There’s an interesting article in the New York Times called Surivival Tips for the Aging Independent Filmmaker (free registration required).
It paints a pretty bleak picture of the ability of filmmakers to make a living making movies, with big names in the indie world supplementing their incomes with "day jobs."
According to many of the people interviewed, they blame Hollywood Stars (Why I never!), the industry’s definition of a hit, disappearing audiences, and aesthetic conformity:
As Finn Taylor (The Darwin Awards) said “I feel like the indie genre has developed the same predictable subgroups that the studios have,” he said. “Screenwriters play it structurally safe: interconnectivity of stories, time shifts, following quirky characters.”
These are all interesting points, and confirm my belief that, despite the fact that they call it "show business," anyone who goes into the entertainment industry (or any of the arts) to make money… hell… to even make a living, is doing it for the wrong reasons.
Make a movie, perform, paint a picture, write a poem, tell a story because you must. Do it because of passion. Do it because you have something you have to say. Do it because you love it. Do it because you can’t see do anything else. Just do it.
And give me a large order of fries with that.