Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Screenwriting/Film Industry and Education Banter

This is a response I made to a "Hollywood North" podcast that I thought I'd share.

I often stress the importance of taking classes that the student has no or little previous knowledge of. College is the perfect opportunity to make new discoveries, and should be taken advantage of. It makes me cringe when I hear a student has declared their major before they have even begun their first year. College is not necessarily meant for developing a skill, but discovering an interest that can lead to a passion. Furthermore, I believe college should not be geared towards making the student "job-ready", instead college should help a student gain knowledge regardless of the subject and allow them to gain life skills and experience.

Everyone wants to be appreciated and flattered; artists love to deny it, but they have major egos. After all, art is simply a false sense of contributing to human history that will inevitably one day be forgotten. However we cling to the belief that our impact can continue to be felt by future generations. Writers love being behind the scenes and are indeed in search of meaning to their life, but most screenwriters are not obsessed with the fame and the wealth. They are striving for a higher purpose, whether it exists or not.

It's unfortunate studios/producers etc. want to play it safe and not take risks when it's possible the film could be new and perhaps revolutionary. This is something I've really learned recently, and find it often discouraging (contributing to my cynicism towards the movie industry). It's too often films already have an established market whether it's a remake, adaptation, or fits the criteria of something that works again and again (i.e. "torture porn"). I've learned that by evaluating if the film has an established market or not will give you a good idea whether the film will be good or not- this saves time when picking a movie to go see at the theater!

The only job as an entertainer is to be entertaining- to not be boring, to allow people to escape. I think there can be a third reason: to educate someone. Of course you cannot solely be educational, but a successful movie can leave people with a bad feeling in their gut... but they've learned something. However, to be even more effective you can leave the audience with hope and the inspiration to do something good- did I just contradict myself? PS, I watch a lot of documentaries and social/political narratives.

An excellent movie will remove me from analyzing it and allow me to simply enjoy it. My high school lit/film teacher told me to never walk out of a theater, because you can always learn from its the film's mistakes; I've always kept true to this rule. I suppose that if you're not a filmmaker, you might as well walk out since you're probably wasting your time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i just read an article talking about how the film industry is so obsessed with remakes of proven successes, hence pirates 5, the string of xmen, remakes of classic cartoons into real life, etc etc etc. if you look at the movie listings its very true. and all "blockbusters" are just remakes or new versions of other movies. mark wahlberg pushed the fighter for like fifteen years because nobody would let him try something different.