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Ms. Dargis has been doing an excellent job covering — and contextualizing — Indie Film’s move towards an artist-centric collaboration with the audience (and away from an exclusive control by the corporations in terms of what is made and exhibited).
it “is really surprising how few true indie films speak to a youth audience.” He continued, “In this country we’ve had Kevin Smith and ‘Napoleon Dynamite,’ but nothing that was youth and also truly on the art spectrum like ‘Run Lola Run’ or the French New Wave (‘Paranormal Activity’ not withstanding…),” adding: “Are we incapable of making the spirited yet formal work that defines a lot of alternative rock and roll? And if so, why is that?”
To me, the filmmaking community (the artists, the business folk, the curators & promoters, the appreciators & fans) have to embrace that we are in a seismic shift to an artist-centric collaboration with the audience and away from the corporate controlled supply & attention. This requires a redefinition of cinema by its creators to embrace the discovery, engagement, presentation, promotion, & appreciation processes as much as we do development & production. We have to erase the lines between between art & commerce and content & marketing. We have to stop thinking of films as singular objects and refocus on how they are bridges for the ongoing conversation we have with audiences. Specifics like VOD numbers are important, but we miss the point if we don’t look first at the big picture.
Hollywood will survive because of its ability to develop, produce, market, and distribute “Event” pictures. Whereas Hollywood’s Event Pictures are defined as being designed for general audiences, Truly Free Film can have its own event pictures too by focusing on specific audiences and understanding what it is that will drive people out of their house to do something in conjunction with others. So what are those qualities of “event”?
- A conversation that inevitably will continue after the screening is over. It is an event if you are compelled to discuss it afterwards. Is that a memorable scene? A relationship to the world we live in? Truth? Understanding? Passion? Beauty? Transcendence? What? What is the return the audience gets on their 90 minute investment? It’s the after-effect, the conversation.
- Content whose impact is enhanced by timely consumption. The audience recognizes that their social and intellectual capital will increase by having been among those whom participated — and thus are compelled to attend.
- A once in a blue moon opportunity. It expires, is used up, & is gone gone gone. If you don’t go, you will never get this chance again. It is dated and defined by that date.
- There are many pieces that fit together into something much much larger. Maybe it is part of a series or a sequence. Maybe it is the fact that the screening is only part of a bigger activity.
- The awareness that a lot of people will be participating somehow. The larger the audience the more it is an event. The wider the audience the more it is an event. The more an audience is spread out, the more it is an event.
- The memory, the understanding, and/or the appreciation of the participation changes as time passes. Events aren’t static. They grow and transform.
- Events have a material aspect to them. We take events home with us somehow, but generally via the merchandise that we barter for with our dollars.
- People you will never know are talking about it. When the Velvet Underground or The Sex Pistols first played they were events, perhaps not so much in the moment, but certainly in terms of how they were discussed long afterwards. It is partially the knowledge that we have that others are talking about what we participated in that defines an experience as an event.
- Anticipation. What makes us think about doing things in advance? How often do we need to be reminded that something is happening here?
- Commitment. If we commit to participating in something, it’s importance grows tenfold. If we, by either our own volition, or the badgering or heckering of our friends and acquientances, commit to something, it becomes the event of the moment.
1) Cut at least another 10% of the script. Even when you think you are finished, there’s always another 10% that can come out.
2) Clarify what you feel the themes are and how they evolve during the course of the narrative.
3) Figure out some of the ways that the story can be expanded onto other platforms.
4) Know what the historical precedents are for your story and how you differ from them in how you have chosen to tell it.
5) Review the script from each characters’ point of view and make sure that their dialogue and actions remain emotionally true for each of them in their different situations.
6) Recognize what some of the mysteries contained within both the characters and story are that you are committed to protecting — as not everything should be explained.
7) Understand why you are truly prepared to tell this story at this time – or not.
8) Make the world that the characters inhabit truly authentic; don’t just give them jobs or apartments or hip music to listen to.
9) Make it somehow provocative, intriguing, audacious, or thought provoking — something that will make it stand out.
10) Make sure it is more than just a good story told well. Be truly ambitious. Take us somewhere new, or take us there in a new way.