Will there come a time?



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Will there come a time?

    This isn't a log or sample pages. Just a question, but one that seems to fit best here.

    Do you think there will ever come a time again when we, the writers, don't have to worry about "the hook" and "set pieces" and all that happy crappy aimed at the opening weekend? What I'm getting at is, will we ever see a time when movies like American Beauty are the norm, and stuff like, well, just about everything else is the anomaly?

    I'm thinking specifically of the freedom movie makers enjoyed in the early 60s to mid-70s to make movies about people and characters. I know it still happns, but it's almost solely the realm of the indie prods and pay TV now. You Can Count On Me got raves from critics, but nobody went. Rush Hour 2 made $212 million during the same period.

    I guess I'm just feeling a little lonesome for solid stories and writing that comes from the heart, not the pocket book. Or it could just be lack of sleep and no frigging coffee in the house this morning, because I'm also the guy that said he'd happily sell out and write Titanic 2 if the money was large enough.

    I'll go hit myself with something hard now. Thanks.

  • #2
    Think of it like this. The usual H'wood fair is for people who want to be entertained. It's hit and miss, but on the whole, the audience is indeed entertained.

    'Other' movies are not intended as much to entertain as they are to make the viewer 'think.'

    Most people want to be entertained, and hence H'wood is way bigger than the Indie industry. Pure entertainment is legit -- there's so much 'real life' as it is, so the escape is always in demand.

    Besides, who wants to think? Ignorance is bliss.


    • #3
      I don't worry about those things. I simply worry about if what I am doing is a) well done and b) entertaining.

      Above all else, Hollywood is a business. The reason the push for Rush Hour 2 to pull in $212 million is a risk/reward thing. RH2 no doubtedly cost tons more than You Can Count on Me, therefore the studios have the need to increase the exposure of the film to at least attempt to break even.

      I like to look more at per screen averages to gauge the financial success of a film than the overall receipts. I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon had better per screen numbers than any of the Tomb Raiders and Rush Hour 2's. RH2's are designed to sustain the studio's system so that a handful of You Can Count on Me's get made.

      From my brief time 'within the industry' most of the people I've come into contact with have been very dedicated to the service of ideas and making something good. It's simply that the system allows for too many people to have too much input into what gets made. That's the fallacy. It's the old too many cooks in the kitchen thing. That's also why there is a lot of bad advertising in the world.

      I have no problem with big movies. Yeah, Pearl Harbor was a total clunker, but would you say the same about Jaws or E.T.?


      • #4
        Don't mind me. Just a little off this morning. Feeling worn out and disillusioned. I have a small drama that's getting raves from all the financers who read it, but they're telling the producer who bought it that it's too small unless they cast someone from Dawson's Creek (paraphrasing) and a big budget sell out pile of crap that's getting me meetings through next week. It's just sad, really, because I didn't start writing to sell crap.

        Don't get me wrong. I'll cash the checks. I'm not a complete idiot. I just wish I was going to meetings to talk about the one that I really feel passionate about instead of the one I could give two craps about.

        And, yes, I know how lucky I am. Not biting the hand that feeds me, folks, so please don't bring out the effigies and torches.

        God, I need to find some coffee in case James Cameron calls for that Titanic 2 pitch.


        • #5
          Yes you are a lucky bastard! Maybe the piece of crap will enable you to do the other stuff... just trying to be optimistic.

          I'm still working so I can get my first meeting.


          • #6

            You're right, klepto. I should concentrate on the bright side I guess. I feel really lucky to have gotten this far (and believe me, if there's ever on Oscar speech in my future, I've got about 80 names to drop because I didn't do any of this without a tremendous amount of help from people who had absolutely nothing to gain by helping me).

            Maybe they'll make the big piece of crap, or I'll get hired to write another big piece of crap, and it'll make a pile of money and, hopefully (though this probably isn't how it works in the real Hollywood - just fantasizing bit) they'll ask me what I want to do next and I can bring my little drama out of the drawer and blow the dust off.

            Found coffee in the back of the cupboard. Feeling much better now.


            • #7
              Yes, you are definately lucky to have made it anywhere but I agree about the lack of good films that seem to make it through anymore. However, I'm a big believer in the fact that commercial doesn't necessarily equal crap. What I try to do is write in areas and story styles that are commercial (I happen to like a lot of "mainstream" movies) but I try to make them intelligent and interesting within those parameters.

              Hell, "Star Wars" was a bizarre, quirky, don't-know-if-it's-commercial spec script before it became the megahit that redefined sci-fi movies. And if you listen to the commentary on "Die Hard," you discover how much thought and artistic sensibility can be snuck into a loud American action movie while everyone else is watching the explosions.


              • #8
                One thing I truly admire P.T. Anderson for is what he calls his dream. To make a blockbuster that doesn't sell out. To be true to his characters, storyline, time period, etc. - yet still get it to do well in the theaters. Those are the movies that, twenty years from now, we'll consider classic. Those that both critics and audiences enjoy. With the possible exception of American Beauty.

                I agree about the too-many-cooks idea. That's why indie films are lately becoming all the rage for more intelligent movie-goers. They don't suffer from that. Why? Well, there's just not very much money in it. P.T.A.'s probably the most recent to juggle the two. He's very personal about his work, and with good reason. Sorry, sorry, I'll quit talking about him now.

                CONGRATS ABOUT THE DRAMA! Don't be beating yourself up about that story. You got your foot in the door - now, they'll most likely give you more freedom to write that genius work you have hidden in your sleeve. Enjoy it, man. I'd sell out with a script, too, honestly, if it meant I'd get someone to read my dearest baby.


                • #9

                  Thanks, folks, for listening to my ramblings and for not calling me on the absurdity of it. I am, in fact, a big dummy for not absolutely loving the @#%$ out of actually getting this far. Plenty of time for artsy fartsy angst when I'm in my 50s.

                  I'm actually a fan of the big budget Hollywood stuff, I'm just not the kind of person who enjoys writing them. I'm willing to give them my eight bucks, but that's as far as I go with them. Until Mr. Cameron calls...


                  • #10
                    Re: Thanks

                    First congrats on having your talents recognized. Do a good enough job and maybe one day they'll pay you to make the film you want to make. I find film can be great serving a number of purposes: pure entertainment like Gladiator or the Matrix, challenge conventional morals and values like Boys don't Cry and the Crying Game some even manage to do both like Hairpray and Do the right Thing. Whatever the purpose, the writer needs to attempt to fullfill it to the best of their ability.


                    • #11
                      Re: Thanks

                      Hollywood couldn't care less about what it is that fills the seats. When the "audience" becomes a little less lazy instead of us having to hit them over the head with information, then H'wood'll make the movies "we'd" love to see. Hollywood = money = audience = write the damn formula not the script.

                      When the masses demand art, well, by God... we'll give them art.