I attended a class in San Francisco yesterday regarding distribution in the film industry. I learned a lot about various terminology, types of contracts and deals, what pitfalls to avoid, and what sort of films get noticed. At one point, the teacher of the class said something very interesting.
To boil it down, she said that she has been at film markets and festivals where film buyers will only look at movies that have a celebrity in it, and when they find the films that do they fast forward through the movie, counting how much nudity is in it, and tallying all the explosions. I laughed, but she was totally serious. Seriously incredulous I should say, because she didn't like it any better than I did.
First of all, that should mean a lot to those of you who already had their suspicions about the moral decline of the film industry. Film buyers and distributors are looking for movies under certain criteria that will make them money, and those criteria are: idolatry, people idolize celebrities and will watch them first and foremost, sex, people like sex, to say the least, and violence, because people have been and always will be fascinated by violence.
I could go into moral decline and the decline of civilizations, mention the Roman Empire and various other civilizations and cite sources, but I'm just a filmmaker. All I know is that moral decline is bad. I personally think it is completely ridiculous that the film industry searches for movies that reinforce our obsession for celebrities, sex and violence, but I can't help but feel that it's not entirely their fault. I mean, pretty much everyone buys their products, I know I have in the past. I probably will continue to buy their products in the future too. It's kind of hypocritical of me to take a solid stance against the film buyers who search for movies which contribute to moral decline, when I am going to spend about 10 bucks in the theater to watch it and then buy the DVD, and maybe some poster or collectible figurines.
But I still feel that somehow it's wrong. I'm not completely sure why though. Maybe it's because of all the problems we have with sexuality and violence in our society already. It doesn't help to be bombarded with it every day, even if it's fictional. It also doesn't help that young people emulate the celebrities of their favorite over-sexed, hyper-violent movies, who in their personal lives are over-sexed and tend to be at least self destructive, if not violent.
If that's how humanity wants to be, then that's how we are going to be. But I think it's going to lead to our destruction because too much sex destroys love, and too much violence destroys life, and idolizing humans who don't deserve to be idolized destroys souls.
One things for sure, if I want to sell movies, I better have plenty of scenes where naked stars get blown up.