Saturday, August 18, 2012

Barriers to Somewhere You Don't Want To Be

I disagree with almost everything in the New York Times "Room For Debate" How Can Women Gain Influence in Hollywood.

To start with, as you might imagine my ideological bent considering what I do, I just don't care about "Hollywood". Like the old slogan for Film Threat: If you don't like movies, make your own.

So I certainly don't care about anybody gaining influence in Hollywood.

If you're waiting for someone to give you permission and a lot of money to make movies, then you aren't a filmmaker -- you're a waiter. Bring me my coffee.
I'm irritated. You're going to need this bunny.
There is something very close to zero barrier to entry to making a feature film. You can do it with an iPhone and a laptop (although, please, for the love of all that's holy, rent a nice microphone and a recorder if you're going to do that.)
"Leadership is required to recognize that “When Harry Met Sally,” "Bridesmaids" and "Lost in Translation" are not outliers, but clear indicators of vast communities of underserved audiences."
If that's true, why can't indys make those movies? Because I'll tell ya, those three movies were cheap to make. If someone could make a living drafting off of, sheesh, "Lost in Translation", believe me they would. The Asylum would be making "Bridal Party II" right now.

And, you know, for all intents and purposes and as far as you're concerned, I'm some sort of communist. I make fun of the theoretical existence of the "free market" all the time. But the fact is that every third Thursday of the month there's a massive free market experiment that happens where the actual video rental habits of Americans is used to determine what Americans want to see movie-wise.

That is, Blockbuster has to decide what videos it will buy.*

Now let's get real. They really don't care about the ideology of what sorts of genres they're selling. And yet still if they have a choice between buying some low-budget crappy romantic comedy and some low-budget zombie picture they will choose the one which people will rent more. And guess which one of those people will rent more? Think about which movie you'd rather see tonight. Take your time.

And "leadership is required"? You know what? No. Leadership is not required. If you can get off your ass and make a movie rather than whining that the big six studios aren't making the kinds of theatrically-released feature films you want to see then leadership is not required. You just have to make that movie. Without whining about it.
"Although women are more than 50 percent of the filmgoing public, predominantly male decision makers focus on making movies for boys and men, while systematically failing to support stories for women and girls."
What the hell are stories for women and girls? And why do we think that female filmmakers will make them?
"Hollywood is one of the only industries that does not take the female consumer seriously."
Well, I gotta say that if that's true it sounds like an opening for the 7th studio to come in and soak up all that money. See? There is actually a point to capitalist theory. If there's this great untapped market, I say you spend your money to finance the entity that will lose 100% of its investment take over the entire system.
Oh. But wait. You don't actually believe that enough to put up your own money.
"I am hopeful that the excess of leisure options will dictate that we all reduce our impulse buys and move toward informed choice of what we actually desire."
Oh I get it. I don't actually want to see the post-apocalyptic robot movie. I actually desire some other thing made by women but I just don't know what that thing is because I'm just sooooo impulsive.

Bite me.

And that's not even to say "Why can't women make post-apocalyptic robots movies?" Because they can. And do.
"Young women should believe successful directing careers are within their reach."
Wait, what? "Within their reach?" Do you have any idea how few directing job are out there? You know what careers are within your reach? Doctor. Financial Planner. Engineer.

Director? Not so much.

You're asking yourself "How few jobs are there out there as feature film directors?"
"According to the latest Celluloid Ceiling study, women accounted for only 18 percent of the directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2011."
Wait. Seriously? You're talking about 250 gigs out there? We have a population of 300 million people in the US and you're worried about what might be a thousand jobs? Yeah. No.
"As a culture, we should embrace women in command. We should accept their eccentric behavior, and at times, the tantrums that come along with the extreme pressures of producing great work."
No. No we shouldn't. Tantrums come along with being an ass, not the "extreme pressures of producing great work".

I'm way not a fan of hierarchical structures (even though I'm at the head of one). But even where a hierarchy has practical advantages I'm way not a fan of ideologically celebrating them. They're stupid.

If you want to make a movie then make one. Stop not making a movie. It takes a phenomenal amount of work to make a movie -- get over it. And your first few movies will likely suck. So make some more until they don't suck anymore. (In my case that's "make a lot more until they don't suck anymore"). But just make 'em. Don't whine that someone else isn't hiring you. 

*Note that Blockbuster has hundreds of stores. They're still a decent sale.


Laura, Queen of Mars said...

"Women in command" have "eccentric behavior" that we should "accept"? As @xzibit would say, #pause. Surely the writer didn't mean to imply that female directors are more prone to eccentricities and tantrums than male directors?

Andrew Bellware said...

I think she was excusing male tantrums and saying women should be allowed to have them too.
Either way: just tell them to not have tantrums.

thomas said...

So is Kathryn Bigelow a sellout because Near Dark, Point Break, and The Hurt Locker aren't aimed at girls and women?

Andrew Bellware said...

Yeah. I don't know. Maybe? Nobody wants to say what a story "aimed" at girls and women really is, probably because whatever they'd say would be really stupid. And... I have no idea.