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Want to Know What’s Wrong with the Film Business

independent film, entertainment, film festival, film events, film reviews

I responded to Ted Hope’s piece on his site, Hope for Film, today.

Here’s what I said:

If you really want to answer the rhetorical or serious question of the title, you need not look further than the fact that there are too many people making films who have no talent, no instinct and not a single clue as to how to tell a story clearly, concisely and efficiently. Technology and narcissism make dangerous bedfellows.

We live in a time when everyone wants to be an artist and sadly, when few truly are. I’ve said it before and I’ll risk saying it again, but I think we need to get back to basics in our filmmaking, and that the rest will be much easier.

The moment you have to apologize for anything in your film (shaky-cam, muffled sound, bad acting, and poor production quality are often culprits in this scenario), you’re behind the 8-ball. I mean the one from the pool table (for you younger readers who might be flashing on a drug name) the black one with the number eight that signifies bad luck.

Tell a story, tell it well, and hold the camera still for at least 5 seconds, and you have a chance to reach out to a broad audience, and not just film festival crowds. The film business is really an unstructured mess at the moment, and hopefully in time the structure will jell again and make sense.

If not, then the only way you’re going to make money in this business is to sell advice and services to filmmakers who do not know this is the case. Sorry to sound so sour about the biz, but I do not believe this is a good time to be in it, no matter what anyone says about all the possibilities of making it big, making money, and making a real movie.

I don’t know that it will ever return to being a true business again, except for the very top, where people are paid VERY well. The middle of the business is gone, the victim of corporate ownership of the media and complete vertical integration. This is the first time in my 48 years in the business where I can honestly say I don’t know what’s next for those of us who have worked in the industry as professionals, paid professionals for so many years.

I’m hopeful that the haze of the digital age will clear soon, and we’ll have a better idea of what’s next. A new year is just around the corner, and with it I hop it brings some clarity for all of us who love the film business, and love working in the business. There’s an answer out there. But before that, there seems to be many questions. We need to keep asking ourselves and others how we can make sense of the film business, and transform it from the hobby it has become back to a sustainable business.

Stay tuned to Indieplex for more on this subject.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.