I was driving back from Santa Monica this morning and started thinking about this blog and realized I'm bordering on getting WAY TOO frigging serious. (And also I haven't been spell checking.) I mean indie film shouldn't be about being serious. I mean it's rock and roll - ROCK AND ROLL BABY!!!
Oh, for fuck's sake, did I really just write that? Am I actually going to hit that little publish button and let all of my hard-earned readers see what a dork I am? Yeah, probably. But wait - there's more... I haven't gotten to the gay rhinoceri yet.
Here's the thing - I mean, the thing is this: independent film really should be like rock and roll. Not rock and roll now where bands like Metallica - who used to be good - sue their fans over file sharing - but old time rock and roll - old time like the Sex Pistols and Ramones and sex and drugs and groupies and throwing TV sets out of windows and cutting up pieces of shark and... well never mind that...and dying from overdoses (all right, maybe not that part either) and about the music, man, it's all about the music! But if indepedent cinema is going to be anything these days it's going to have to break the rules and recreate the markert. I mean clearly the studio model isn't working - or does anyone really believe "Spiderman 2" deserved the money it earned (and yes I am breaking a rule here - I made a rule to myself that having been a filmmaker, a darn thin-skinned one at that, I wasn't going to criticize other people's movies (though I'm hearby making a caveat that exempts studio movies.))
Indie film has a chance to break out (break out in a way that it hasn't yet.) It has a chance to break out by being good at it's own thing. It has a chance to do that by making good films that people are interested in. There's only one problem and that is publicity - in other words, getting people to know about your film so they can go paste their eyeballs to it. Because it's possible to have a great movie and never get it seen. The problem is the way we see movies now - or more specifically the way movie wind up in front of our eyeballs.
Maybe the way we've been going around it has been wrong - in other words, making a film and trying to sell it to a distributor - or even using a distributor at all - and Blockbuster and all that - and hoping that some guy - or girl - who can distribute movie sees your movie and says, YES! Here is a movie I can sell without actually having to do any work (Because in a real sense that's why Blockbuster is FILLED with a thousand crapie horror/gang/nudie movies (no offense to the good horror/gang/nudie movies.))And maybe we should be looking for a different way. I mean isn't that really what the whole digital revolution is about? Isn't the real reason we don't have digital movie theaters in every mall because it means everyone with a DVD burner can become a distributor?
To be honest, I don't have an answer. I'm making a little film with no-budget with a bunch of friends I happen to know are great actors. And you should too. I don't know what will become of it - if it will play festivals or get distribution or maybe I'll show it at Burning Man, I don't know. But I think that however it gets seen it's going to be a different route. What's that expression? If the mountain won't go to Mohammed, Mohammed must go the mountain. We need to recreate the market - or create a different ROUTE to the market. And how do we do that? In the hip circles of academia it's what's called narrow-casting. You make a film that appeals to a very small, but focused group of fans - say, for instance afficianados of gay rhinoceros psychology.
Now - clearly gay rhinoceros psychology (oh - and by the way - I do see the all the Freudian subtext in the combination of "gay" and "rhinocers" (so that $400 I spent on an indie film "consultant" so he could tell me I had "homoerotic subtext" in my movie wasn't wasted - well not completely)) isn't an area of interest that spans across generations, but there may be a few fans of it. So lets say we make our movie and get it out, and sell a few DVDs and move on. But hang on - a few DVDs? That isn't going to cut it. Movies are expensive to make, no question there. And the only way we make our money back is with enough paying eyeballs and what if, as in this case, there really aren't that many paying eyeballs? The answer is you have to make it cheap. You need people to work for free, you need to shoot and direct and do craft service and act in the nude scene all by yourself if that's what it takes. And then you cut it on your Macintosh with Final Cut Pro and burn a few DVDs and get them out at whatever gay rhinoceros convention happens in your town. And if you persist you may eventually develop a fan base and sell a few more and eventually someone will write about your film (headlines will scream: the "Citizen Kane" of Gay Rhinoceros movies in a kind of hipper than thou way) and you'll get a little publicity and make a few more movies and you'll be a filmmaker. You might not be Steven Spielberg, but you could be Russ Meyer (minus the giant naked breasts - or with them if that's your thing) And then what will happen is that the studios will pick it up and they'll all start their own gay rhinoceros divisions and suck up all the screen space and... well never mind that. That's a few years down the road. - but what will happen is enough of us do this and talk it up people will start to LOOK for this stuff - and by people I mean people beyond the hordes of film geeks who look for it anyway (myself included) and then thing will change. And then...
...well then the rest is up to you. I'd tell you, but I'm already getting way to wordy for a webblog.