Filmmakers Speak Out on the Current State of Cinema

11 Jul

1st article in our 5 week series on Film Industry Implosion

Recently, at USC and the San Francisco International Film Festival filmmakers have spoken out about the current state of cinema and even gone as far as to predict a “Film Industry Implosion.[1]” Perhaps, this is true but many believe this is all an overreaction.  So we are going to spend the next five weeks focusing on this very topic. But first we will look into what these well-known filmmakers Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Steven Soderbergh are saying about the current state of cinema.  So let’s get started!

Today many believe studios are spending more on marketing campaigns than on producing good films. Many filmmakers fear the over production of big budget CGI and marketing campaigns will drive up the need to boost ticket prices and drive away audiences.  Could this be true? Will audiences soon pay big bucks for cinematic action films and save their money on dramas and biopics for the small screen?  Please watch the videos below to hear the full discussion.

  •  Future of the Movie Business: Steven Spielberg & George Lucas: Please click here
  • State of Cinema: Steven Soderbergh:  Please click here

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69 Responses to “Filmmakers Speak Out on the Current State of Cinema”

  1. ComicRelief July 11, 2013 at 7:20 PM #

    Hi everyone,

    I think Steven Soderbergh made a lot of valid points. As a dramatic professional who has the most to lose, I think he is by far the most rational concerning the problem (if there is one).

    Competitive to a “T”, George Lucas can’t stop being territorial long enough to express his point. OB, did you notice his disdain when snarls that the most ambitious dramatic work is on T.V.

    • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 7:39 PM #

      Hi CR!

      Hmm! Yes! George Lucas sounds a bit detached and I can’t take him seriously AT ALL. Why is he surprised his films aren’t being put in theaters. I mean after Red Tails he should be lucky to even get on television. I’m sorry Red Tails should not be compared to Lincoln. Anyway, that’s my take.

      • Com1c Relief July 11, 2013 at 8:08 PM #

        He (George) was very smart to sell Star Wars, and should be proud of his contribution to the problem (he is complaining about).

        • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:11 PM #

          Are u trying to be sarcastic? Please be blunt don’t hold back. Give it to me straight. I can take it. Hahaha!

        • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 8:14 PM #

          That thought crossed my mind too when I watch that video.

          • Com1c Relief July 11, 2013 at 8:29 PM #

            Sorry,

            If Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson, and Ted Bundy tried to lead a seminar or the horrors of serial killing would you go, listen, or approve. No you wouldn’t. This is what the Steven Spielberg/George Lucas lecture discussion amounts to. More realistically actors Tom Cruise, Will Smith, and Brad Pitt all tried to sale Sci-Fi in theaters this summer and all failed miserably.

            Steven and George should just admit the monster they created is hard to tame and just get on with it.

            • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM #

              “Steven and George should just admit the monster they created is hard to tame and just get on with it.”

              Ah! BRAVO. Thank u! I LOVE U!

              • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 8:46 PM #

                LOL, I love your thoughts CR!

              • Com1c Relief July 11, 2013 at 8:51 PM #

                Your welcome. Someone talked to Steven about doing TV (THE HORROR)!!! Welcome to 21th century filmmaking. Kathryn Bigalow. Steven Soderbergh and others have had to stoop this low many times, (and are better for it).

      • littlebells July 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM #

        Those two films are like comparing apples to oranges. He was here on Modesto to celebrate the one billionth anniversary of American Graffiti. I cared so much I didn’t leave the house to see him in the parade.

        • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:57 PM #

          Gosh! American Graffiti. Really? He’s from there right? Well I don’t blame u for not going.

          Now, do u value at all his opinion on the state of cinema?

          • littlebells July 11, 2013 at 9:08 PM #

            When I have a chance to watch it I will let u know!

            • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 9:28 PM #

              No worries! Say hi to little Slider for me.

    • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM #

      George Lucas is living in his own delusional world he’s way too technical to relate to the human condition. Come on I would still go see Gandhi, Erin Broc, Social Network, Argo, Schindler’s List and Lincoln in theaters today.

      • Com1c Relief July 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM #

        “He’s way too technical”

        Technicians have feelings too.

        • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:29 PM #

          I’m sorry. U know I love Techies. I’m half and half myself. Hahaha!

  2. ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 7:27 PM #

    Hello everyone!

    Interesting article OB! I’ve only watched the Spielberg and Lucas video. It was very interesting to hear their points of views.

    Off to watch the Soderbergh one now!

    • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 7:32 PM #

      Hi Oz!

      Take your time.

      • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 8:27 PM #

        Hi OB & CR! 🙂

    • ComicRelief July 11, 2013 at 8:01 PM #

      I could be wrong, but I think he’s far more level headed. Directing 37 films he has a far more respectable perspective on the topic. Some of these films include…

      – Behind the Candelabra
      – Magic Mike
      – Haywire
      – Contagion

      • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:04 PM #

        Are u referring to Steven Soderbergh?

        • Com1c Relief July 11, 2013 at 8:06 PM #

          Sorry yes.

          • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM #

            I agree Steven Soderbergh and Steven Spielberg were calmer and made more sense. While I agree with some of George’s thoughts, he seems really angry!

            • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:26 PM #

              Yes! ITA Oz.

              What thoughts of GL did u agree with?

              • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM #

                I agreed that the quality of TV is catching up fast to the quality of movies and that there’ll be more indie films that will show on TV or the Internet, rather than the cinema. I’m not sure that movies will become like broadway plays in terms of how long they run but I can see the price going up.

                • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:40 PM #

                  Would u pay $25.00 to see Gandhi in theaters today?

                  • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM #

                    Probably not! I’d have to do what I already do now which is to wait for the DVD to be released. 😦

                • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:41 PM #

                  What quality of film determines that it be on TV/Internet or the Cinema?

                  • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 8:59 PM #

                    Well if you go by what George says it’s indie films that can’t get a cinema distribution deal. With that view they kind of come across as films that are so terrible that even executives, who push out film after film that basically have the same plot but somehow become blockbusters, won’t take a chance on. It’s like being tarred with the “straight to DVD” films brush. However with films like Behind The Candelabra (and Lincoln if it didn’t get the distribution deal) prove otherwise. So I think the film quality would be good, it’s just excecutives are scared to take a chance on something different.

                    • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 9:05 PM #

                      Thank u….. I LOVE U TOO!!! Great, great analysis. This is why I can’t take GL seriously AT ALL. He’s comparing Lincoln to his messed up film Red Tails which was crap.

                      Did u ever see Red Tails?

                    • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 9:19 PM #

                      I vaguely remember the trailer. I think I took one look at it, decided it didn’t look good and closed the page!

          • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM #

            Gotcha!

  3. Open Book July 11, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

    I really enjoyed Steven S. analysis of the state of cinema. Do u agree that people have become too bombarded with information that they can’t appreciate the finer details?

    • Com1c Relief July 11, 2013 at 8:05 PM #

      I agree that the market is a fractured one that may be far more competitive for the varied filmmaking “troupes” than it has been in recent years. Soderberg does a good job of not going off the deep end.

      • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:08 PM #

        Do u agree with Soderbergh that there is a difference between cinema and movies?

        • Com1c Relief July 11, 2013 at 8:10 PM #

          I’m not sure. How do you think he is distinguishing the two?

          • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:17 PM #

            Yes! He’s saying the Cinema is a specific detailed medium that involves a lot more focus and development very much like designing a couture garment made to fit that one individual. Movies on the other hand are more like ready to wear made to fit anyone. Does that make sense?

            • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:17 PM #

              In other words movies are much more generic.

              • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:24 PM #

                Let me go further. Cinema requires there to be more detail, precision, vision and creativity because of the grandness of the medium. I think I’m done.

                • Com1c Relief July 11, 2013 at 8:32 PM #

                  If that’s so I agree. Yet it may be harder to find that cinema than it used to be. There’s no reason to get angry because many creators are having an easier time producing this for TV than for theaters.

                  • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

                    “because many creators are having an easier time producing this for TV than for theaters.”

                    Hmm! Can u provide an example please?

    • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 8:27 PM #

      I enjoyed his analysis too. Although there was alot said during his speech, my tired brain found it hard to keep up (lol), I think I agree with most of it.

      • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:32 PM #

        No worries Oz! Even tired u have great analysis and make a lot of sense. So don’t hold back!

        • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 8:38 PM #

          Lol, thank you! I’m in tired ramble mode so I won’t be holding back!

          • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM #

            All good! Love it

    • littlebells July 11, 2013 at 8:51 PM #

      That is a great point. I going to say yes and that includes everyday life. Unless something is put point blank in their face, most people don’t see the little details of life.

      • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 9:34 PM #

        Yup, they can’t see the wood from the trees!

  4. littlebells July 11, 2013 at 8:44 PM #

    I am so late to this party! Let me get caught up!

    Btw, hi everyone!

    • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM #

      Hi LB!!!

