“No Excuses”

I don’t want to get off on a rant here, but when filmmakers like the Duplass Brothers and Ridley Scott tell people that they have no excuses to go out and make movies on the weekends, it enrages many professional filmmakers, including me.

Those kind of statements are the height of privilege, not only encouraging us to sink piles of money into something that is simultaneously the most expensive form of art, and the highest risk investment. But also, it devalues the experience of our craftsmen friends, family, and colleagues who we are recruiting for this film.

Remarks like this highlight how film and television is the most obnoxiously aggressive industry, asking people to work for free or on spec. No other industry does this. You wouldn’t ask an architect to draw up blueprints, and say you’ll pay him if you decide to build the house! You wouldn’t ask a doctor to perform your surgery for free, because it would be great exposure for them!

You can’t just make movies for free, that’s not how the real world works. People need food, costumes, rent money, and a whole host of other expenses.

However, I will concede to one exception. Obviously short films are easier than making a full feature, so that could partially ease the financial burden. However, if a filmmaker has a true story that they are burning to tell, a real, honest to god story that they must get out of them, and that nobody else is telling, then that is the one exception to the rule. The problem with that, is that most filmmakers don’t have a story that they are desperate to tell.

Most filmmakers don’t even have whole stories, because film schools don’t teach story. Most filmmakers have an idea that they think is clever, and that’s it. Hell, I don’t even know if I have a story that I’m desperate to tell, but that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

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