I’m not going to lie, what spurred this blog post was a debate about politics. BUT I promise you I will try to keep politics out of this post as much as possible. “The System” in the title refers not just to a political system, but to ANY system. Just had to drop a quick vent about the subject.
There’s a prevalent frame of mind in many people that I know that I’m entirely sick of. I’ve been sick of it for a long time, I just tend not to call others on their bullshit – maybe I’m only doing so now because I have a place to do it safely, behind the curtain of relative I-net anonymity.
It’s a feeling of apathy about changing something, the feeling that people have to go along with “the way things are.” And I’ve got news for you that shouldn’t be news: If you do it a different way, and get enough people to go along with you, that’s the new “way things are”.
You can easily see how this applies to politics so, like I said, I won’t go into that here. Where it really starts to get on my nerves is in the film industry. Of all the demographics who should be firmly set in revolt against “the way things are”, aspiring filmmakers would be at the top of my list.
The most common way I’ve seen this manifest itself is in the generic, “Well, Hollywood is terrible these days anyways. There’s no good movies any more, that’s never going to change.” This is almost immediately followed up by something like: “Yeah, I’m trying to get an agent who could maybe get my script into a studio pitch meeting.”
In other words, the mainstream film industry is terrible, but there’s money in it, so you’re trying to get into it anyway. To me, this is in the same frame of mind as (but lesser in magnitude than) the statement: “Yeah, well, porn is obviously terrible, but there’s money in it, so….”
I’m not calling these people porn stars, because that implies they’ve already made it in the industry they’re trying to whore themselves out to. They’re aspiring porn stars or, in some cases, failed porn stars.
If you don’t want to change the “way things are” and make good movies, what the hell are you trying to get into movies for?
Now, I am NOT saying that people shouldn’t make money for what they do. They should. They should just do something worthwhile. I mean, what the hell is the point of making films if they’re terrible but make you a lot of money? Do you just…want to make a lot of money? Well, may I recommend finding work in literally ANY OTHER INDUSTRY, where you will find it much, much easier to break in, and much, much easier to make all the money you want.
Considering the abysmally tiny percentage of people who actually find success (or even make a living) in film, if money is REALLY what you’re interested in, become something else than a filmmaker. ANYTHING else. (I will not link a photo of the actress from my last article who I wish had done this).
But if you do want to become a film maker, you’d damn well better figure out your reason. WHY do you want to do it? What effect do you want to create on people? What kind of films do YOU want to see? Because you should be making that film. If you’re making a terrible film for the paycheck (cough, cough, cough) just…don’t. You don’t have to. You shouldn’t want to. Lifetimes are short. Even a madly prolific filmmaker can only make…what? 50? 75 movies in a lifetime? Do you really want to be the guy with a record of millions of dollars made on films that no one will know about 10 years from now?
The saddest thing about this is that the message of practically every movie since the beginning of time is that you can make a difference to the status quo, and all it takes is one person doing the right thing and setting an example. And yet I know very few people who learned that lesson and tried to follow it – and I know many more people who want to get into the film industry despite never having learned the lesson that almost every film tries to teach the viewer.
I’m sure you can see how this applies to politics as well, without me getting into specifics. Don’t go with what’s in front of you just because it’s the way everything is. Do your best to do your best.