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Spielberg reveals Lincoln struggled to get cinema distribution, says filmmaking "heading for implosion"


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#1 EOSHD

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 01:15 PM

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg has revealed the Oscar winning blockbuster Lincoln barely made it into distribution.

"[It was] this close - ask HBO"

Spielberg was speaking at the University of South California Film School. The problem he says is that studios aren't taking any chances on 'fringe' subjects and scripts, preferring established franchises and superhero schlock directed by wannabes. If Spielberg can't get his artistic film into cinemas, it bodes very badly for the artistic DNA of cinema and the viability of the business which for so long has fed of ideas and talent. Have the money-men finally killed it?

Read the full article here
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#2 odie

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 01:42 PM

FILMMAKING IS A STRUGGLE...FOR SPIELBERG OR A GRADUATING FILM SCHOOL STUDENT(I SHOULD KNOW)..THIS IS JUST HOW IT IS



#3 bluegreenturtle

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:28 PM

Just a minor note - you might want to change it to "University of Southern California".  There is no such thing as South California and while it might seem like a quibble, Southern California is an actual place, South California doesn't exist (except as a description that's never used).



#4 Bruno

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:31 PM

The tendency with most products is to have more and more niches and choices. With the recent makers' revolution, we find ourselves buying specific niche products directly from the makers more and more, instead of getting the mainstream generalized version from the big brands, it's all about customization and having your very specific needs solved.

 

Maybe we can see that with cinema too? Maybe we'll start seeing independent theaters making their own programmes instead of following the big studios' distribution schedule. Maybe the managers/curators of these theaters will start dealing directly with the independent filmmakers of the films they want to show. Maybe each film and director will be almost like a band that goes on tour, trying to find theaters that will screen their films and sell them to those specific theaters. There's always YouTube, Netflix, etc... for a wider distribution model, but these independent theaters would give you the cinema experience...

 

Whatever happens, I'm sure good cinema will eventually find a way into the cinemas, might happen in a totally unpredictable way, but it will live on.


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#5 Leica50mm

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:31 PM

Ah, I saw Redtails and I think it was the worst movie I have ever seen . I don't think it would be good enough for tv .
So dumbed down,it was insulting to a really great story.
Tim
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#6 Anil Rao

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:33 PM

Firstly there is a multitude of problems that were allowed to happen, that has had this announcement made and uncharacteristically these comments are made by the two people often associated with destroying Hollywood in the first place, whilst both Lucas and Spielberg created moments in cinema that yielded the terminology 'blockbuster', they are not to blame entirely.

 

The studios having let the dreamers of the 70s have their way, in order to stop their film industry falling apart, an industry that no longer knew what to do with the fast changing cultural landscape of the era, decided to play observer. In observing they saw a formula and took the reigns back, what they didn't observe is the 'why' and focused only on the '$' these films made. Having run much of the Hollywood gauntlet under this ideology worked until the era of todays audience kicked in, or more importantly speaking the age of the internet. Today audiences are in charge and the film industry is having to fight back against many other forms of entertainment on many different portals out there, what is making it worse in this 'tailored to my own choice' era, is that again the industry isn't wanting to understand or learn from, so they keep upping the event tentpoles and not the culture of what cinema has been for a 100 years.

 

Originality costs today, that is the fundamental reasoning behind remake culture, the last studio original fable was Inception and Nolan had to earn that, and did so with the ROI of TDK and the promise that he would also do TDKR. The same goes for Spielberg, just because he has made a lot of hits doesn't mean they will bow to him, the business is about the business of film, so for Schindlers List to be green lit, he had to sign for JP:Lost World and when you watch that film, you can tell right away his heart is not in it, in any of it, because he had to make it and not wanted to make it.

 

As for Lucas and his Red Tails nightmare, the business told him 'no one would be interested in that particular story, it was the business talking and he didn't want to listen, this was both right and wrong. Lucas accused the industry of being racist and this was a huge error on his side of reasoning, a little blind sided and more in line with a trouble maker, than as a bonafide reason. He should have understood what the industry was saying or just financed it himself, which he ended up doing.

 

At the Berlinale this year, I spoke with a lot of buyers at the EFM (European Film Market) as I have a UK thriller script set in the Afro Carribean UK community and even though it's not about the culture of these people, the first thing more than half of them told me was, we don't buy black stories, when I probed why, rather than assuming the worst, they said we cannot sell them, it was that simple, they were being truthful about sales which is what they do and they know what they are talking about, they were not being racist.

 

What is clearly missing and has been for a long time is what the culture of cinema used to be about that led to an industry being fruitful and now that there are signs of it becoming fruitless, no one wants to understand the hierarchy of the failure that has led to that.

