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June 8 at 11:00am

The Film Biz Must Face Reality

By Ted Hope

Maybe it comes from recognizing depressing stories don’t generally perform well at the box office, but the film industry remains infected with positive thinking. I certainly enjoy seeing a happy face in the morning, but I still prefer to face the truth. As one who has always enjoyed the dark side of tale telling, I have had to confront the industry’s preference for positive messaging and aesthetic in my practice for several decades now. It was the industry’s wholesale indifference to the fallacy of the entire enterprise beyond tentpole event movies that lead me to shift my work.

I would rather make bold aesthetically challenging films that slog through a change of infrastructure, but I can’t endure watching artist after artist be lead down the garden path of ruin. I can’t say for sure yet if I have the ability to commit the rest of my life to this change if need be, but I can say what would definitely limit my need to engage in the pursuit for that long: The Film Biz needs to face reality. Or we can follow the path of the music business and the economy (even if things are picking up, do we want to have to hit bottom first?)

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  1. Andrea Buck / Jun 8 at 11:00am

    I suppose much of the problem is that those who hold the power do not want change, because it is in their interests to keep the power, and keep the money. The naked truth is that, across all arts industries, the money is not made by creators of work, but by publishers and distributors. The only way I can see a change happening to this paradigm is for a mass exodus of artists from the system. Distributors rely on our work, earn money from our work; but we don’t. Digital development has given us the possibility to make a fundamental change to the way things are don, but even in the digital age we are not seeing a shift to allow the creation of work to sustain its makers. I too am frustrated and looking for alternatives. I am at the brink of throwing in the towel unless I can find a way to make what I do make sense.

    I will keep reading Hope For Film religiously. It is my hope that together maybe we can find a spark that catches a fire of change.

  2. Tom Broadhurst / Jun 8 at 11:00am

    What is needed is some smart accounting. If people want to make different films away from the mainstream, then they need to be able to offer potential investors the experience of investing in an art form. The current approach to crowd funding is just the start. The cost of making these films also needs a reality check. They should be passion projects geared towards online distribution with a cheap buy in price for the audience and an ample budget set aside to work with a smart marketing team prepared to push the film in a unique way that will garnish the audiences attention and offer them a low cost entry point.

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