I wrote this a few months ago but shelved it for some reason, but after seeing the news article about David Lynch damning the current state of cinema I thought I'd share it. I decided to have a bit of a rhetorical spitball session on some ideas I had bouncing around on how to fund films in the future.
One of the ways that a lot of people are looking at now is crowd funding through services like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, there have been some recent success stories like that of the Veronica Mars film and Zach Braff's follow up to Garden State. However Zach Braff did receive criticism, which was down to people thinking someone in his position should not be asking for money when he has plenty of his own connections. So how would crowd funding work if it became the norm? Let's play the scenario through and see where it leads. If you can imagine that film studios have closed the doors on funding films and it is now up to Actors/Directors to find their own funds. They band together and put their film ideas on crowd funding sites to raise the required capital. The ideas start flowing and a number of campaigns are set up to fund films, now the general public can decide what films get made. The situation will have changed and the risk of making an original film has gone, that means ANY film idea can have a shot. How great would that be? Maybe not.
The same problems might still exist, with people supporting the same type of films that come out now and the same films would continue to be released. The status quo will have changed but the problem will still exist. The silver lining would be, films don't need to get the green light from studios to exist, an idea could be added to the web for crowd funding and once up there it would be determined whether or not the public was interested.
Then we move on to what happens with the cinema experience, do people who paid for the film get a free pass for the film or must they pay for it again when it is released? The other option which has been present in some recent crowd funded films is the option of downloading the film and watching, that would remove the issue of paying to see it in the cinema. Following that thought, would the cinema die or could it become a luxury for people who want to see the film on the big screen instead of their downloadable version. Recently Sony and Disney announced a trial run in South Korea for streaming films concurrent with the cinema release, if that is successful it will add merit to the home streaming/downloading idea.
If streaming is to be the modern mode of releasing films then why not skip the whole crowd funding process altogether. We could call this, option number two. Companies like Netflix could segway into the film making business, making films isn't much of a leap from making a tv series. This would remove the cinema experience totally, remove the need for paying for individual films and bring back the issue of a studio deciding what films to make based on what they think will be popular. So..back to the beginning.
I'm sure that I have not thought of everything, I've probably missed pros and cons and just skimmed over the surface of the potential from some of these possibilities. Through this I've come to the conclusion, it probably doesn't matter what way things go, the same issues will probably exist in any new model if it is used absolutely.
There are times when I just want to bury my head in the sand so I don't have to witness the sullying of my favourite films. This may seem like an odd topic, since my last post was promoting the re-hashing of ideas (Why there should be a new Lara Croft) but I believe it has its own merits. Nevertheless when I think about recent stirrings in the media news, I have heard about possible 'The Crow', 'Oldboy' and 'Akira' remakes. These are films which I want left alone, I want to keep them sacred and untouched by Hollywood's brute foolishness. Stop ravaging cinema!
Maybe it says something about the mass public, that we keep eating it all up.
We need to rejoice at foreign directors crossing into Hollywood and releasing films, maybe this is just me but some of my favourite films have been from the outsiders of Hollywood reaching in. Take some examples, The Artist (2011), Pan's Labyrinth (2006) and now Stoker (2013). Admittedly, I haven't managed to catch Stoker yet but from what I have seen and heard, it's a winner. These films give us something different. Alright, The Artist didn't bring something new exactly because silent films have been around since the beginning of cinema but the style has not been used in a very long time. The reason these titles stand out is because they do something different, giving us new ideas which may end up making other writers and directors think about what they can do to push themselves forward. It will also give us, the film watching public, something new and interesting which is what we love the most. I don't blame films with new ideas that I don't think are good, at least there were trying to do something. I just want to see people trying new things.
I think I must include a disclaimer, I don't think that only great and original films come from outside of Hollywood, that would be 100% wrong. The problem I have with Hollywood is that they want to look back at the films that were successful and remake them or use the same ideas for a different film and that is why we end up having the same film coming out again and again. The reason they do that is so they can create a financially viable film and that is down to us, the general cinema going public. I really hope that films like The Artist, Pan's Labyrinth and Stoker continue to do well so that Hollywood can stop thinking, how can we make another film like Pan's Labyrinth and instead think, how can we find something as original as Pan's Labyrinth and having these recognised talents from outside Hollywood coming in because they have new ideas can only be a good thing.
I am going to come out and say it and I'm sure that I am not the only person that thinks this, we have a new Tomb Raider game and now I want a new Tomb Raider film. For those who don't agree, consider what good reason you have for not wanting one. Were the last films the holy grail of cinema? Too precious to bury under a re-boot? I think not and it might even be for the best that we push the Angelina Jolie era under the carpet. No one relly wants to remember the last films and they shouldn't have to. What better way to rid ourselves of the memory than by facing our fears and watching the new and improved Lara Croft? For some that won't be an issue because the latest generation of teenagers are likely to have missed Angelina Jolie's escapades as Lara Craft due to the fact that they were too young to be aware of Tomb Raider, it has been 10 years!
Let me tell you why a re-boot is a good idea. The new Tomb Raider game comes across as a much grittier affair, taking the story back to the start where we see how young Lara Croft begins her trade in antiques and ass kicking (what other popular re-boot does that sound like?). It seems as though the latest film will continue in the same vein, taking cues from the game, as announced GK Films will be working along side Crystal Dynamicsm to make this. That interests me, I want to see this new Lara Croft taking on the world through a different perspective. We can agree, I hope, that the new approach the game has taken the story in makes for a more interesting story, one that will steal our imaginations instead of our money.
Maybe Tomb Raider has scarred you for life and you want nothing more to do with it after having to experience the last two films. That may be the case and I may never convince you but that isn't really my job even though it might seem like I'm trying to. I just think that a re-boot sounds like a great idea after playing the game and pondering the potential of a new story line which takes us on a coming of age journey, from mild mannered student to the ass kicking tomb raider. Who can say that wouldn't be fun?