Remember the Audience

I’m sitting here waiting for the Robert Rodriguez chat on DVDFanatics.com. So I thought I’d have a little rant first.

I’ve been reading a lot of film and filmmaker websites lately and one thing that is seriously getting on my nerves is how indie people think their movies are better than the studios because they are indie. This doesn’t follow. A lot of “indie” stuff sucks.

Sometimes it sucks because it is amateurish. The quality of the production or the writing isn’t there. Other times it sucks because it is trying to make you think, or preaching to you, or is about something that is boring or depressing. The audience for a film about heroin addiction – which according to one blogger “had to be made” – doesn’t materialize. Imagine that. I come home from work or get my precious weekend time and I’m really looking forward to living the life of a heroin addict.

I understand why someone might feel this movie had to be made. Drug addiction is a terrible thing and most people want to avoid thinking about it. They need to be motivated to do something about it. And since art, and cinema, is about emotion, it can be a powerful motivator. But most people watch a movie – or listen to music or read a book – because they want to feel good, or powerful, or happy. So a movie that makes you feel sad isn’t going to attract a big audience.

And people thinks studios are stupid because they don’t give these movies wide distribution or funding. Studios are heartless, but they aren’t that stupid. You make a movie that will attract an audience and they’ll throw money at you. Read Rodriquez’s story. They saw a film in Spanish and knew they had someone with talent, then the money just poured in. It wasn’t just that Rodriguez was indie, it was that he was marketable.

Anyway that’s my rant for the day.

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