Steven Soderbergh gave an address on the state of cinema at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the whole thing is on Sound Cloud to listen to. I recommend you do, whether you have a love of film like I do or not, the man has some interesting things to say on the subject.
I’ve embedded the player and some thoughts after the jump.
If you’d rather not listen you can read the whole thing on FilmComment. Here’s a few choice quotes just for context in case you want to file it away under TL;DR.
But unfortunately the only way a studio is going to allow that kind of freedom to a young filmmaker is if the budgets are low. And unfortunately the most profitable movies for the studios are going to be the big movies, the home runs. They don’t look at the singles or the doubles as being worth the money or the man hours. Psychologically, it’s more comforting to spend $60 million promoting a movie that costs 100, than it does to spend $60 million for a movie that costs 10. I know what you’re thinking: If it costs 10 you’re going to be in profit sooner. Maybe not. Here’s why: OK. $10 million movie, 60 million to promote it, that’s 70, so you’ve got to gross 140 to get out. Now you’ve got $100 million movie, you’re going spend 60 to promote it. You’ve got to get 320 to get out. How many $10 million movies make 140 million dollars? Not many. How many $100 million movies make 320? A pretty good number
Speaking of meetings, the meetings have gotten pretty weird. There are fewer and fewer executives who are in the business because they love movies. There are fewer and fewer executives that know movies. So it can become a very strange situation. I mean, I know how to drive a car, but I wouldn’t presume to sit in a meeting with an engineer and tell him how to build one, and that’s kind of what you feel like when you’re in these meetings. You’ve got people who don’t know movies and don’t watch movies for pleasure deciding what movie you’re going to be allowed to make.
For me, it’s just nice to see someone in the industry saying these things out loud. I could go on at length about how it’s frustrating I couldn’t see Spring Breakers until well after its release date because it wasnt wide or even just that it’s so hard to see all the great movies every year because they are pushing out so many of them and the little gems get lost in the stampede.
Or I could just write that paragraph and say if you haven’t already, go see what Mr. Soderbergh has to say.