PROFESSIONal

I saw this video and like many of you, was inspired. My visceral reaction was “teach me, I want to do that”. Then I went over to the vimeo page and started reading through the comments, and the majority of folks are talking about how well shot it is (which is very true) and how good the lighting is, what camera or lenses were used and what a great “story” it is (again, true), etc. etc. More talk about the filming than the actual subject matter - made me think of Mike Rowe’s testimony. How this new medium is elevated (nothing wrong with that) while disregarding the past in some sort of antiquated way. There is no celebration of the metal working, the craftsman, the guy who makes physical things using his hands and skills. Dozens of posts regarding the film making, and very little in regards to being inspired to go pick up a torch and make something. No surprise of course, but it makes me angry and disappointed every time.

12 Responses to “PROFESSIONal”

  1. Wolfpaak says:

    I agree grail, TEACH ME!!!!

  2. Mike J says:

    I think you’re being a little unfair to the people over a Vimeo. As the site says it’s a community for film makers. These guys ARE being inspired by traditional skills and craftsmanship, its just the skills and craft of film making that they are interested in, and I’m sure that this short has inspired someone over there to pick up a camera and produce something of their own. KB is a site we come to to learn about workshop skills and be motivated to get out in the garage and get our hands dirty and that’s cool. It’s only fair that a community of film enthusiasts should appreciate this film according to their own interests. Be it skill with the camera of skills in the shop craft is craft and should always be appreciated for its own merits.

  3. grail21 says:

    Mike - I totally hear what your saying, and my comments were not directed to diminish the film making or photographic craft. As someone who was a professional photographer for many years (and still am to a degree) as well as a digital artist and a film editor through out my career, I take nothing away from that. As an artist and photographer, I am inspired by those aspects as well - by the great lighting, by wanting to know the final production details, I’m not taking any of that away. Those things should be talked about and shared, much like we do on this site. I suppose my finer point, maybe not as well articulated in my initial comments is this - in this digital age, we elevate these skills (whether it be computer skills, or banking skills) while disregarding and in some cases classifying these labor skills as second class. We elevate some of these skills to higher levels, while making others second class citizens. Here’s a specific example I’ve been playing out in my head - the owner of a business walks into a celebrated marketing agency, and hires them at $150 - $250 an hour, because they are experts and can maybe help his business. How would that same owner react about paying anywhere close to that for a carpenter to fix his house or mechanic to fix the car that takes his kids to school? And to be clear, my background and day job is firmly planted in the pixel-pushing world, I sit behind a computer all day long and the things I make are rewarding, and my skillset allows me to do a lot of things I couldn’t otherwise (this site being one of them). But to say that skillset is 2-10 times more valuable than the ability to build a house, construct a bridge or reshape metal doesn’t sit right with me. We - as a society - need to elevate those crafts back to a higher level.

  4. Wes says:

    I’d agree w/ Mike. Most of the comments talked about gear because it was posted on a site for videographers. Had the video been posted on a site for metal workers, there would be a lot more talk about metal working.

    All in all I agree w/ this film. We’re a nation that is loosing some of the ‘apprenticeship’ model for a more homogenized “highschool-university-corporate position” approach. Because of the outsourcing of our industrialization, we’re becoming a nation that can no longer work w/ it’s hands. Like on this video here:
    http://vimeo.com/20789680

  5. Dirkson says:

    To each his own I guess. A film-maker loves it for the shots. I especially love it because of his story from 4.00 ’till 4.30. Come on guys it’s why we visit this site. No need to defend what you love. But it is nice to meet people on the same angle.

  6. Steve-R says:

    This is not just the U.S where this is happening,as a tool and die maker for 32 years non of the apprentices from my group are still in the trade. In fact even the young lads we get now leave there trade when they finish to do easier work . I have seen 8 in the last 7 years all leave as soon as they finished their time, only one of these have stayed in the trade.(he joined the Royal Australian Air Force).
    It will be a sad loss when it is all made in Asia because eventually they will expect our pay level and lifestyle ! By then we will have no trades left. When i am gone no one will have all of my experience/ skills,but this usually only comes with time and experience ,i often tell a story as we all do that i wish i could fit a storage device to my head and just let them down load it all to there brain Ha Ha.
    Thank you for your posts by the way about old shop skills. N.C and wire cut and edm have taken most of it away, but the basics are the same.

  7. sharperdill says:

    I don’t think skilled labor such as this is getting paid enough. If the laborer was paid $30 to $50 an hour there would be more interest from younger generations to pick up a torch or swing a hammer and in essence pick up where the retired left off. The reason they are not getting paid these wages is because of the lack of organized labor and unions being busted up and jobs being outsourced out of country. I could go on and on but in the end the “would be” skilled trade guys will be working at costco or wal-mart bringing in just enough to pay rent (not buy a home), minimum utilities, and go to the post office to pick up the food stamps. That would be skilled trades guy/gal will never know his/her true potential, because we have changed from a hardened country with a can do attitude, to a soft country that only wants to sit, watch, and buy shit out of an ikea catalog used to the fact that they will shouldn’t expect any more pay. It used to be that the blue collar worker could support their family with one income. This isn’t the case anymore. As the saying goes, “if you don’t demand more, expect to get less”.

    So if your wondering where all the skilled trades are going, they are still around, you just have to look in another country.

  8. grail21 says:

    Sharperdill - I couldn’t agree more. I hear a lot of anti-union screaming going on right now and it bums me out. We let the stock brokers and bankers get rich and let them get away with murder and ruining the economy, but we go after the folks who build this country, maintain our roads and are barely making it by as is. My dad came to this country in the early 70s. With his carpentry skills and work ethic he was able to earn an income that could support a wife and 4 kids and after saving for a couple years buy a modest home to pour sweat equity into. We scraped by, bought everything on sale, wore hand me down clothes from our cousins, but we had a COMFORTABLE, middle class upbringing. We did this all on one income. In the time since, the price of everything has gone up, but wages have not increased to match. The idea that family of 6 could could survive on a carpenters income and own a modest home seems almost ludicrous these days (especially in the North East). There is so much rhetoric on squeezing the life out of the middle class, while the elite continue to profit. This goes beyond debate about unions because at the core of it, the questions that pop up in my mind are: what do we really value and when is the middle class going to really start focusing (and voting) on what their needs are today, not what their aspirational needs might be someday.

  9. john says:

    is this the american craftsman or what, the best of american skilled labor, unfortunatley a part of our history, our past that is going away, this man is american skill, american craft, american labor at its BEST, may the powers that be, BLESS HIM.

  10. joshua blake says:

    fantastic, makes me want to got to work!

  11. Roman says:

    I know how the man feels. I am a millwright by trade and lot of people don’t know what I’m talking about when I tell them. My son seems content to sit in front of a computer screen and live a virtual life rather than than doing something with his hands. Maybe someday he will come around, he’s still young and not too sure of himself. I’d like to pass on my skills if he will listen.

  12. Steve Williams says:

    An excellent profile on the kind of craftsman that once was easy to find in America. My father spend most of his life as a millwright in a foundry outside of Pittsburgh and used to tell me about the challenges of fabricating parts and fixes for machinery no longer produced or supported. I was much older before I really appreciated the complexity of skill and thought to do that job. For me as a kid it just seemed hard, dirty work.

    I still have a copy of Audel’s Millwright’s Manual. I can hardly imagine many knowing how to do that stuff anymore.

    Craft still exists in America but the nature is different, especially in the digital realm. Younger workers may be drawn to the clean, air-conditioned work environment…

    Thanks so much for sharing this piece.

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

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