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November 15 at 8:30am

Is Our Film Culture Designed To Create Corporate Hucksters?

Sometimes it serves us to let our dark paranoia run rampant.  I have always had a love affair with conspiracy theories, but it is one of longing more than indulgence.  If only governments and people in general cared enough about other people to actually strategize to the extent needed to control things to the level most conspiracy theories fantasize.  But maybe instead of politics and community being the focus, the conspiracies exist in the pursuit of profit.  Sometimes looking at the result of business structures as their intent instead of their coincidental effect sheds further light on a complicated situation.

We all know that there is a substantial flaw to our film infrastructure: artists and their supporters are not rewarded for the work they generate.  I speak of this as a problem.  If the industry actually tried to make sure that the people who made the work benefited from the work, we’d have more money in the system, and it would probably be smarter money (that knew enough to let the filmmakers have creative control — or at least more of it) at that.  But all evidence points to the fact that the film industry wants to prevent creators from financially benefiting from their work.  We can change that (and I am going to try), but that’s for another post about why I have chosen to work for a not-for-profit.

Let’s let our dark side work for us for a moment:  if the model is not broken, but actually works, what is it trying to do?  Why would the film business not want creators to benefit?  Is it to give more people the opportunity to become filmmakers and investors since the current system virtually drives out all the experienced filmmakers and investors?  Ah, alas, much evidence exists to show that access and opportunity is not of interest to film business leaders (like the disproportional representation of white males — such as myself).  So what could it be?

What happens to those that survive in the film business?  If filmmakers can’t survive by making feature films, how do they survive?  There’s been one business strand that long has been there with a helping hand  to the creative class and it seems like even our greats have long had to indulge in their offerings.  Is the whole of film culture designed to create cinematic masters who then must be slaves to Madison Avenue and their international equivalents?


Evidently these bank commercials were the last films Fellini ever made, and they aired after he died.

I don’t think commercials kill directors, but I do think [...]

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March 4 at 11:04am

Who Is Making Additional Material For Their Features?

I am not even talking about true transmedia work with developed story lines and expanded narratives; I am just wondering what examples are out there of additional material that has been used by filmmakers, mainstream and the indie DIY side both, to help bring audiences to the films.

Rainn Wilson tweeted about the shorts he did with Slash for The Rocker a few days ago, and I checked them out, but at that time, six months after the release less than 300 people had watched them on YouTube.
We have the videos s that Arin & Susan did for Four Eyed Monsters and set the bar for indie film promotion.  We have Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up skits, and Wes Anderson’s short for Darjeeling Express.  But what else is there?  Why isn’t everyone doing it?  I would think that it is by now standard practice, but no.  It’s not truly a money issue because there are lots of ways to do work on the cheap.
On Adventureland, we came up with a couple of short pieces that will soon debut on iTunes and elsewhere, but that was the first time that a studio “let” us do it.  I want to do it on every film now, and hopefully scripted well in advance.
Let us know what other examples you’ve found.

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