      Nice to see u! Take your time.

      • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 9:02 PM #

        LB!!!! *hugs* 🙂

        • littlebells July 11, 2013 at 9:06 PM #

          I still totally owe u an email!!!!

          • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 9:14 PM #

            Lol, no problem, I understand!

      • littlebells July 11, 2013 at 9:05 PM #

        Thanks!

  5. littlebells July 11, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

    As I have addressed this in a precious article, I have found more television series of better quality than films. Somehow AMC and HBO have been able to acquire great screenwriters, editors, directors and actors. I like The Walking Dead, Mad Men and am just getting ready to start Downton Abbey. Oh and I have just finished the first season of American Horror Story. SO GOOD! Creepy but not too much.

    I think the studios need to start taking more risks as far as what the intelligent public really want.

    • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 9:09 PM #

      I love The Walking Dead and the first season of American Horror Story (I really need to remember to get the second season). Both are great in terms of talent. I haven’t been able to get into Mad Men or Downton Abbey but they are great in the talent front too. Some TV shows are like mini movies when it come to quality!

    • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 9:12 PM #

      “I think the studios need to start taking more risks as far as what the intelligent public really want.”

      Why does the studio need to take risk in theaters if people are happy watching it on television?

      • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 9:27 PM #

        Good point. I’m kind of stumped for answers for that one! Maybe because cinema used to also create alot of “art” movies along side the average ones. Now it’s becoming a bastardised version of what it once used to be. That art form shouldn’t be lost (especially not to mediocristy anyway).

        • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 9:42 PM #

          That was a great answer Oz. If I may add the reason I think art films have become bastardized because u have good writers, directors etc… doing television and the lines have become blurred.

          • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 9:49 PM #

            Another good point. Maybe TV is easier than movies when it comes to distribution and that’s why they are flocking there?

            • Open Book July 12, 2013 at 9:31 AM #

              True! But at what price are they paying? How low are they willing to go to get an audience?

              • Open Book July 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM #

                I guess its a balancing act. Its like wrapping medicine in junk food. The problem is. Artist run the risk of the junk food taking over and canceling out the medicine. Hahaha!

      • littlebells July 11, 2013 at 10:06 PM #

        Only if they don’t want to end up going bankrupt. I am perfectly happy watching “it” on television.

        • Open Book July 12, 2013 at 9:17 AM #

          True! Don’t get me wrong. U know I streamline movies and docs all the time on my computer. Now I can be wrong. So I do hope u get a chance to view the videos and correct me if I misunderstood.

          But I think what Soderbergh was saying movies when dispensed to the public in this fashion (be it internet or television) can easily be altered, edited and turned into something the artist had not intended like the guy he mentioned on the plane with the ipod. Rather than if a film is seen in the Cinema audiences won’t have that type of access. Also, the fear he expressed is how desensitized we’ve become to the human condition by this instant gratification culture we’ve come to rely on with reality television, the internet etc…

    • Open Book July 11, 2013 at 9:26 PM #

      U two can call me a prude if u want. Hahaha! I don’t have a problem with television shows. What I fear is that we will lower our standards and be at the mercy of big business. HBO for example really marginalize and over sexualize women. Is this something people would tolerate on the big screen? After all with movies like Zero Dark Thirty it seems women on the big screen are being valued for their intelligence.

      • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 9:31 PM #

        I actually agree with you there. I try to avoid shows that do that. I also think that just like cinema, tv shows shouldn’t lower their quality either.

        • Open Book July 12, 2013 at 9:26 AM #

          ITA Oz! But how do good written, acted and directed television movies compete with the junk food out there without having to stoop to their level to get an audience? I know its less expensive to distribute on television (but like I mentioned to LB up above) its more prone to be altered by the public and therefore devalued for its original intent.

  6. Open Book July 11, 2013 at 9:44 PM #

    Everyone!

    I have to go but I had a great time tonight. Great! discussion, questions and answers. I will try and return and answer more questions and comment tomorrow.

    Goodnight!

    • ozzie20 July 11, 2013 at 9:56 PM #

      I’m off too. Night all! 🙂

  7. Melanie Eaton July 12, 2013 at 6:29 AM #

    Symptomatic of this method of conducting business is that studio executives become incapable of discerning true talent. Studios are much more likely to back unproven projects that seem more marketable on paper than individual filmmakers who have proven themselves many times over. This, suggested Soderbergh, is because Hollywood is all about the race instead of the horses; studios would rather churn out generic, predictably successful action flicks, forsaking any sense of cinematic individualism.

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