The video essay is a format that is popular with both fans and academics. In that regard, it might even be the perfect way to bridge the gap between the uncritical love of fandom and the often loveless distance in academic writing. Should the video essay embrace its amateur practitioners, or is a more professional approach the only route to (scientific) sérieux?


Amateur Versus Professional (Maya Deren)

Legendary filmmaker Maya Deren makes an emphatic case for the modus operandi of the amateur. “The amateur should make use of the one great advantage which all professionals envy him, namely, freedom – both artistic and physical.”

Read this text online or download a PDF version.

In defense of amateur (Stan Brakhage)

Another passionate plea comes from famed filmmaker Stan Brakhage. “Why have critics, teachers, and other guardians of the public life come to use the term derogatorily?” he asks of the term amateur.

Download a PDF version of his thoughts on the subject.