Thursday, July 24, 2014

Independent Films: What They Are and Why We Love Them!

Most people enjoy movies. They watch them. They love them or hate them. But most people don't understand the terms that describe what a movie is, aside from the genre. So when I say most of my favorite movies are Independent films...does that mean anything to you?

No? Well allow me to explain. 

"Independent" explains where the funding for the movie budget comes from. It also explains how and where the creators of the film got together.

Independent film makers range in size from companies that started small but with movie success over the years have developed a name for themselves like Dream Works, all the way down to smaller ones that few people have ever heard of, like Yari Film Group. They are like Dick's Sporting Goods and Ray's Cycle. Smaller, almost mom and pop shops that have fewer regular employees and a smaller budget to work with. They tend to hire actors specifically for each film and usually work with emerging actors who fewer people know about and are will to work for a lot less money. They also don't have regular donators who provide the funding for their films so they have to do fund raisers and try to find personal investor who are willing to take a chance on the movie flopping and never making their money back.

Aside from those differences, are the types of films they make. Big production houses make your staple films that fall under the categories of: Comedy, Action, Horror, Drama.

Major producers like Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers are huge companies with lots of people who are contracted to work with them for period of years. They have reliable donators who consistently give money to their movie projects because they'll get a cut if the film does well and they can pretty much count on it being a success.

They're a bit like Home Depot and Lowe's. They're huge, they have lots of regular employees and they have a huge budget. They tend to have contracts with actors for how many films they have to make with them in order to get paid in full. And they tend to have the heavy hitter, established actors like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Beals who command a very large salary.

They fit those criteria with a formula so the movie makers and the audience know exactly what they can expect.They follow reliable recipes that have proven popular with their audiences, that way there is very little gamble that they won't do well. But this also mean they don't take risks. They don't give you surprises. They give you splashy special effects, your favorite celebrity faces and an ending you can rely to fit the movie type.

Independent films and foreign films are for people who love adventure and like to think outside the box.

Independent films are less defined. They might make a movie that starts out funny, ends up being about cancer and instead of the patient living, they might die and the movie ends on a sad note. They are full of surprises because they often give you fresh actors who you don't know how will act or react. You don't know if there will be sex between the psychiatrist and his own son while he's counseling a rape victim or if the romantic couple chasing each other throughout the movie will end up getting married or not. They take chances. They give you something you've never had before, wrapped in brown paper instead of a colorful brand label plastic container. Maybe you'll love it. Maybe you'll hate it. But you won't know until you try every one, because they're all unexpectedly different.

Stay tuned for my next post which will list some of my favorite Independent Films. 

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