Monday, 1 October 2012


I hear this all the time on timelines from movie fans. "Is there no original ideas left anymore in Hollywood? What's going on?
Hollywood has enough original movie ideas to keep a bonfire going for a hundred years! Thats not the problem, but REAL originality is not encouraged, it's not wanted. When you are spending $100-250m on a film, it has to appeal to almost every demographic on the planet. Which also means you won't be getting any real edgy films from Hollywood. It also has to have the ready made fan base from the book, comic, toy, or previous original filmmaking that came from a time when more original ideas were made. It's too much money to risk on a fresh idea today. Thats why we will never get fresh ideas from Hollywood. It's not a factory for artists. 
There's many great movies that were funded and distributed by Hollywood, but many of the classics that we love were funded independently, then distributed by top distribution companies or studios. Thats all changed drastically because it's not cost effective for the studios and major distributors anymore. There's so many other forms of entertainment in the world today, and piracy, so they have to spend multi millions in marketing to get attention. Which is usually with huge 3D like blockbuster rollercoasters. "Interesting" films is not a good business plan for them. Hollywood has always been a business, but it's a lot more corporate in it's approach today. 
We could say those indie films like "Blair Witch" and "Paranormal Activity: done well. "Blair Witch" WAS a marketing campaign concept from the filmmakers from day one. "Paranormal Activity" could so easily have ended up on a website with a $10 paypal button. A studio decided to take a risk on that, ONLY after they started to create a "demand it" web buzz. But lets face it, those films are not great iconic indie films of the 20th centrury like "Easy Rider" and " Taxi Driver" They are still characterless concept films, which is why Hollywood took a risk with them. 
It's incredibly risky for Hollywood to distribute a small movie, even if they do think it's the next "Paranormal Activity" That type of risk taking is rare, and thats why it only really happens once every ten years. Then they milk the ready made fan base for years with sequels. On whole, It's a safer bet for Hollywood to spend big money on a ready made market film. Batman, Prometheus ,The Hunger Games, Harry Pottter. Ironically, they spend more money for less risk. They have flops too, "John Carter", but gambling on blockbusters is still in their favour for the moment. 

Does this mean we will never see original bold story telling again? TV is where the most interesting work is coming from, but that can't REALLY break new ground when it's for a mass market and has to please advertisers. The next "Taxi Drivers" or "Reservoir Dogs" or REALLY fresh bold work, is going to have to come from daring filmmakers who self fund. They are also going to have to be driven entreprenuers who are great at marketing their work, and brand over YEARS! 
Ironically, you will still get a lot of those talented filmmakers who want inside that conventional arena of Hollywood. They make work as a calling card to Hollywood or the top indie circuit. ( Which usually leads to Hollywood!) Many of the promising indie filmmakers and actors who came on the scene are part of the Hollywood system now. I personally think we will only see a new type of story telling if talented filmmakers are successful at marketing their own work, and they also decide to go their own way 100% and don't get seduced by the system.
It's only then, that we might get to see original, and bold rock & roll filmmaking. At the moment, it's kind of old and dusty, as many are still holding on to the old ways of doing things. The tools and platforms are now there to burn it all down and start fresh, but time will tell if there is enough individual spirits that REALLY want to do that. "Indie" does not mean interesting, subversive, different, anymore! It means everybody! Until then, that fire of original stories in Hollywood will continue to burn!

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