Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dismal Outlook for Independent Film

There's a Morgan Spurlock quote floating around indiewood that goes something like, "This isn't where we are going to make our money right now. We can't think about paying our rent, but maybe we can pay our phone bills with filmmaking." What about those of us that have yet to make any money at all from our films? I'm not talking about film-related gigs, but the narrative and doc projects we've been self-financing. Where does that leave us? Way outside in the cold unfriendly world riddled with credit card debt. In my case that debt went from zero percent to three and four percent and now my promotional rates have expired. So for a while I was paying around sixteen percent on a couple of cards. Then it turned out the sixteen percent rates were promotional as well and without missing a payment, the rates on two cards jumped to thirty percent. I have a plan and the means to eliminate this abuse very shortly thankfully, but I know that isn't the case for many others.
I came up at a time that many filmmakers built careers financed by credit cards. Robert Townsend and Alison Anders, most notably. It was also a heady time of ten, fifty and two hundred thousand dollar films getting acquired for millions. I made But A Dream for ten thousand dollars, getting another forty in favors. So far it's been rejected by every top tier festival in this country and abroad. Every rejection email encourages me to continue making films. How? Why? Is that encouragement even responsible? Shouldn't there be an asterisk like with the lottery? This game should not be played for investment purposes. It is for entertainment only.
Skiing, pilates and cycling sound better and better.

Ya mero,
Signore Direttore

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