#MovieMonday – Why Independent Films Are Better Than Hollywood Films

May 21st, 2012

The difference between independent films and Hollywood films is essentially the same as the difference between the products created by any big, publicly-traded corporation and any upstart, risk-taking, entrepreneurial small business. A publicly-traded corporation (like the ones Hollywood film studios are all owned by) ultimately exists for one purpose, and that is to maximize profits for shareholders– not only that, but all of the rumor and innuendo that drives stock prices creates incentives for fast profits now. And while generating those fast profits, big corporations are also averse to major risks that will lose their shareholders’ investment (unless of course, you’re JPMorgan Chase & Co., in which case the taxpayer will always bail you out).

If profit’s your primary motive, you’re going to produce a different kind of product than a small upstart business. The small business needs to make a profit as well in order to be viable and sustainable, but the profit is the means, not the end. It’s the means to continue producing that awesome product idea an entrepreneur had. For the small business, it’s about the idea, the product, the new way of thinking. There’s an excitement, a passion, a very real humanness that drives their work. Drink a Coco-Cola today, then tomorrow, drink a Jones Soda. That’s the difference between Hollywood films and indie films…

The publicly-traded corporation model of business leads to product models based on marketing models aimed at mass consumption so studios can get that big pay day and make the bosses (owners) happy. What you see at the theater is often the end result of statistical composites, not necessarily the inspired vision of an artist who sees something the rest of us don’t and is willing to risk bringing a new vision to a public that might not be ready for it. Hollywood’s risk-aversion is why you see too many tired old ideas worn out on screen over and over again– because they’re a safe investment for reliable profits. Oh vampires are big right now? Let’s make as much vampire stuff as we possibly can. Oh the Twilight movie aesthetic is popular? Let’s redo every story as Twilight.

That’s also why you see the same names and faces over and over again in major Hollywood films. The big studios are averse to taking a risk on an unknown, untried, untested name, face, and personal brand. It’s not that the actor has to prove his or her acting chops– which can be demonstrated readily enough in an audition– it’s that Hollywood marketers don’t know if the actor will resonate with enough of their audience to sell tickets without taking a risk. So instead, they’ll bank on big names that they already know the movie-going public will buy tickets to see on screen. That’s why independent films are, as one blogger puts it, a garden for growing and cultivating new talent.

Not only that, but established actors who want to take a major risk with a provocative subject matter, controversial role, or shockingly moving performance will often turn to independent film to do it because the big Hollywood studios just won’t take the risk. That’s another reason independent films are better than Hollywood films: they’ll treat of subjects that the big, risk-averse corporations won’t touch: social, sexual, political, religious, and philosophical themes that the bean-counters say will alienate too much of a studio’s audience. And they’ll do it boldly and unrepentantly.

Of course, there are always exceptions. This isn’t to say that Hollywood never produces good or provocative art, or that all independent films are better than all Hollywood films. In fact, many independent films are no good. That’s bound to happen when you’ve got people taking risks and trying new things, and it’s the price you pay to create something truly great. New small businesses fail at a much higher rate than established, publicly-traded corporations. But they also drive much (maybe even most) of the innovation that happens in an economy. If you like small, local businesses more than soulless corporations, you’ll generally like independent films more than Hollywood films. In the end, Hollywood usually produces work that exemplifies a statistical composite of what appeals to the average consumer the most… and do you really think the average American consumer is a good judge of what you should spend two hours watching?

And don’t forget to visit our official website to learn more about the Silver Circle Movie:http://SilverCircleMovie.com

About the Author: Wes

Wesley Messamore, 24, is an independent journalist and political activist who believes in the Founding Father's vision of a free, enlightened, and moral America. He also blogs at HumbleLibertarian.com