My experiences on the periphery of film industry in Hollywood, has highlighted several issues with our current filmmaking system; issues which substantially decrease the chances of a quality film actually getting made and reaching us at the cinema. In no particular order…
1. Lack of Single Strong Voice – the best films originate from a singular place of passion, yet studio executives who have never written screenplay(s) seek their own fame and significance by meddling with the vision of the writer(s).
2. Popcorn & Coke – it is a well know fact that cinemas make the majority of their money off these two commodities (1000% plus mark-up), because of this the cinemas and studios demand a large portion of films appeal to the young male demographic as they are the biggest consumers of these commodities.
3. The Celebrity Culture – unfortunately the art of casting has become far more of a commercial decision than an artistic one; the best actor for the part doesn’t get the role, the biggest celebrity does; this results in diluted, weakened storytelling.
4. The Financial Model – there is way too much money spent first making films and then marketing them; they are still using the model of the 80’s & 90’s, where box office success was determined solely by the opening weekend performance.
5. Risk Aversion – because people without a creative skill-set are making the final decisions on casting & green lighting there is a strong tendency to stick with the known and the proven, the results, more boring, generically made films without a soul and without anything significant to say are being made.
6. Visual Effects – our stories are become so effects heavy, that our filmmakers are losing the ability to work with actors, and our stories are light on subtext and becoming increasingly filled with clichéd performances.
7. The Popular Culture Infusion – great films cut us in a way that we need to be cut, we need to see ourselves, we need to be uncomfortable, we need to be challenged; where are the filmmakers willing to plant their roots deep, to look both inside and outside of themselves and then make a provocative statement?