Friday, March 11, 2005

Steven Spielberg Doesn't Exist

I think it's safe to assume that most people share a common perception of the film industry and Hollywood. It feels like some kind of fantasy land. It's harder to get into than freakin' Narnia. And just by some lucky break or freak chance you may stumble into it, much like Sandra Bullock or Tara Reid. Having boobs usually helps. But honestly it all feels so unreal to the point where Steven Spielberg feels like a fictional character. He's like Superman or Luke Skywalker, not that he's some great hero, but that he's somebody you've read stories about and seen on television since you were a kid. All of 'em, the actors, directors, it all just doesn't feel real. The fact that George Lucas' job is to sit and think up a Star Wars movie to make (and subsequently ruin, but that's a whole nother blog) seems absolutely ridiculous. Steven Spielberg could literally make ANY MOVIE he dreams up. Anything. That just doesn't feel real. It's like being a kid and having an action figure factory at your disposal. Any figure, character, that you can think up, they will make an entire toy line from, including vehicles and playsets. I didn't even choose that analogy because any movie they make a toy line actually does get made from it, even though that just adds to the ridiculousness of it all.

At the same time the industry all feels like some elite group that you can never be part of. Like the popular kids in school. Even though Hollywood makes 90% crap all year, if you were to bring them something better than all of that, they'd still kick you to the curb just to keep you out. "I mean really, what were you thinking bringing something like that out here to us?"

But the other night I started to re-read Robert Rodriguez's book "Rebel Without A Crew." I read this back in high school. It's the director of Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spy Kids, and the upcoming Sin City. The book is his journal as he wrote, directed, and ultimately sold his first movie that he made for $7,000. He filmed some half decent little Mexican action movie with blah actors and so-so action scenes, all subtitled. It's not terrible, but it's not amazing. He took the trailer to this thing out to Hollywood and showed some execs and within a month he had been hired for Columbia Pictures to develop scripts and to direct a picture for them and was being payed something like $800,000. And THEN they bought his movie when he was finished for another $125,000. Just like that, boom, you're in. The wardrobe opens and there's Mr. Tumnus with some turkish delight. Studios FOUGHT over him (Rodriguez, not Mr. Tumnus.) Columbia, Tri-Star (now part of Columbia), Miramax, Disney, Universal. All them chomping at the bit for this guy who just rolled into town without a dime, but a good trailer to a decent movie. And suddenly all my perceptions of Hollywood are instantly shattered.

Do I think that I could just take the Blasto trailer into Hollywood and sign the check? No. But it gives me a lot more hope that something big could honestly happen. Those studios fighting over this guy, why? Well one, he's kinda lucky. Luck, God's blessing, whatever you wanna call it, it plays a bit into it. Right place, right time, right person, whatever. There's gotta be SOME connection. Two, hard work, which can usually negate luck. He worked his tail off to make that movie and then worked it off again trying to get the movie out there. And finally three, talent. They all wanted him because he was talented. Why do they want talent? Not because they really wanna make great art that will last for generations. They want to make money. And talented people can help make them LOTS of money. So Rodriguez gets to make the stories he wants and the studios get to make money off of those stories. Seems like a fair trade, right? So right now Rodriguez has his own production studio based out of his own home, complete with sound stages, editing studios, special effects, the whole works. All because he did exactly what we're doing. Are we following the same path. I don't think so. But I also can't help but think that the Hollywood safe just got a little easier to crack.

1 comment:

cheechman said...

well chris I have to tell you, from one film maker to another, that you have tryed to tackle a beast that will go some where. when you try so hard to do something and belive in something so much it's hard to ever say that it will be perfect. but when you have a dream, and you finaly see this dream coming togther you start to become more perticular. With this being said sometimes it's better to take a step back a relax some times.

I know im probably the last person to be talling you this a person from your past who you proabably never thought would be reading this, However I belive in you and always have, in hopes of one day doing what your doing. This really is something that will take you some place, why? Because you have the drive and really try, and put in the time. don't let big hollywood confuse your dream push through and give everybody something that will show what you can do, and how much better you've become! Im pushing for you chris and Im here if there is anything I can do.

cheech
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