I write today in honor of the Sundance Film Festival (which kicks off today) and if it wasn't for, I probably would have not been able to do what I love for so long. Here's to new models that are designed with large heart and a complete commitment to the welfare & progress of the artist and their community. Thank you, Mr. Redford, and may you continue to give rise to so many diverse creatures. I trust that by now all of you who read this blog understand that the Film Biz still functions on an antiquated model that has no applicability to today. That is, the film industry was constructed around the concept of scarcity of content and control of that content -- and our life is nothing like that now. Yes, there is still money to be made via the antiquated model, but it only benefits a very few beyond those that control it. It survives because all industries are essentially designed to keep the jobs of those that have them. So it goes. But eventually, we all confront reality, and it often is not pretty.
I also trust that if you are reading this you also recognize that we live in the time of Grand Abundance of produced stories, total access to that content, and a general tendency to be thoroughly distracted from that content. Looking at the state of film from this perspective can be pretty discouraging, but it is only a partial picture. I state all of this again, in the hopes that we can soon walk together into the future I know can be before us.
I took to blogging & public speaking because I was frustrated that the film business leaders were only talking about the business aspects of our situation and were neglecting that this is a wonderful time to be a generative, creative person committed to the passion industries. Over four year years ago, I gave this speech in the hopes of encouraging both artists and film industry leaders to look at things in a different way. There's been some successes, but I would be lying to say that I am satisfied with what this has all lead to, but it is still certainly worth trying. I want to make and help others make and appreciate creatively ambitious, emotionally true, appropriately complex stories that aspire us to best aspects of our expansive nature.
There has never been a better time to lead a creative life as a filmmaker. The tools of production are cheaper and easier to use than ever before. The tools of marketing, distribution, and financing are cheaper, easier, and more accessible than ever before. The means of engagement with audiences and ultimate building of communities are more doable than we previously even imagined. And information is accessible as never previously so enjoyed. Audiences are growing accustomed to a great variety of story-telling approaches while also exploring more divers content. I believe our behavior is growing less self-focused and more transparent. From where I sit, it also appears we are growing less risk adverse and more process (vs. product) oriented. All good things. I am excited to be part of these times.
Yet I still get asked by filmmakers, people who already have committed their labor in service to what they love, as well as those that are considering such a mission: "What should I do? How can I have a sustainable and creative life?" In this incredible paradigm shift brought on by the twin towers of digital transformation and economic collapse, what is the logical response for a creative person who wants to both sustain & prosper?
In our time of grand abundance, atemporal & platform-agnostic complete access, & audience's intense distraction, the logical response for an artist who wants to sustain a creative life & reasonably profit from doing so, is to be completely ubiquitous and extremely prolific with their work, thus requiring radical collaboration, constant iteration, rapid prototyping, deviation from singular generation, and overall commitment to innovation.
It's a mouthful, sure, but that's my answer. Of course it would be better if I could avoid the friggin' entrepreneurial vernacular & jargon, but... can you kick it? I will give it a plain speak pass soon.
Or perhaps you could say it for me?