A Dreamer Walking

Risk

Posted in Uncategorized by Jacob on November 23, 2011

These days movies seem to be getting more and more formulaic. Superhero movies and sequels seem to be the only films that are given a big budget. It is becoming harder and harder to have any Hollywood studio support new and original scripts. What the executives want is a formula. They want to take out the “risk” factor. Recent movies like Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill and the new Twilight film Breaking Dawn, are allowed to have weak scripts and be poorly constructed because the executives know the films have a fan base and will make a profit. Yet, slowly the movie business if fading. Hollywood’s formula’s are starting to backfire. Because 3D has been so over and poorly used in so many films the audience is loosing interest. Because the latest Superhero movies are getting more indolent and unbelievable the audience has started to stop caring. Because sequels have become less original and less creative the audience has began to decided just re-watching the original is more convenient.

When talking about the creation of Wall-E Andrew Stanton said he knew the film was going to be risky and that is precisely why he wanted to make it. What happened to this kind of philosophy? The visionaries of Hollywood are and always have been the people willing to take risks. In fact, the film business is directly related to risk taking. Why? Because there is no formula to good filmmaking. Film is an art not a product. We can not expect to create the same type of story again and again and have our audience stay interested. Walt Disney needed to take a risk when he created the first feature length animated film. Nobody knew if it would work. Many people thought it wouldn’t. They called it the “Disney folly” and said nobody would be willing to sit through a hour and a half cartoon. What drove Walt however was his belief in his art form and fellow collaborators. Walt had a vision. A vision that revolutionized the medium and helped keep the art form relevant.

George Lucas received a huge amount of skepticism when he embarked on creating Star Wars. There was no film really like it, yet he took the risk and invested everything he had into making the movie. Pixar was faced with a huge amount of doubt about the possibilities of computer animation. It took a visionary like Steve Jobs to believe in the film medium and invest millions of dollars into creating breakthrough shorts like Luxo Jr. and Tin Toy. Because of these peoples visions and their willingness to take risks cinema has advanced and stayed relevant for today’s audience. Yet, slowly the visionaries of cinema have been dying away, losing interest, or getting pushed out. The people who have taken over are those who are only interested in power and money. They are strangling the art form I have come to love- demeaning it’s true power and vanquishing it’s light. They no longer take risks because they are more concerned about themselves then the art form.

Risk is part of film business. I am not trying to say you should take risks just for the heck of it. What I want is for you to have a great enough vision that you are willing to pursue it no matter where it takes you. The medium of film is vast there is no end to it’s possibilities. Exploring the unknown is always risky. Yet, it is good for filmmakers to get out of their comfort zone. The reason Andrew Stanton liked the fact that his movie Wall-E was risky was because he knew the risk factor would force him to be at the top of his game. Risk heightens ones senses. Exploring the unknown is invigorating because you are going places no one has gone before. Risk opens yourself up to the possibility of loss. Yet, we can always learn from our failures. Risk also opens yourself to limitless possibilities. The willingness to take risks is vital if we want filmmaking to survive and thrive. Those interested only power and money will slowly lose interest in the film medium and desert it as being “finished”. Filmmaking is for those willing to serve the medium not those who want the medium to serve them. I know film, like any other art form, is never finished. The art form of film will always be able to show us new and wondrous things as long as there are visionaries willing to lead the way.

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