An Interesting Art v Commerce Discussion on The Auteurs in response to my TOTBO Copenhagen Manifesto

by | March 25, 2010 | Marketing

There have been a number of comments in reply to my Copenhagen Manifesto which just got posted to The Auteurs. I love how people are picking up on the need for an “organic” integration of all aspects of filmmaking – including distribution and marketing. I have been using this term quite alot lately in my presentations.

But another reponse concerned the art v commerce debate – and thought others would find it interesting – hence my posting it here. Feel free to jump over to The Auteurs to comment.

From Chris: “Excellent overall points, Elemenopii. Excellent… As an aspiring filmmaker developing a first feature, I understand.

We are in a huge transitional time with much still up in the air. Personally, I spend 3-4 hours a day trying to wrap my head around what’s going on. So thank you to people like John Reiss who are boiling things down and pioneering the way.

A couple points:

1) John and Sheri (above) advocate a quasi-product development approach to making films. This is where I get stuck with John’s approach. I’m an artist. Yes, I unapologetically claim to be; the dreaded “A-word” in film. Personally, I don’t care, absolutely don’t care who my audience is, will be, will never be, when I am developing my film and even creating it. In the end, I believe, my filmmaking is a personal process, which I hope to share with others. I believe the best films (and all of art) are intensely personal and not catering to any particular taste or preference. During his wonderful speech, John mentions Renaissance artists who worked for commission, yet made their work their own. That may be true, but Michelangelo fought day in, day out with the Pope himself. In fact, the Pope struck the recalcitrant artist with a stick many times. And, in the end, Michelangelo’s work was censored, some parts of the FINAL JUDGEMENT were painted over.

My point is that there is a huge danger when a creator begins considering the tastes and preferences of an anticipated audience. You can do that, but in the end, it will invariably hinder your personal expression, which often leads to the best work!

2) COMMUNITY: God bless John for not only including community in his manifesto, but concluding with it. I love that he proposes we support each other and even buy one another’s movies!!! How great is that. Let’s do it. Let’s stop the competitive, win/loss, Western individualistic limited good mentality. I’m so sick of it…..

Peace,
Christopher”

Here is my comment:

“Ok – so one note above I wanted to address specifically – from Chris at Follow My Film: In the book I make your case, I understand your point of view (being a filmmaker myself). I have created much work with this in mind. I have 2 main responses:

1. Most importantly – using these techniques are about finding the audience that already exists for your film. The web allows you to access about a billion people right now. Eventually more and more. There are people with like minds out there – but you need to connect with them. The earlier you start engaging with them, the easier the process will be.

2. Completely being blind to the marketplace makes it a tougher road for you. If you just make your film – then try to find an audience, it might take a long time. You might also find that the audience for your film, or who you can access, might be very small. So it just might be hard to make some $ back on your film with this approach. However, if you keep your costs low, don’t care about recouping, and are not really worried about if you reach an audience – then who am I to say otherwise. In fact who am I to say otherwise to anything you wish to do. Seriously! My goal is to give guidance to people who want to make this potentially arduous process both easier and more productive for filmmakers, to help their work find an audience.

I also think that some of the best work has come out of constraint – indies work with financial constraint. Michelangelo (and many incredible artists before and after) have dealt with one form of censorship or another. Even if parts of the Sistine Chapel were censored, it is still an amazing work of art. My point is that there is no one way to create, however there are some new methodologies and tools which might make your life easier as an artist.

What do you think?”