Sunday, May 29, 2005

Hollywood Million


The novel I'm editing now is set in a fictional movie studio, a realistic version of which used to be my home for ten years. Film business is not all about big studios with their mega-budget movies and eight-figure promotional campaigns; I am quite aware that there are independent filmmakers who pursue their artistic visions without that kind of excess. Ironically, many independent filmmakers eventually do rely on the vast distributing umbrella of the big studios to reach more audience.

There is a lot of talk about how inexpensive digital video equipments are leveling the playing field, but the reality is that independent films with box office success are the exception, not the rule. A filmmaker friend once commented that there is no such thing as inflation in the low-budget film industry, because a feature film can still be made for a million dollars, or less -- a relief to him.

One "Hollywood million" is unlike one million to the rest of us; for instance, some guy making 40K a year has to break his back for 25 years to make that much. "But he gets raises," you say, and I say, "In this economy, he's happy if he doesn't lose his job."

Meanwhile, somewhere, a writer is using a 19-cent ballpoint pen to write his masterpiece on a 79-cent notepad.

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