 

If anything, the people, as in the audience, well they are in charge now right, not the studios, and are dictating what is being made by them. Good you might say on one hand, well actually it is bad on the other, because for every $1b, an empty and void of content Iron Man type movie makes, this only guarantees to Hollywood that that is what the people want, hence why they will only give their energies and resources to keep making them. However, if only those type of movies are shown, what choice do we have? It's a vicous circle, and until once more the industry collapes, and again they ask the creatives to give them back an industry again, it will be too late.

 

We cannot have the 70s again, and Hollywood cannot rely and hope the same can be repeated again, because those that can have gone on to other portals now to deliver them, furthermore, watching cinema and that magical artful experience of having a voice shared by many at the same time, a voice that matters first, is truly if not already lost right now.

 

A New Hope is more than needed, both culturally, creatively and most importantly, in alignment with an industry willing to listen and apply.

 

dl-storyteller-b1.jpg


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The word impossible is not in my dictionary, just everyone elses!

#7 mtheory

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:43 PM

Implosion? Maybe for pampered filmmakers used to the status quo. Yes, Steven, now you gotta compete in a much more democratic digital environment. The days of a dozen good filmmakers and hundreds of millions of audiences are over. We are heading into the era of tens of thousands of filmmakers and billions of audiences. Grab a fucking camera. 


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#8 terozzz

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:50 PM

The MOVIE isnt going to be dead.. Its only chancing its skin. Look at the Iron Sky movie.. It was funded by fans, mostly any way and the internet is the future of movies. Big ass TVs, 4k and so on.... And we got 10.000.000 movie makers at least in their mind ;). Movies can be made at LOW cost.



#9 OzNimbus

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 03:46 PM

I think I'll be making a road trip up to Traverse City Mi, this summer!



#10 EOSHD

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 04:28 PM

At the Berlinale this year, I spoke with a lot of buyers at the EFM (European Film Market) as I have a UK thriller script set in the Afro Carribean UK community and even though it's not about the culture of these people, the first thing more than half of them told me was, we don't buy black stories, when I probed why, rather than assuming the worst, they said we cannot sell them, it was that simple, they were being truthful about sales which is what they do and they know what they are talking about, they were not being racist.

 

My theory is the German film industry suffers from too much professionalism.

 

The UK is a ragtag island of adults who haven't quite grown up and crazy ideas :) We're also a bit arrogant, on the whole we don't take cues from the audience or pander to what sells best. That in my view is why we're creative.

 

There are probably more hard working consummate professionals here in Germany but not very much room for playing around. As a result a lot of people in the consummately professional German film industry feel they are in a creative crisis and ignored internationally due to uninteresting output.

 

Salesman don't play.

 

These people grew up quickly into adults and began striving for careers.

 

It's essential to experiment, to play and to go crazy. The film industry demands it, always has. Creativity IS play.

 

The problem is just like with professional sport, the creativity and personality has been sucked out of it because it is striving for performance, like a machine and it's become too sensible and sterile.

 

A salesman's target is to sell in the biggest numbers possible, but they don't realise how the film industry works...

 

Good films come from play, and good sales begin from niche hits.

 

A salesman's job is to observe current market trends.

 

Essentially the film industry has turned into an observer rather than a creator.

 

The role of a creator is to create! Not just watch what sells best and copy it.


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#11 andy lee

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 05:53 PM

I think we all need some EOSHD popcorn and we should all go to the cinema more or it will eventually vanish !

the delivery options have changed - Event TV series like Homeland etc have such huge budgets and production values like mini movies

and more people are now watching Movies on their Mobiles and Tablets too via Netflix etc ...

 

My local cinema in Withington Manchester UK (Andrew might remember this one) went arthouse and independant -

I used to go lots to see OLD movies there its has now shut and the building has been demiloshed!!  a sign of the times!!


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#12 Germy1979

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:20 PM

I dunno.. The media can pick anything...literally even the most obscure shit like a guy getting his mail, and make it viral, just because they can... & people will gravitate towards it because it's trendy. I really can't blame the so called "artists" these days for anything. The simple minded audience that allowed them to auto-tune their lazy asses into the lime-light really are to blame. If the public would demand more from their entertainment, we wouldn't have to suffer Ke$ha.

As far as Hollywood, i'll never forgive those bastards for what they did to Die Hard.

John Moore ftw.

#13 EOSHD

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:35 PM

My local cinema in Withington Manchester UK (Andrew might remember this one) went arthouse and independant -

I used to go lots to see OLD movies there its has now shut and the building has been demiloshed!!  a sign of the times!!

