Living During A Filmmaking Revolution

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This blog is not so much me telling you the answers but looking to start a dialogue on the subject.  Please post your comments here or on the Squishy Studios facebook where I’ll be linking this blog.

I’ve always wanted to live during a filmmaking revolution, like the invention of sound, to see if I could have endured that time of change.  I dunno, I have a huge amount of romanticism for that age in particular.  That’s one of the reasons I love the movie The Artist.  It just seemed like such a thrilling time of invention, yet fraught with human drama.  Make no mistake, the invention of sound flipped the movie world upside down.  It ruined countless careers, put so many people out of work …  Akira Kurosawa’s brother, who worked in silent films, killed himself over this transition.

DSLR filmmaking has certainly been a revolution in low-end digital quality, but it’s nothing to the level of change that social media and the internet have created.

But the thing is, we DO live during a time of DRAMATIC revolution of the film industry.  I’m not talking about Digital vs Film.   That’s a change in the medium of “filmmaking” that’s big for the filmmakers but the audience is barely aware of.  Hell my jaw dropped to find out that virtually every film that I’ve seen here in the valley in the last few years has been a digital projection and not a film print.  DSLR filmmaking has dramatically changed the level of quality for independent productions, but it hasn’t really affected the industry itself from top to bottom.  It hasn’t affected how people watch movies.  No, I’m talking about the internet … and social media in particular.  And it’s a little less perceptible because the internet is basically changing how we do everything, not just movies.

One of the things that got me thinking about this is subject is a comment that Wil Wheaton made here. Here’s the short version, “This is the best time in history to be a creative person, because all you need is an idea and a lot of hard work. You don’t have to go impress one person who is a gatekeeper; you just have to be awesome in your own way, and get your creation in front of an audience.”

Just think about how YouTube, Netflix, internet piracy, Facebook, and Kickstarter all have changed the landscape of filmmaking.  You can now build fan bases through social media, distribute your work online, get crowd funding financing through that same fan base…

Squishy Studios isn’t so much a traditional production company, as it was originally created to be, but a true independent “studio” that exists in the new age of digital filmmaking.

Now there’s downsides to this, of course …  It means a hell of a lot more work because you now have to be your own publicity machine.  I mean seriously, promoting your work is your new full time job, with the only ray of hope being successful enough soon that you can delegate some (not all) of this stuff too.  Because now, with ten million channels out there, your greatest obstacle is obscurity.  Oh and you probably won’t get paid any time soon too …  BUT for the creative soul, who’s willing to put in a hell of a lot of work, I do in fact feel it is one of the best times to be alive.

I just wish I could get more sleep!

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5 thoughts on “Living During A Filmmaking Revolution

  1. I feel as though we are experiencing something similar to when writing was no longer a privilege and more and more people could read and write. I think we are going to see a lot more filmmakers that look like painters, writers, and musicians. Yes, there is the opportunity for huge success and large amounts of money, but the reality is more of the people participating will be doing it out of love for the art. For so long you had to have millions of dollars to express yourself through film, but it really is feasible for a group of children to make a summer movie. I’m actually in the process of hooking up an xbox controller to adobe premier in an effort to make editing more accessible to kids.

    Great post 🙂

    • Nice! Yeah I think a big difference between now and the indie film boom of the 1990’s is that a feature is a huge gamble, even if you have the “small” budget of $50,000. Now you can shoot a whole series for 5% of that.

  2. Years ago I saw a guy make a small sequence that went into Gremlins 2(Hulk Hogan in the theater). He did it in a small room, about 10 feet wide with a green screen back. He had a bunch of props, and willing family members. He posted the sequence and got the attention of Warner Brothers. They loved it, I never knew if they used it. I heard talk they wanted to.

    Regardless of the subject, all I thought was this is the future. No more studio machine to deal with. Anyone who has an idea and the gumption can make a film.
    I asked a friend who works in Hollywood, what would it take to make your own stuff. He said a good computer(with the right software), and a camera that will only run you a couple of grand.

    I do think things will take time, you guys are still way out in front. But all it’s going to is one of these truly independent projects to take off. It will make the time after Star Wars came out, look like nothing happened.

    Just an aside, look up Space Command, that’s another independent project. From a bunch of old Hollywood guys.

    • Yeah, I agree with you on this taking time. We haven’t really had a big “success” story yet in the world of web series and whatnot. I mean shows like “The Guild” are big, sure, but even those guys want to do feature films and are struggling. And there’s plenty of people who still don’t know what a “web series” is… But it’s an exciting time!

  3. Hollywood has done it’s job very well. People think they have to go there to make entertainment.

    With the days of the big three(tv networks) behind us. Print media is on the way out as well, cable companies are hemorrhaging subscribers(Netflix is great). Movie attendance has been dropping steadily for well over a decade. Blockbuster busted down to blueboxes(but there is a line in front of the Redbox).
    Things don’t look good for the old media. Economy is part of the picture. But I think product choice is the main reason. Even now it’s hard to gauge the market, because there are so many things to entertain us. People are still figuring things out. Today it’s Facebook, tomorrow Facebook will do a faceplant. Something else will be a big deal. But that’s how the net has been as long as I can remember.

    But one thing is evident, you no longer need a distribution system to get to your audience. As you said you need marketing.

    That’s how I found you guys. I passed by your booth at Phoenix Comicon.

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