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Why I hate the Indie vs. Independent And other Film Wars

Posted by bwmm on October 23, 2010

http://my.spill.com/forum/topics/independent-films-dying-breed
http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail203.html This is too funny. I do remember a film professional mentioning something like this. He stated that many so called no-bud/micro-bud movies or uknown filmmakers (who end up with hit no bud movies in theaters or film fests) have a producer family member/friend, friend of family backing them. Don’t know if this is true or not, but it does make you think when you hear these hyped up stories.

Anyways during your entry into filmmaking you may come across a war going on (that personally gets on my nerves) which is the indie vs. independent war or debate . Also indie vs. independent vs. Genre vs. whatever. To me it’s the most silly debate I have ever seen.

All “indie” is, is a shorter version of independent which means independent of the studio. It was financed (some say a small portion of finance might come from a studio, but the majority from funding outside of the studio system.) That means an independent film is no less independent, because it was distributed by a major studio. Like what was stated in the above video many indie or independent films are more like b-films. B-films aren’t bad. That’s not what the b in bfilm stands for. It stand for budget. Having a low-budget, b actors as in not a list. Also what most say as indie (as in no budget or low budget) could also be categorized as micro-budget filmmaking.

Having no, low-budget, no stars, quircky stories etc. is just a by product, because many indies filmmakers have limited funds not because they are independent. An independent filmmaker could have access to a lot of funds as well as other resources.

You can have a high budget, high concept film and be indie (Star Wars anyone), you can have stars. You can also have a low-budget high concept film as well. I remember someone asking why would Hollywood actors want to do an indie film when they make a lot of money in HWood. I was like duh could it be because they are actors? So they want to-well- act.

DVXUSER “Honestly most of my friends wouldn’t even watch indie movies. I can’t say I blame them. I don’t watch indie movies either. Not true indie movies, anyway. Sure, I watch indie movies that were made for $7, $8 million, but how indie is that honestly? The rest of us making real indie movies are never given budgets like that.” (P.6) What is a true indie film? How is some one with 7 or 8mill less indie? How is someone with stars or known people in their films less indie? (wasn’t mentioned, but I think this needs to be asked)

High Concept according to Blake Snyder “The term was made famous by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner in their heyday as young gurus running Disney. To them it meant just what we’ve been discussing here– making the movie easier to see– and they came up with a long run of successful high concept movies. All you had to do was look at the one-sheet (another name for the poster) and you know “What is it?? for Ruthless People, Outrageous Fortune, and Down and Out in Beverly Hills.” (P. 15)

Just yahoo, google etc. the Katzenberg 28-page memo.

It seems like people have to try to make categories or labels that weren’t there in order to film better about themselves, because another filmmaker or whatever did something they didn’t think of and succeeded. It never occurs to many who do this that independent/indie is going to be different to different people. Just focus on the main definition of an indie/independent film and the rest is personal. Instead just worry about making films. I also think that many get so focused on themselves they forget about the audience. The audience don’t care about all the labels. They just want to see a damn film.

I remember reading where a filmmaker blasted Robert Rodriguez for El Mariachi saying that it wasn’t a true indie film (LOL) because it was an action film like Hollywood etc. LOL I mean seriously how is it not indie/independent. He made it on no-budget (remember that’s true indie), he even sold his body to science (we have a lot of these trials mostly targeted at students in Austin. Especially UT students) His stars were unknowns, he wrote the script based on what he had, he wore all hats etc. So how was it not indie/independent?

What I don’t get is how many of these filmmakers (ones who like to start this type of drama) love to bring up how with indie films you can have your creative vision (as if a big budget indie couldn’t) or tell stories Hollywood wouldn’t tell etc., but are just as likely or scared to have movies featuring black characters as with mumblecore. Like I said these filmmakers don’t owe us anything, but they can’t diss out other indies for budgets or Hollywood studio features for not being daring or having different characters, races, stories etc. when most of them don’t do so as well.

Please! Filmmakers don’t get into this indie vs. independent vs. genre vs. studio vs. anything debate. Just make your films. Yeah there are stinkers in Hollywood as there are in independent or Bollywood, Nollywood or any other industry. Even old Hollywood had the stinkers along with the most loved classics (which sometimes during their own times weren’t loved at all)

Works Cited

“Anyone Made A $250,000 Film?.” DVXUSER. 08-02-2008 03:14 AM, 2008. Web.
20 Oct. 2008. .

Snyder, Blake. Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need. 1st.
Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions, 2005. Print.

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One Response to “Why I hate the Indie vs. Independent And other Film Wars”

  1. scificrazy said

    I get what many are saying when it comes to the high budges. Most though are talking about post production, blow-up etc. but getting it in the can is what filmmakers like Rodriguez were talking about. But yeah I do think many of these so called-no-low-budget movies were shot for more than they say. Also the hype with shooting on digital video cameas (or the so-called newest and greatest) when in fact the movie turns out to be shot on film. I’ve seen this with several films not claiming to be shot on film vocally, but letting people think it is, because the RED label is on the film or SONY EX etc. I am beginning to wonder how many of these films are really shot on digital, but are really shot on film just to help sell a camera to unsuspecting masses.

    Also if I recall it was a bw filmmaker that said that RR’s movie El Mariachi wasn’t a true indie, because it was more like an H-wood movie. That disappointed me deeply that this bw would say this. I mean this man is making a feature film his way. What he likes? Seriously when bp barely had anything out can this woman diss this man for doing something (which was just an exercise to learn feature filmmaking as he had mostly done shorts) He intended it for the Spanish Video Market, but they didn’t want to pay a good price for it. (he needed more money to make the sequels) So he used the contacts he made at an Austin Film Society function went to LA. Lived freaking cheap and then went to a studio that picked up his flick and the rest is history.

    I agree with one of the comments in the links above. People love to diss out others. Saying that they sold out as independents because they want to get into Hollywood and are using their features to do so; when most of their asses are wanting and trying to do the same thing.

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