Saturday, September 7, 2013

With the economy the way it is...

Charles Bukowski noted that during World War Two, even when the economy was good and there was a labor shortage, it was hard to find unskilled work. Now that the economy stinks, it's almost impossible. I have a cousin trying to claw his way into the job market without much luck. I can see why workers get discouraged and give up. As they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. (That's not really the definition of insanity, but that's what they say.)

There can be advantages to this. Look at the Great Depression. There was a flourishing of creativity in American art. Artists knew no one would buy anything, so they did what they wanted. There were more "public intellectuals" since there was nothing else for an intellectual to do.

When the finance "industry" caused the recent massive economic collapse, there was a sudden glut of DJ's in New York. All the scum working in the financial industry were suddenly unemployed, had no hope of finding work, and so pursued their dream of playing records for a living. Which might explain something about the financial collapse.

The subject of this blog being what it is, here we are in an age when you can buy a high definition video camera for fifty bucks, where you can make a movie for essentially no money, where do-it-yourself distribution is at least physically possible with no money. The country is awash with unemployed film school grads (my cousin for one).

But I don't know how much is actually going on. Even those of us who like the IDEA of people making dramas for a hundred bucks on a Flip video camera might not enjoy the grim results. There may be a lot of movies like that being made but I'm not watching them.

I've never been able to interest the few film students I've met with no-budget filmmaking. They all want to go to Hollywood. I always assume they'd be interested in discussing extreme-low-budget cinema since it's their only realistic hope of doing anything, but all I get is blank looks.

How do you market a no-budget drama anyway? When you're selling a movie with no stars, no recognizable names, made with no money, and you're selling it sight unseen, you have to be able to tell them something other than "it's REAL dramatic!" You have to have something objective to say about it. Like "It's got LOTS of nudity!"

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