Feb
22
2014

@Salon film reactionary terrified of current indy movie paradigm.

Don’t let the snide references to Reaganomics and Walmart fool you: this is straight up, 100% freeze-the-market-because-I-fear-change reactionary thinking.  The problem? Salon feels that it’s too easy to make an independent movie, these days: and that all those people who work on independent films aren’t getting enough money (despite the fact that said people keep doing it, which at least suggests that maybe they’re still getting something out of participating).  The solution?

Hoo, boy.

Perhaps the answer lies in film institutes and filmmaking organizations collaborating to establish a network of talent labs/incubators where talent is developed in-house, the majority of top film festivals’ admissions are films developed within the network, and top distributors commit to purchasing movies made in the network.

When post-Peace of Westphalia Europe did this, we called it ‘mercantilism’ and ‘colonialism.’  Guess what the consumers get to do, in that paradigm?  That’s right: eat what’s put in front of them.

Perhaps it lies in top film festivals developing an accreditation system or trade union, discouraging the existence of festivals that do little more than collect submission fees and dole out digital laurels like candy.

When medieval craftsmen did this, we called it a ‘guild system.’  It takes a special kind of genius to be a form of economic activity that’s hated by both Adam Smith and Karl Marx.

Perhaps it lies in top film institutions refocusing filmmakers on development – placing an emphasis on screenwriting, talent labs and a return to making short films.

Somewhere, there is some poor person whose job it is to sell the concept of ‘bidets’ to the American public.  That person is right now feeling an inexplicable kinship to the author of this article: look, another advocate for a nice idea that does not sell!  Seriously, it’s been my experience that when you start talking about pursuing a marketing strategy that have First, reeducate the public into liking your product as a hidden first step, things are unlikely to end well.

Perhaps it lies in updated vertical integration models inspired by the old studio system — say what you will about the old system, but everyone working within it got paid and lots of great films got made.

Say what you will about the old system, but people were chronically underpaid, the top brass running things routinely trampled quality into the dirt, and a godawful amount of utter dreck got made.  Which, astoundingly, is more or less Salon’s complaint about the current system.

And perhaps none of these suggestions hold the answer, but we need ideas because, whatever the answer is, it can’t simply be to unquestioningly make more features.

…Leaving aside the fact that the first part of this sentence effectively alerts the reader that he just wasted five minutes of lifespan that could have been more profitably spent watching Adventure Time, the question is duly begged: why can’t people unquestioningly make more features?

:pause:

Right, because the current independent film industry model hasn’t… no, I’m not going to finish that thought.  It’s too mean-spirited.  Suffice it to say that I am reminded of Reagan’s famous distinction between a recession and a depression…

Via

 

Moe Lane

PS: Speaking of crowdfunding: I kicked in $20 to Kung Fury because I wanted to see a time-traveling 80’s cop have a kung fu brawl with Adolf Hitler. I’d say that I’m sorry that the concept of Hey, maybe we can find people who want to see this stuff and get them to give us money ahead of time so that we can make this stuff seems to be so threatening to people who are used to being more selective in their appeal, except that I’m not actually sorry and I don’t see any reason to lie about it.

PPS: Man, I’m just a regular Cranky McRanterpants today, huh?  I must be getting old.

16 Comments

  • BigGator5 says:

    “…Leaving aside the fact that the first part of this sentence effectively alerts the reader that he just wasted five minutes of lifespan that could have been more profitably spent watching Adventure Time“…
    .
    Mathematical!

  • Luke says:

    There’s still a distribution chokepoint. I don’t know enough about the industry to venture a guess at how to overcome it.

    • Crawford says:

      What distribution chokepoint? You still go to theaters for movies?

      • Luke says:

        Sometimes.
        But I sure don’t buy direct-to-VHS movies.
        First, I would have to know about them.
        Second, I would have to be convinced that it is worth my money *before* I spend anything.
        Third, I’m not young. Free time is extremely limited, and more valuable than money. I’m not going to waste it on a movie unless I’m pretty danged sure it’s worth it.

        • Skip says:

          What is this VHS that you speak of?
          .
          I’d guess that something approaching 99% of the movies I see come from Netflix, and relatively few of them got a theatrical release.
          .
          Netflix has gotten scary good on suggestions for me after a few years.

  • […] In his latest post, Moe Lane has lots of fun fisking this notion: […]

  • Herp McDerp says:

    … it really is time to have an honest conversation about film.
     
    When a sanctimonious liberal says it’s time to have a “conversation” about something, prepare to be lectured about why you are stupid, wrong, and evil and she is a brave champion of truth, justice, and equality.
     
    At a time when studios are reducing the number of films they release each year, why does the number of indies keep increasing?
     
    And if you subtract out the ones that are remakes, reboots, sequels, or based on comic books, the number of successful/i> Big Studio Movies made each year approaches zero.
     
    Perhaps it lies in top film festivals developing an accreditation system or trade union, discouraging the existence of festivals that do little more than collect submission fees and dole out digital laurels like candy …
     
    … or that promote films of which the Enlightened People do not approve. I’m sure the Замполиты attached to the accreditation systems and trade unions will make the correct decisions to keep out the riff-raff.
     
    An industry with fewer films may have allowed these great talents to get the attention and support they deserved, and given them a better chance to shine.
     
    Far more likely is what actually happened in Real Life back when the big studios made all the movies: many of the “new talents” were the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, cousins, and aunts of well-established actors, directors, and producers. (Is there any other explanation for Nicholas Cage?)

    • BigGator5 says:

      I like you. Moe, can I keep him?

      • Herp McDerp says:

        Perhaps. Are you young, female, fair of face, bathycolpous, lascivious, and the owner of a brewery? Otherwise, no.

        • Brian Swisher says:

          ”Bathycolpous.” You haven’t happened to have read Anthony Burgess novels besides ”A Clockwork Orange”, have you?

          • Herp McDerp says:

            Heh. Only A Clockwork Orange … but I first encountered “bathycolpous” in a review of one of his other novels. The reviewer was impressed by his use of the word, and so was I.

    • 1_rick says:

      At a time when studios are reducing the number of films they release each year, why does the number of indies keep increasing?

      And if you subtract out the ones that are remakes, reboots, sequels, or based on comic books, the number of successful/i> Big Studio Movies made each year approaches zero.

      Fox Butterfield, call your office!

      It’s almost like the indies are fulfilling an unmet need.

      • Herp McDerp says:

        I have to wonder whether the twit who wrote that piece would have greenlighted Argo. I suspect she wouldn’t have.

  • Crawford says:

    “discouraging the existence of festivals that do little more than collect submission fees and dole out digital laurels like candy.”
    .
    As someone listed on IMDB due to my work on 48-hour film festival shorts, I resent that remark.

  • Catseyes says:

    I have to conclude that what the organism in question is complaining about it do to many films are being produced by the wrong people. The public is getting access to information they are not supposed to know and the Narrative is being disrupted by the malcontents. So Yeah us!

    • Herp McDerp says:

      Tsk. Another unruly peasant who doesn’t know his place. Don’t think that your so-called “facts” are somehow superior to what you are told by your Betters.

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