Broken Hollywood. Movies Cost Too Damn Much To Make
Are we looking at a broken Hollywood?
Goals, and movie projects for that matter, are the same as fitness. The more you practice, the better you are, the better you feel, the more composed you become. Money can only help you so much. You can have the finest fitness equipment in your house, but if you are not dedicated to using it each day, then you will see no results. Moreover, it is not required to have state-of-the-art fitness equipment in your house in order for you to exercise. You can exercise in hundreds of ways, in which none require the use of specialized fancy equipment. This is why I think we are experiencing a broken Hollywood.
How did we get to a broken Hollywood?
I remember a not so distant time where filmmakers would openly brag about how much money they spent on their films. It was commonly a topic of conversation at film festivals, and industry mixers. Funny enough, those conversations seem so archaic within the last several month as the world struggles to make sense of its future. The world is changing whether we like it or not. Business as usual is the strategy for absolute failure.
With any crisis, humans learn things. This global pandemic crisis has exposed our industry’s insensible business ideology like never before. Movies are costing too much money to produce. Costs are too inflated, and only the characters above the line truly see the financial rewards of such wasteful spending. The business model based on the “hundred of million dollar movie” is almost certainly unsustainable in a market where the demand for higher quantities of product and speed are more important than ever. With the industry having to rely primarily on streaming platforms to monetize content for the foreseeable future, producers should be asking how we could make more content for less, and keep more people working over longer periods of time. Overnight, smaller budget movies seem to be put into greater perspective.
It has always been my belief that the most rewarding pathway to becoming a film director, producer or screenwriter is through micro (low) budget filmmaking. A person can build their career, talent, gain exposure and find their voice, without creating a financial calamity for themselves and others. Micro budget filmmaking is a safer landscape of exploration and resourcefulness. I truly feel these virtues will be of greater importance as we move past this crisis. Being financially resourceful, flexible and strategic are going to be necessary survival skills in the weeks and months to come. Micro budget filmmaking might just as well be the most important experience you can have.
The next we brag about our budgets, we might as well be bragging on how little they were.
Be safe, healthy and prosper.
-Kelly Schwarze, Indie Film Factory, LLC
Author of “A Filmmaking Mindset” and “What Film Schools Don’t Tell You” available on Amazon.