Friday, August 19, 2011

Some Insights

Phil Velasquez (awesome makeup FX artist) applies some blood to my hand on the set of "Roamer." I was standing in for Chuck Phelps as "Oz" during some sequences. That's right: I do stunt work too, and I love doing it. 
About midway through our "The Hush" fundraising campaign I came across this article: HERE

It's an interview with Director Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and more) who will be releasing his first live-action flick the new Mission Impossible film. If you don't want to read the entire article, here is my favorite part - a summary of what Pixar does that everyone is chasing:

"Everyone in Hollywood says they wish they could do it like Pixar, but they really don’t. There’s no secret at Pixar, but there is a belief in letting people pursue something with passion and take chances, and most of Hollywood, really, doesn’t like that. It’s too scary. Some studio executives will say they love obsessive creators who take risks, but really most of them would rather play it safe. Projects cost a lot of money and people would rather follow patterns they know and make things safe and accessible. Hollywood wants there to be a math formula for making hit films. To make something really great and different and interesting means taking risks and following these ideas in your head." - BRAD BIRD

To sum it up: what is unique about Pixar films (which I love by the way) is that they are made with passion and risk taking embraced - while Hollywood, no matter what they claim, loves to play it safe. It's one of those things where you can either do something that is different and unlike what people are used to (in order to "sell" tickets) or you can focus in on creating a new experience and allowing the strengths of you film to bring in your audience.

Unfortunately, I feel that even independent film has become cliche'. There are now formulas for films that epitomize "indie" - ingredients that are often just as repetitive as the worst stuff pumped out of the big budget movie making machine. These films now have big money and names involved. What are we to do?

Just listen to Brad Bird: take a chance and have conviction in doing it in new way. Do not let generalized expectations of genre, movie conventions, and so forth, dictate your work.

This reinforces my belief in what I've been trying to do as a filmmaker - cater to the story, as it presents itself. Do not shift it just to make it fit into a box that everyone will recognize. People that get it, will really be moved by it (for many reasons - one of which is you did something unique).