The director of Shazam, David Sandberg, has made a rather interesting YouTube video which focuses on the “problem solving of filmmaking”, but also around the genre of video essays.
While sounding like something you do in an introductory university course, video essays have become a massive genre on YouTube and other video platforms. They range wildly in how they’re put together, but the general format is to write up a few hundred words on a topic and talk over them with some kind of video or visual aspect.
This can be applied to game retrospectives, meta commentary, and especially film discussion where the video essay seems to have become incredibly popular.
Sandberg’s video essay talks about some problems he and his other filmmakers on Shazam encountered in production. Aside from being an interesting look behind-the-scenes, it also points out how those video essays don’t consider such problems when they’re making their snarky content.
It doesn’t appear that Sandberg is making any excuses or lambasting the film video essayists on YouTube, it’s just asking you to consider such things the next time you watch another piece of content like it.
On the other hand the video also ends with the opposite side of the argument, where these essayists may “find” something clever in a movie, which was actually an accident instead of a deliberate choice.
If you’re now interested in this genre on YouTube, we highly recommend the channel Nando V Movies, as very measured, thoughtful approach to film criticism. Also, when we interviewed the person running the channel (the eponymous Nando), he admitted that he has the benefit of hindsight and is free from the problems of film making when creating his videos.
Oh, and before you hit play the video below contains spoilers for Shazam, so maybe come back to this if you haven’t seen the movie yet.