I’ve been in this industry for a while now. No, I wasn’t hanging out with D.W. Griffith (THAT certainly wouldn’t have gone well for me!), but I’ve loved movies all my life, and have been “in the biz” for a couple of decades, so I’d like to believe that I have some small amount of insight. Eh, scratch that – I think I’m freakin’ brilliant!
I remember what it was like when I was a newbie. Our cell phones weighed 3lbs, flipped down to answer, and had an extendable antenna. When you saw someone on the street with it, you knew they were either a big shot making big deals, or a Marine calling in air support. Ah, good times AND a good arm workout! But nowadays, filmmakers have it easy. Sure, it’s nearly impossible to get money for the budget – but there was only like 12 days when getting money was “easy” and I missed them. Technology has advanced such that, if you can get your hands on a camera, video or film, or if you can get your parents to buy you a RED, you can create your opus. Now I would be the last person to say to get your friends together and just shoot it, because we all know that getting PROFESSIONAL TALENT is what it’s all about. But let’s face it, not every great production is… say, ready (read: good enough) to warrant a professional cast. So I’m taking that hat off. But you can make a film.
But what will be our next great indie film trend? We have done to death the Tarantino-esque gritty, profane homages to the 70’s. Besides, UNDERCOVER BROTHER said all there was to say on that. The slacker movie is, thankfully dead or dying – thanks James Franco. And now Judd Apatow has started to falter (it’s not lost on me that these are not “indie” films but big films whose subject matter should have been shot on your sister’s camera). 500 DAYS OF SUMMER is a romance (or death of) story cleverly told with a hipster soundtrack. Tomorrow, there will be 600 more “I love you/I hate you” films with songs by bands that only the WWWAAAAYYYY underground people will know.
What’s my point? Well, truth be told, I forgot that hours ago and am now just rambling to watch the letters appear on my screen. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. BUT, I will say this – we need you all. We need you to get out there and figure this out. Indie film isn’t dying, it’s MOLTING. It’s shedding the dead skin of those who have long since lost their indie stripes and underneath is the gleaming new skin of the next generation. Uh, in this analogy, you’re the new insect skin. Just want to be clear. We need you to keep INDIE so we can continue to outshine the big boys and their bloated productions. We need you so we can keep pulling a paycheck – but that’s neither here nor there. So, get out there and work. Think of what makes you interesting (anything? Beuller? Beuller?) and make a movie about it. Do you see the world in a different way? Make a movie about it.
Not sure you’re that interesting? Make a short. Still not sure? Make a sandwich and figure out what you’re doing with your life. In any case, remember: Actors act, writers write, and filmmakers LIVE and hold a camera up to it at the same time. Hope you’re ambidextrous.