In a vastly changing industry, always believe in your vision for art and creativity.
During my first semester at Regent, I learned about the importance of recognizing trends within the film industry. Superhero movies had become insanely popular, but our professor encouraged the class to look past the current styles and genres of film and try to predict what will come next. I’ve never forgotten this advice.
There’s a lot that goes into making a feature film, and more often than not, it takes years to finish one movie. Some movies even sit in “limbo” for 15 or 20 years! There’s a high chance that what was stylistically popular 5 years ago is not going to be popular by the time your feature film is distributed. Films that don’t anticipate this change are destined to fail. Think about all of the teen zombie and vampire movies that came out just a little too far after the Twilight fad ended. Not only are the genres that are “popular in the moment” continually changing, there seems to be a bigger movement away from traditionalism altogether.
For better or for worse, modern America is drifting away from established ideas. New conversations about everything from politics to music happen every day. How many people from our generation readily align with an established political party? How many people listen to an easily defined genre of music anymore? Film and television are just another medium destined to be affected by this move away from the establishment.
In the past, films that defied the mainstream were referred to in terms like avant-garde, experimental, or surrealist. Now, more and more modern films and television shows are absorbing aspects of these early artistic movements. One of the biggest cultural icons of the 1990’s was the prime-time show “Twin Peaks”, which helped popularize the idea of narrative television. The show also introduced aspects of surrealism to an enormous audience. Recently, the show began airing another season, which is even less definable than its precursor. One episode even includes a 30-minute segment of completely abstract visuals. Not only that, for the first time in history, the studio gave the director complete creative control and an enormous budget to make this season of “Twin Peaks” exactly how he wants. Despite it’s seemingly deliberate inaccessibility, “Twin Peaks” still ranks higher on IMDB than shows like “Downton Abby”, “Mad Men”, and “House.”
Now is a better time than ever to be as creative as you want. Audiences are craving something different, it’s cheaper than it has ever been to make a film, and studios are becoming more and more flexible with what gets approved and funded. If you have an idea, fight for it. Don’t compromise on your vision because it may end up being the next big thing.
Calvin Welch is a Staff Writer for The Daily Runner.