Why Do Mainstream Film Industry People Make Indie Films?
Philosophers often say that Artists are only happy when
they are creating. While this adage covers all different types of Artists, it is
especially true when applied to the ones that work in the film industry. No
matter how successful mainstream Hollywood artistic people become, no matter how
big their name is or how big their movies are they always desire to work in
relatively small independent films as well. Many of them participate in the film
festival circuit which would seem like a step backwards for their career. The
big question is why?
There is a new indie film out on the film festival circuit
called She Wants Me. It is a true independent film with a miniscule budget. A
previously unknown writer and director named Rob Margolies was at the helm for
this production. Most of the cast is
also made up of completely unknown actors. However, there are three mainstream
Hollywood actors in this movie. Charlie Sheen, Hillary Duff and Wayne Knight
have parts in this film which sort of seems like three giant marlins trying to
swim in a coy pond.
Not so coincidentally, the storyline of She Wants Me is
about an indie filmmaker who has to make a decision on whether or not to give
the lead actress role to a very interested mainstream actress. The problem is
that he already cast his girlfriend for the part. In this case art is definitely
imitating life, for this type of thing seems to be happening a lot these days.
Another independent film that was recently released onto
the film festival circuit is Little Birds. This movie was written and directed
by an unknown independent filmmaker named Elgin James. He has never made any
notable movies in the past and yet he was still able to cast Hollywood A list
actress Kate Bosworth in his little indie film.
The Motel Life is another indie film now on the film
festival circuit that was directed by two brothers. Their names are Alan and
Gabe Polsky. They are not exactly household names. They have not made any
blockbuster Hollywood movies to date and yet they were able to get big names
like Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff to star in their independent
Ruby Sparks is a new indie film scheduled to be released on
July twenty fifth, two thousand and twelve.
The directors of this movie, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Sparks have had
some success in the independent film industry with movies like Little Miss
Sunshine. However, by no means are they power players in Hollywood. They have
not made the Big Six studios mega millions of dollars and brought fame and
fortune to everyone who has worked on their films. Despite that fact they have
Antonio Banderas starring in their relatively small indie film. Annette Bening
and Elliot Gould also have roles in this movie.
If you take a look at the list of newly released
independent films and the ones scheduled to be released this year you will see
that many of them have at least one mainstream actor cast in them. So why is it
that big name actors gravitate back to film festival circuit, the equivalent to
the movie industry farm league? These Hollywood heavy weights offer their
talents to unheard of directors in movies that have budgets equal to the size of
their mortgage payments for their house? Why do they do it? The answer is simple
and it involves the issue of creativity.
Indie films on the
whole are much more creative works of art than mainstream Hollywood films.
Actors are Artists and Artists are only happy when they are creating.
Big Hollywood movies give them the fame and fortune they need to fuel
their careers. It can also leave them with an empty feeling inside as a
performer. This is due mostly to the
fact that mainstream movies are created from a business model first and
foremost. The creative side of the industry plays second fiddle to making a ton
Every little aspect of the production process of a
mainstream Hollywood film is planned out ahead of time very meticulously. The
studios do an enormous amount of research that includes things like focus groups
to decide the ending of the movie. There is not any wiggle room allowed in the
creative process. This can leave an
actor feeling like their input on the set does not matter. This ultimately leads
to the feeling that their creativity is being stifled.
The next time you attend an independent film festival in a
small, off the beaten track town do not be surprised if you see some A list
actors in the small indie films that are being screened. Independent films give
big name Hollywood stars a less restrictive working environment. These stars can
offer creative input to the director during the filmmaking process and
independent filmmakers will usually include their ideas.
The scripts for indie films are not written by corporate
executives using data from focus groups.
The reason mainstream Hollywood people return to the indie film scene and
the film festival circuit is because it gives them a chance to be more creative
again with their craft, like it was at the beginning of their careers. This is
very important to serious actors, for Artists are only happy when they are
Michael P. Connelly
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