Why did you become a filmmaker?
About a year ago I wrote a post in which I referred to filmmakers as “content creators”. It was a keyhole, and I was rightly toasted for it in the comments. The fact is, we try to do films and television because we are artists. We have a message that we want to convey to the audience. One that makes us spend hours in front of our keyboards and on set developing the stories we’ve dreamed of.
But we are just about to climb.
The streaming wars have made studios and buyers search for as much content as possible. They want movies and shows that appeal to the masses and bring as many eyeballs to their platforms as possible. This has played artists off against themselves. The challenge is real. How can you stay true to your art while respecting the business side that you can get paid with?
I recently came across a video which I think sums it up perfectly. Art is not satisfied. And that’s fine.
Check out this link from The cinema cartography, and let’s talk afterwards.
Great art is Not content
The battle between art and commerce is as old as art itself. This is a page about film and television, so let’s stick with those issues. But studios are like the old Medici who commissioned art for their homes. Sometimes when you need a paycheck, you have no choice in what to create. But the best artists can overcome this to show their skills and leave a personal touch.
Hollywood in general is frustrating because there are a lot of people who have the right to do anything and you want to join them. To do that, you have to do something of your own that people love so much that they hire you to make something of theirs. Do this well, and you may be able to use it to get the budget you need to go back to doing your own thing.
It’s all a give and take.
And when people call it “content,” you have the right to be a little annoyed. Labor has generally been devalued as streamers buy more. People stopped looking for art and started looking for fillers. Part of that is worrying about getting eyeballs and another is just being lazy. People wonder if art will travel between countries and if it has mass appeal.
But content will be the death of this industry. It devalues what creative people are so good at – not spilling things out, but caring so much. I think the first place where care and appreciation for storytelling will be a priority is going to be the one that bursts with everything. Budgeting people to make art they believe in always seems to be smarter than just hoping the content will arrive.
But only time will tell.
Let me know what you think of filmmakers in the comments.