 

It's happening everywhere! I went to a popular independent cinema in Barcelona last September. By April it had gone!

 

Huge loss in my view.



#14 Anil Rao

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:38 PM

I didn't make it clear that the buyers I spoke to were from all over the world, they were more than willing to listen. I told them it was an urban thriller, all good, I told them it was set in London, all good, I told them it was about injustice, all good, I told them it was a multi-cultural cast... they were outta there LOL. To be honest I wasn't at all surprised. One thing you do when you come to understand film sales agents is understand the numbers, they now all have a universal processor which not only determines how much they will pay for a film but will also tell them what they are expected to make from it, it's actually quite scary when they talk to you about it, with a big grin on their faces, you are standing there watching your project being stripped of any artistic merit, any soul that might touch a persons heart and resonate with them, and are left being like a piece of sushi on those conveyor belts.

 

I am often dumbfounded by what I find is just normal today, in a lot of what we call a way of life, which is a total lack of quality control or oversight as basic values, what these people don't want to understand, is that they are in the business of creating film to sustain a fim business, and what filmmakers more often than not when starting out don't want to understand, is... that they are wanting to get into the business of making films as a living. What both need to get on board with, is how to help each other sustain each other. I remember at film school being ignored for 3 years because I said the forbidden words, 'the business of film', when what I should have said is, 'I want to make films that no one will ever see, that are about fruit decomposing over 24 hours, that I will then project in slow motion to deliver my artistic vision', that would have got me luvved up from day one, and played no doubt in the arsehole of the ICA!

 

Creative vision is all fine and dandy if you are spending your own money but the second someone gives you a pound or a dollar you will have to accept that opinion and deliver a return on that investment, that's what you are promising by accepting the investment to begin with. The films you make today must deliver the business and as previously mentioned, the mechanical only wants the formula and only the formulaic will be adhered to as it makes sense to support that, risk and lean management are what all these guys are about, your vision means nothing to them, the numbers do.

 

It is quite possible that maybe this outburst from Spielberg and Lucas should NOT be adhered to, and allowed to happen, only then they may wake up, well only for a moment before the next original idea gets exploited, and milked to death, afterall Steven Soderbergh recently quit because of the same reasons. You and I both know Andrew, creativity is risk and risk only! To step into the unknown is the excitement and when you do and it works then they all come following!

 

iStock_000017097256Small.jpg


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#15 mtheory

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:55 PM

In the end, your only weapon is innovative content. You have a global audience at your finger tips, - can you win them over? There has never been a better time for emerging filmmakers than now.

 

Words of wisdom from Tarantino and Rodriguez. 

 


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#16 EOSHD

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 08:56 PM

As for Sam Raimi's advice in that clip… Erm!

 

Tarantino's advice is far better. MAKE A FUCKING GREAT MOVIE AND SHOW IT ALL OVER PLANET EARTH!!



#17 peederj

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 09:38 PM

Quantity is a definitely sure path to quality, or at least to the attainment of potential (if you are a hopeless case, no amount of quantity will help you). Speeding up your cycle time from concept thru feedback is a very good idea, and for that goal, gear is overrated. The IQ one needs to focus on developing may be Image Quality for a DP type but for a "filmmaker" it's the other IQ. And hindsight has the best image quality of all.

#18 jpfilmz

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 09:42 PM

I didn't make it clear that the buyers I spoke to were from all over the world, they were more than willing to listen. I told them it was an urban thriller, all good, I told them it was set in London, all good, I told them it was about injustice, all good, I told them it was a multi-cultural cast... they were outta there LOL. To be honest I wasn't at all surprised. One thing you do when you come to understand film sales agents is understand the numbers, they now all have a universal processor which not only determines how much they will pay for a film but will also tell them what they are expected to make from it, it's actually quite scary when they talk to you about it, with a big grin on their faces, you are standing there watching your project being stripped of any artistic merit, any soul that might touch a persons heart and resonate with them, and are left being like a piece of sushi on those conveyor belts.

This is why if I ever produce any type of film I would never approach mainstream buyers/distributors for anything.  I already know they will say it's too black and wont sell.  I'm pretty sure if I tried to sell water to fish that wouldn't go over well either.  As to the article ...I do believe that the future of film will eventually transfer to the web.  There is a race to the bottom is all industries.  I really love the idea of that State Theatre.  



#19 EOSHD

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 10:02 PM

Quantity is a definitely sure path to quality.

 

It's the other way round.



#20 EOSHD

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 10:03 PM

I already know they will say it's too black and won't sell.

 

A good job they didn't have a hand in Django Unchained's distribution.


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