What have been the big movies so far this summer? Man of Steel is getting all sorts of ink about great box office numbers. Iron Man 3 got the same. What kind of movies are these? Sequels. Or at least extensions of existing properties that have a known audience. There are action figures, stickers, games, comics, and all sorts of fan fiction.
Many of the conversations I keep hearing lament the lack of creativity in Hollywood, the reliance on sequels and comic book properties instead of original material, but no one seems to know exactly why that is, other than the vague statement of 'they're just out of ideas', usually uttered with a defeated sigh and exasperated shrug.
And then yesterday, I ran across this article, and a little tiny light came on. And the fingers are pointed at those little silver discs and people who pirate material instead of buying those little discs. Yes, pirates are the reason Hollywood can't make anything good. The irony is that normally pirates want to steal your booty, not your trash. But I digress. Anyway, the bottom line is that studios have seen their profits drop in the last 10 years, and now they don't know what to put on their reports. Now that they don't know how many DVDs they'll sell versus how many will be bootlegged, they're retreating to their foxholes and lamenting that their properties are being stolen by heartless thieves as they drive home in their new Mercedes to their six bedroom home in Malibu.
Independent filmmakers are small and quick. That means they can move and adapt in ways that is impossible for the studios. They also have a knack for technology, and are starting to think differently about the work they create. Nowadays, filmmakers can compete directly with major distributors, which is something that was virtually impossible ten years ago. They're also the ones making original films that are taking chances and giving audiences things they've never seen before. They also have the ability to churn movies out quickly and cheaply, where the studios are plugging along knocking over everything in sight because they're so big and unmaneuverable. They can't change direction once they're set in motion, but indie filmmakers can shift on a dime.
I'm seriously looking forward to what the next five to ten years are going to bring to the film industry. As long as we continue to ingest stories (which I predict we will), films will be here to fill our tanks. The way we do it might evolve, as well as the storytelling devices, but they will continue to be around forever. I personally would be happy to see the studios topple over into a more streamlined animal, like a Quarter Horse that can move in any direction at any time, ready to surprise you. I'd love to see inflated salaries shrink to something that makes more sense, and marketing reduced to the essence of stories in a sea of narratives. I think it could be cool. I think it could open opportunities for more filmmakers to make a living, instead of just a few making a killing.
What would you predict?