Monday, September 23, 2013

There's no right way to make a film.....right?

~Wow! Wrote this a month ago and totally forgot to post it! At the time there was a lot of articles floating around about how to make films for your audience so I wrote this. Although I feel this will always be relevant anyway so, enjoy!~

It's been a while since I've written a post. I somehow thought I'd be able to finish post production on a feature, work, run a fundraising campaign, and still find time to update the blog! Time hasn't been afforded to me freely enough to update regularly but something has been bugging me and I just have to get it out there.

It seems lately I've been hearing a lot about crowd sourcing projects and writing for a known audience in order to get funding for your projects and insure it has a life after its made. Now don't get me wrong I find this very interesting as a social experiment and it seems like a viable business strategy for many kinds of films but not as a valid method of creating ALL film. I'm curious if other disciplines view this as a good thing, but I'm concerned with filmmaking, so this is why I feel it could hold back progress in the long run. 

Collaboration is key in any group endeavor and filmmaking is no exception. I feel some of the most amazing discoveries we find as storytellers are those we stumble upon with our collaborators. The thing I find disturbing about tailoring a project to a group or creating the film by committee is the loss of any singularity in the project. When we collaborate on a film we might have a great conversation with the the DP or a production designer and an idea will come out of that and will vastly improve the way the story is being told that might never have happened. This is awesome and some of my favorite moments making films and moments in the films I've made have happened this way and its a miracle. 

Now on the other side of the coin if there's an idea proposed by someone on set, and lets say everyone loves it, but the director doesn't feel it goes with the themes of what their trying to do. Remember the director keeps the whole story, themes, and pace of the picture in their head and every decision they make serves what they are trying to achieve. Traditionally the director or producer, can veto the idea and continue with what they feel will tell the story better. Analogously, if things start being made by committee to serve an end and all those people that like that idea think it should stay, then it does. Who's to say what idea is better, that's not what concerns me. I'm afraid we'll loose our singular voices. If a mob is making a film then the ideas in that film might be diluted and generalized to cater to a mass of people. Sound familiar? This is the same way that some Hollywood blockbusters are made. Executives try to make films that will appeal to everyone so they can sell as many tickets as they can. In the process we are presented with a safe copy of every other watered down blockbuster lacking vision. 

If this starts to happen with independent films just because we need the money to make them I fear we will loose those unique voices that independent film has always fostered. Sometimes we need those voices to be reminded of different perspectives and keep our views open. When everyone says something at once all we hear is noise and thats what can happen if this becomes the new norm. Sure this will benefit certain projects and if your film organically has a built in audience of course market to them, but catering your writing to a predetermined audience just doesn't seem genuine to me. If you follow the truth in your story audiences will respond to that and the films that have always stood out to me are the ones that have a unique voice and make me see something from a new perspective. 

So lets not be afraid of telling the stories we want to tell. We make indie films because we want to share our perspective not conform to everyone else's. Sometimes I feel its a method of control for the current gatekeepers who seem a little too scared to hand over the keys to the new generation. When we start to make films for a predetermined audience we are basically going down the road of Hollywood, no? 

Again, there are totally films and genres and projects that this kind of thing is really awesome for, I'm not disputing that. I'm disputing the idea that this is the only way to move forward in all independent film. Remember anyone can make a film and put it out there. The democratization of film doesn't mean our tastes should be democratized. I mean it works okay for governments to run things (debatable) but not for artistic expression. So instead of making five films with all the same voice, lets make 500 films with independent voices.

Make what you want gorilla filmmakers, it will be beautiful in its singularity. 

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