Genuine Art: Indie Films and Over Saturation of Film Concepts

What does it take to make a genuinely original film?  Hollywood’s [6] major studios constantly remake books and other pieces of media into film.  On top of that you have genuinely passionate screenwriters who essentially have no legitimate say in the creation of the film, due to producers directors etc. and who can barely make a living writing scripts alone.  On page 45 of Paul McDonald’s piece The Contemporary Hollywood Film Industry he says, “However, only a relatively small number of writers actually make a living from screenwriting and typically writers have little clout in the industry.”  (Pg 45).  adaptationIt goes without saying that many if not most of these screen writers are genuinely passionate about what they do and they are obviously there for a reason.
However, when it is difficult to get by and you’ve spent months on a script only for the director to make a move on the fly cutting out your favorite part of the script, it becomes a very complex career path.  Additionally there’s the idea that these film concepts being written by the screen writers are basically little bits of other films compiled into a new and original piece.

So what does it take to make a genuinely original film?  While it has its obstacles, the indie film industry allows space for artists to make art out of genuine desire to create original content.  I think it’s fair to say that a huge percentage of artists would love to be able to fund themselves to simply create their own vision in the medium of film.  Schamus views the indie film movement as a microcosm of the studio industry.  (32).  I think this is a good working concept.  These six major companies control the entire industry essentially, leaving the films with budgets under $10 million to be considered in the indie industry.  Obviously there is more money in the studio films because conglomerates such as Disney capitalized on a big opportunity.  This leaves the indie films mainly screening their films through film circuits which is a whole other can of worms.

Kickstarter and other crowdfunding websites allow “unsigned filmmakers” to do something they hadn’t previously been able to do.  It could be argued that the ideas of these filmmakers are more genuine to the craft of filmmaking.  Instead of recycling ideas from books tv shows etc. like in many of the studio films so many of these indie filmmakers are crowdfunding films to gain public support and funding as well.  kickstarter-explanationAssumably the donator to a project would receive some sort of perk for their assistance.  Furthermore, the donator would also receive a product once the film is done and since they had invested financially in the film one would assume they would spread word on the film as well.  The thing I find fascinating about the indie film industry is you don’t need that big star actor or a big studio name, you just need talent, a good idea, equipment and in most cases a small team of people to help along the way.  That being said there is some downside which is the lack of major distribution plans that the studios have as a result of past work.  Finally, flipping back to a more positive side producers and other executives are now mining websites such as Kickstarter to search for the next big idea to back with their production companies budget.
Final Thought: Don’t be that filmmaker that starts a Kickstarter every week to try and make a living.  No one likes that.

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Comments

  1. Do you think there is a point in someone’s career where they should not use Kickstarter? Zach Braff got a lot of criticism for trying to fund a film on the platform. Thoughts?

    http://www.screendaily.com/news/zach-braff-shocked-by-kickstarter-backlash/5078011.article

    • I’d argue yes. It’s a cheap and convenient risk free way of begging in a sense. Obviously it takes money to make films but there’s other ways like applying for grants etc. which are more ethical I’d argue.

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