Simultaneously bright and morose. Purposeful and hopelessly lost.
Perhaps I've simply lost my perspective. I've somehow reached the "in my day" phase of my interactions with the youngsters.
But after chatting with a fresh-faced film school graduate, which I did yesterday, and listening to his already brow-beaten perspective of how hard it is to "make it"...I am not convinced I'm the problem.
The consternation. The anxiety. You would be easily convinced he was a cynical filmmaker, at the end of a long career full of rejection.
He graduated SIX MONTHS ago!
He skipped confusion, elation, terror, joy and adulation; nosediving straight into Woody Allen style despair. Bizarre.
Interestingly, I recognised a few of the talking points from his litany of lament.
I was actually stunned. Once again, 'the glum prognostications of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas' have returned.
To jog your memory, I wrote about the myth of the 'Hollywood Implosion' propogated by Spielberg and Lucas, back in 2013.
At the time, Spielberg said:
“There’s eventually going to be a big meltdown...There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen of these mega-budgeted movies go crashing into the ground and that’s going to change the paradigm again.”
To which Lucas added:
"(After the meltdown) You’re going to end up with fewer theaters, bigger theaters with a lot of nice things. Going to the movies will cost 50 bucks or 100 or 150 bucks, like what Broadway costs today, or a football game. It’ll be an expensive thing. … (The movies) will sit in the theaters for a year, like a Broadway show does. That will be called the ‘movie’ business.”
In response, I respectfully disagreed. My take on their pronouncements of doom was that:
'...instead of evidence of an implosion, their predictions are evidence of a different trend: the wave of technological change turning the existing experts into novices, just like the rest of us...(and) remarkably, no-one is highlighting the fact that film budgets continue to expand, while the technological means to make films actually becomes cheaper and more accessible.'
But still, somehow, three years later, the Spielberg/Lucas 'Hollywood Implosion' myth is alive and well in the heart of a 2015 film school graduate.
How could this be?
Are we destined to be haunted by this fallacy forever?
We're going to kill it today. Kill it with fire.
After Spielberg/Lucas' prediction in early 2013, 'The Lone Ranger' flopped in extreme fashion. For numerous pundits, this signaled the beginning of the decline that Spielberg and Lucas announced.
Again, I disagreed. But how did the rest of the year unfold?
Well, the major film studios, for one, were unabashed by the early box office failures in 2013. They forged ahead.
The studios were right.
In 2014, it was announced that 2013 achieved the highest ever gross, domestic box office in the U.S.
Could just be a fluke, I suppose.
Except that 2015's summer box office (the peak box office period for the U.S. film industry) was the second largest haul ever.
Oh, and Star Wars VII, the latest in the franchise that Lucas created, became the third highest grossing film of all time.
This very public contradiction would probably be awkward for Lucas, except that he sold Lucasfilm to Disney four years ago...
...with a price tag of four billion dollars.
Yet somehow the film business is doing poorly? Talk about disconnection from reality.
So, to those of you who are not billionaire film luminaries, ignore the old guard.
Enjoy their films, of course, but realise that no-one stays an expert forever. The world simply moves too fast
The only constant is that great work finds audiences.
But that's the trick, isn't it?
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