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America’s next Wal-Mart: The indie film industry

by Beanie Barnes.

America's next Wal-Mart: The indie film industry

The indie film industry is cannibalizing itself. Manohla Dargis is right – there are too many films in the ecosystem. And this oversupply didn’t just happen. John Sloss warned back in 2007 that the industry’s problem was not a shortage of films, but a shortage of eyeballs (Mark Gill issued a related warning in 2008). But the industry’s response to this warning has been to make more films.

This is creating an economically valueless cycle where unprecedented “cheap” money is flowing into the industry and films are being made at their highest rate ever. Meanwhile the percentage of indie films (let’s say films made for less than $5 million outside of the studio system) that are financially successful has not increased, and the amount of money people make from these films has actually decreased.

Many in the industry still refuse to acknowledge that film is subject to the economic laws of supply and demand. The hard truth is that it is, and ignoring that fact won’t make it go away. All industries have to adapt to stay relevant and viable, and film is no exception. That is especially true in the U.S. where, unlike some other countries, the government doesn’t fund production as a cultural initiative. And if the challenges in the industry are not addressed, everyone in it stands to lose.

Read the rest of this article from Salon.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Johnny Rayne March 2, 2014, 9:16 AM

    I don’t believe there is a problem with filmmaking. I believe the real problem is there is no more storytelling. Movies are being made like fast food; it sure tastes good when your having it, but afterwards you can’t remember why you ate it and put your body through the ordeal of breaking down nothing sustaining for your body. All lot of the movies now, besides documentaries, teaches us nothing about character development, obstacles, and learning through challenges. There are no more heroes or even villains because there is no more story. Every filmmaker worries so much about what looks good, feels good, or makes them look good that they forget to tell the story. The reason most athletes, actors, and singers have coaches is because a coach can see what you need to work on and help you maintain your strengths. But I believe at the end if the day you have to ask yourself; what am I trying to do with this film? What story am I trying to tell with this story and am I telling it? Or am I just making a film to satisfy my hunger of making a film? The questions are no longer being asked because you can see in the results it’s turning into a fast food industry. And if you don’t believe me trying making your own fast food at home and see if it takes you 1min and 30sec to make a burger and fries. I doubt it. Making real food takes time and creates a story.