Ever Hear the One About The Three Blind Men and an Elephant?
Three blind men come across an elephant.
The first man happens upon its leg, and concludes it’s a tree. The second man bumps into its trunk, and concludes it’s a snake. The last blind man feels its tail, and concludes it’s a broom.
Moral of the story? One person's subjective truth may not be another's truth, let alone the whole truth or even any part of the truth.
There's a whole lot more to this story, but you get the idea. It's why I named my very little production company with very big animal logo Three Blind Men and an Elephant Productions.
What I love about this parable is that its theme is central to what I do: I want to understand the totality of what I see; I want to see what's around the corner; I like to think I'm aware of my limitations; and I want to share what I learn.
Always with the objective of doing so with authenticity, humanity and wit.
I write, direct, shoot, score, and edit web-centric films. I do photo shoots. I write screenplays, I blog, I write copy, and I occasionally conduct strategic analyses for clients.
If it's about telling stories, and truly understanding what they're about, I'm into it.
The Ethics of Blogging
Glad you asked.
I have affiliate links sprinkled liberally throughout my posts, and that means: if you click on any of those links and then buy anything on that site (usually Amazon, B&H or iTunes) I get a small commission. It doesn't cost you anything, it isn't sending any of my kids to college, but it does help me defray the cost of running the site -- so I appreciate it.
That's number 1.
Number 2 is that I write about gear, and the best way to write about gear is to actually use it.
Sometimes I'll break my own rule and write about something before it ships because I think it's important, newsworthy, and/or you'd enjoy reading it.
But I much prefer - and usually go -- hands on. I have a relationship with B&H, so I can often get loaners from them for a few weeks at a time. I also have a good relationship with local rental house Resolution Rentals. Sometimes, I'll get a piece of gear directly from the manufacturer. When that happens, the loan period can be as short as 12 hours (the recent Sony press event in New York City, for example, where I got my hands on the A7s II) or as long as 60 days (Blackmagic has just sent me their Micro Studio camera and Video Assist for 30 days). Very occasionally, a manufacturer doesn't ask for it back.
In which case it usually sits in a box, or I'll give it away as I recently did with a CAME-TV 7800 3-axis gimbal.
It feels nice.
Even more occasionally -- since it's my own hard cash -- I'll buy a piece of gear myself. Which means it's really, really great AND I can see the economic value in it for my business (like the DJI Phantom 3 Professional 4K or the RØDElink Filmmaker Kit).
Does this color my judgement? I'd like to think it doesn't; I work to make sure it doesn't.
But it's also true that it's hard not to like people you speak to and share passions with; it's equally true that I generally like to stick up for the little (or littler) guys and want them to succeed - competition is a good thing.
What THIS means: if a little guy sends me something and I can't write a favorable review, I will more often than not go back and forth with them to make whatever's wrong right -- or at least get it right enough so that I don't have to post something which could tank their business -- or I won't post at all.
It's one thing when a giant company does something obviously bad (let's keep it away from filmmaking for a moment and use as an example Volkswagen's truly evil diesel emissions cheating scheme) and it's another when a (relatively) small company doesn't get something quite right (say, continuing to use cars as an example, Tesla has a bug in its firmware).
I think I add value when I communicate what I like and what I don't like about a product; why; and ultimately how much it really matters anyhow.
In the end, it's golden rule stuff: I write the way I'd like to be treated as a reader.
And that's kind of it.