Filmmaking & Storytelling : Independent Days Vs The Hollywood Days
On our earlier class we have discuss about the 5 steps of filmmaking.
But before jumping in to the steps of filmmaking, let us first know the types of films made according to their production.
Film is a powerful medium. With the right script under your arm and a staff of eager team players, you’re about to begin an exciting ride.
The single most important thing that goes into making a successful film is the passion to tell a story. And the best way to tell your stories is with pictures.
Filmmaking is visual storytelling in the form of shots that make up scenes and scenes that eventually make up a complete film.
As a filmmaker, you have the power to affect people’s emotions, make them see things differently, help them discover new ideas, or just create an escape for them. In a darkened theater, you have an audience’s undivided attention.
They’re yours — entertain them, move them, make them laugh, make them cry. You can’t find a more powerful medium to express yourself.
Independents Day versus the Hollywood Way
There are three types of full length films made to be distributed (hopefully) for a paying audience:
A studio film is usually green lit by the head of a major studio, has a healthy budget averaging $60 million and up (some go as high as $150 million or more), has major star names intended to guarantee some kind of box office success (as if such a guarantee were possible). Nowadays many studio films are based on comic book superheroes (Hulk, Batman, Spiderman), popular TV shows (Get Smart, Sex in the City), bestselling books (the Harry Potter series), high concept (unique ideas that have commercial appeal like Jurassic Park, or Journey to the Center of the Earth), and/or big name stars (Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie). If a major film studio puts up the money for a film, the studio — not the filmmaker — ultimately ends up calling the shots.
A true independent film is often a low-budget film (costing anywhere from $5,000 to $1 million) because the filmmaker has to raise money to make the film on his or her own, independent of a studio for the financing. Many films circulating the film-festival circuit are independent films, produced independently of the studios.
Independent studio films:
A studio’s independent division is really a smaller “boutique” division of the big company, with smaller budgets and possibly fewer black suits deciding how to make and distribute
the films that come from these divisions. Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine, and Juno are perfect examples of independent studio films — they were all distributed by Twentieth Century Fox’ independent division, Fox Searchlight — but all received the exposure that a big studio picture expects, including studio marketing dollars when they are nominated during the major awards season.
The term “independent studio films” is actually oxymoronic because a film produced by a studio is not truly independent. A film made by a studio’s “independent” division is a studio film, in disguise.
You can find both advantages and disadvantages to making a studio picture or an independent film. On an independent production, your film ends up on the screen the way you envisioned it, but you don’t have much of a budget. A studio picture has larger financial backing and can afford to pay the astronomical salaries that actors demand, as well as pay for seamless special effects and longer shooting schedules, but the film ends up the way the studio envisions it — and in the most commercial way. The studio looks at dollars first and creativity second. Many independent filmmakers discover that, although having and making money is nice, being independent allows them to tell a story in the most creative way.
An independent film doesn’t always have to be a low-budget or no-budget film, however. George Lucas is the ultimate independent filmmaker. He’s independent of the studios and makes his own decisions on his films without the politics or red tape of a studio looking over his shoulder. Star Wars may not seem like an independent film, but that’s exactly what it is — even though you may have difficulty seeing yourself as one of Lucas’s peers.
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