Advanced Amateury

How to be better at being worse: clumsy loving in the age of competent content.

Written by

for Unfound Peoples Videotechnic.

A 12-part program containing:

  • 45 micro-essays and

  • nine exercises

on the subject of amateurism as a technique in filmmaking, art, and life.

Evergreen, esoteric knowledge, originally delivered in the spring of 2023.

Read in any order.


Underlined links lead to anchorpoints - each one a micro-essay or exercise - within the containing lesson.

  • Technical bandwidth | Kit jealousy between the amateur and the pro.

  • Exploiting the so-called limits | How the amateur and pro alike are restricted in their choice of equipment.

  • Consumption | The amateur’s equipment is often characterised as ‘consumer-end,’ even if the user produces more than she consumes.

  • Footage | How the “Super 8 parent” can compress their child.

  • Levering down | An example of how exploiting the limits of your gear can transform the universe inside and outside of your movie.

  • Exercise: Love letter

  • Framework | The principles of constructing a film.

  • Cheap | The value of being cheap and unique.

  • Components | The value of using cheap, mass-produced components.

  • Faulty | What to do when the construction falls down again.

  • Error or mistake | Mistakes are your fault. Errors are your universe’s fault.

  • Mistakes value | Your mistakes are jam-packed with nutritious value - and it’s all free.

  • Mistakeism | The mistakeist strategises around the inevitability of mistakes and may generate new ones - again, at no extra expense to the producer.

  • Slipstream mistakeism | How a mistake, followed to its (il)logical conclusion, can re-map your entire process and creative outcome.

  • Error | Error as a trapdoor in the system.

  • Systemic error | How multiple errors can operate together as a critique of the system of your choice (body, society, universe, local council etc.)

  • An error | The singular error as a magic key to the underlying substructure of your movie, crew, life etc.

  • System failure | “System failure” is for our epoch what “doomed expedition” was for the Victorians - a daft and eloquent metaphor for the contemporary human condition.

  • Hard error | Try hard, fail hard (good hard).

  • Exercise: System error

  • Fault | Don’t mistake an accident for a mistake: mistakes cause accidents.

  • Misfortune | To remove blame from a film set, try surrendering to misfortune. Could be good.

  • Hollis Frampton’s misfortune | Hollis Frampton’s categorisation and fabrication of the six filmmaking misfortune types.


  • Clumsy | In filmmaking, clumsiness is a kind of handwriting - and often, there are several klutzes holding the pen at once.

  • Shabby pop | In music, imperfection means authenticity, while…

  • Patches | … in movies, imperfections reveal the underlying inauthenticity of the filmmaking process.

  • The realistical fallacy | A better world is possible, in which authentic clumsiness and shabbiness are broadly appreciated as legitimate and potent cinematic residues.

  • Lens flare | Analysing the celestial trouser patch.

  • Exercise: Kitchen sun

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  • A loving dog | How the amateur might recalibrate Dziga Vertov’s “mechanical eye.”

  • Choosing love | Why the amateur is not a negative imprint of the professional, but an original agent of compulsion and spirit.

  • Carefree | What Maya Deren’s weird beef with weird burglars teaches us about love.

  • Oh no! | The toddler technique that defies mediaphysics.

  • Exercise: Advert

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