Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6 Reasons Indy Films Are Better Than Studio

1. Studios Must Pander to Teenagers and Below.  Teenagers, especially teenage boys, buy most of the tickets in this country and around the world.  Once a movie gets above a certain budget it must cater to them, if it wants to make its money back.  The trend has been going on so long its further driven the adult market away from multiplexes.  If you’re wondering why most Hollywood movies are brainless and enjoy cartoon violence mixed with easily impressed women, it’s because that’s what teenage boys get off on. The next biggest market is children.  Cable and Pay Television tends to be more adult and attracts better writing/directing.

2. Indy Films Must Concentrate on Character/Acting/Writing.  These things must be adult and deeper in indy film because they can’t compete with studio films on huge ticket items like special effects.  If they have name stars, the stars will usually be working at a reduced rate because they like the script/character/filmmaker.  The good ones will take a huge paycut and work for peanuts, for an artistic challenge or something that inspires or at least interests them, even though they know the film won’t be widely seen.  Instead of being a pampered star, Charlize Theron actually went out and raised money for Monster, she believed in the script and director so much.

3. The Larger the Budget, the Smaller the Creative Risk.  No one wants to take risks with huge sums of money, that’s human nature (we're seeing this tragically right now, in the tepid political response to the economic crash).  It’s much easier to make a risky bet for one dollar or even a million than on a 150 million dollar blockbuster (the very minimum it takes to release a picture globally these days).  The result is often formulaic and dull, pandering to the lowest common denominator or mediocrity by committee.  Indy films are small entrepreneurs or local restaurants (not chains), they can afford to do things their way and put a lot of thought and care into them.  It’s the difference between a meal prepared by a chain and one prepared by a chef.

4. No Teenagers in Audience or Screaming Children.  See reason 1.

Nell Ruttledge in Prince of Swine
5. Better Sex Scenes.  Past a certain budget a studio movie must, almost by necessity, be no more adult than PG-13, or it’s losing the bulk of it market right out of the gate.  That means teasing, innuendo, and the suggestion of sex, but nothing intense, physically, emotionally or politically.  It’s hard to document but most filmmakers complain the level of skin in a sex scene won’t draw as restrictive a rating from the MPAA as physically intense sexuality, emotionally intense sexuality, or especially anything controversial (Hollywood claims to be liberal but the MPAA leans slightly right of center).  An R rating isn’t much of a blow to an indy because the audience is already overwhelmingly adult and probably bored by PG anyway.

One of the best fight scenes of the decade,
David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises
6. Adult versus Cartoon Violence.  The level of violence allowed in a PG film is truly astounding, but it’s almost all of the cartoon sort, without emotional consequence or human understanding, cheap and unconsciously sadistic, but oddly physically as well as emotionally clean and shallow.  Anything with actual violence, where the violence comes with emotional consequences or something other than cartoon death and injury, is deemed too intense and possibly damaging for younger viewers (so we admit them into adulthood addicted to violence, like a drug, but with a completely antiseptic and puerile notion of it – violence separate from humanity or self-knowledge).  In many cases this ignorance/lack of depth lasts until death and even runs for President.

Visit us online at www.war-reform.com and www.princeofswine.com.

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