know John). Well, it's good to mention that John is a Modern Day Nomad. This mindset is evident in most (not all) of John's Films, using the camera as a way to explore what situations he finds himself in. All of his films are an Expression of his Journeys as a human being. And this isn't a Mistake done on his part.
I did an interview with Mr. Hartman (like I do with everybody else) and he perfectly summed himself in one term, "Counter-Culture." See rather one might believe Creative endeavors are important or not, some humans have a natural Counter-Culture charm to them. It isn't forced with John, he was born with a Counter-Culture Spirit. While the rest of the world worries about nonsense issues, Artists like John float with the wind & teach the people who are currently lost. He always seems Confident with his endeavors. Note I use the word Confident, not Prideful. He isn't trying to shove his opinions down the throats of everybody else (like a certain somebody who might be writing this blog LOL). Instead, he has the confidence to ignore the world & just be himself. He always learns from others but never doubts his Intuition either. He just exists in the present, with a camera, making the films that inspire the souls around him.
It's hard to accurately describe just how open-minded John really is. So instead I'm going to show you.
In his very Popular Short Film "Planet Diva" (a movie with over 70,000 Views on Youtube alone) we notice that the whole film is shot on a Super 8 Camcorder. Super Retro yes, but the Nostalgia Factor isn't the point. What John can do with this movie is give it a Certain Haze so that you're more invested in what is going on. If he shot this Grindhouse Film in Digital, it would completely destroy the feeling of the audience. The film would look Dark, Clear & Completely Fake. Here the Analog Style of the movie gives it a Warm Glow that can't be manipulated in the Digital Format. What is also great about this Warm Glow Filter is that the film is more accepted for it's liberal approach to filmmaking. Digital Filmmaking is too clean, which makes it almost impossible to be invested into something that is so ridiculous. But the Super 8 Camcorder is perfect for capturing this sort of movie. The film itself is a real treat, so I won't spoil what the film is about. Check it out if you are still ill-informed.
Another Less Known (but equally as Exciting) Video that showcases on his channel is his RetroTube Series. The entire focus of the video is to watch what other people are watching. That's it, no Plot or Structure. But it's quite fascinating to watch. Growing up in the Digital Age (I'm 22) I've always been intrigued with how Television felt like before the Internet took over my adolescent mind. The feeling that this Video Showcase is Warm & Real. None of the Videos stand out on their own (at least not the ones that were clearly made for this Showcase). But together, they show what the Television was all about. Public Access Channels made the Television Set an Endless Voyage of Discovery. It might not be the type of Discovery a person may enjoy, but it is Discovery. The Internet Age has put that sense of Introducing Creative Ideas onto the Individual Person who uses it. And While I love it, it just doesn't create a sense of wonderment. You don't get the same feeling of finding a Cool Movie and/or Video on the Internet like the Previous Generation did with the Television. A certain Magical Quality has Disappeared, and this Video shows off what it was like to Find New Material with the flip of the switch.
But John has tons of Videos that I can go into detail about. But to save all of you reading time, I suggest you check out more of his Videos.
But all this information doesn't matter if we don't learn something. If there is a message that John wants us to gain knowledge from, is that we should just get a camera & forget everything else we know. Yes, that sounds too vague to explain, but hear me out. In any given Art-Form (Film especially) we have people who feel like they know all of the answers. I should be aware; I was one of these people when I was an 18-Year-Old Teenager. This type of Mindset creates nothing but frustration as you always feel like you have to stick with a Pre-Determined Course. The Following Year, I decided to become an Experimentalist. And while the Road is Bumpy & Vague, it gives me meaning & hope. John doesn't follow any rules, not even ones that he set up for himself. And because of that, he is calm & relaxed. It doesn't matter how Snooty Traditional Filmmakers view his work; he will always make whatever he desires to do.
I envy that mindset, as do most Artists who want to make a statement. But John Hartman already creates a Statement by being himself in a world full of Phonies. Nobody can discredit a man who gleams in his own comfort.
So to end this Story off, we got to go back to where we began. The State of the World in the Current Age has made people lose themselves. But fear not, as that ability can be dealt with. John Hartman shows all of us that we can be ourselves and find a group of people that would dig it. Sure, the Uptight Hollywood Culture might not like it. Nor will some of the people who grew up loving The Three-Act-Structure, Cinema Language, ETC. But he found a group of Viewers who love what his filmmaking stands for. And in the end, isn't that what really matters. Money & Success can only take you so far before you feel alone inside. What we need is to be Loved, Treated with Dignity and allow ourselves to Flourish (even if Society wants us to Rot). John loves the world, and therefore the world loves him back. His Style of Filmmaking Inspires Others even if the Snooty Traditionalists laugh it off. He is a Wild Counter-Culture Animal. But above all else, he listens to himself.
Now that you've read about John & his accomplishments, what are you going to do? Are you continue to stay Comfortable while your instincts tell you otherwise. John is proof that there is no excuse to play it safe. Now you must go out there & blossom into the Artist that will inspire others. Will you do it? I sure hope so. It isn't an easy feat to Stand-Out in a World that says otherwise. But once you do, I guarantee that feeling of loving yourself will take over any sort of previous doubt.
Once that happens I would like you to thank John Hartman for inspiring you to take those risks. His Conversation has inspired me, and therefore he can inspire anybody.
Thank you guys so much for reading my Article on John Hartman. Believe it or not, he lives in my hometown of Denver. I never heard of him until this Article, but apparently, he has been a big deal for over 17 Years. I'm sure glad I had the chance to Interview him though, he is wise beyond any sort of explanation.
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