Friday, October 31, 2014


Drama costs. No doubt about it. But how does one - such as you or me - go about assessing that cost? And what exactly is it that is being spent, and what is it actually being spent on, and where and how does the expenditure travel, and what if anything multiplies its clout?
When Tim Burton tells us that film-making is basically a very expensive form of therapy, everybody automatically thinks money, right? Films cost. But story costs more. And the old school isn’t even up to that yet. They think - they believe - that the real cost of drama is MONEY, so they go on blindly putting bucks before bangs and wondering why all they get is whimpers.
Question is - the question almost no one asks - “How do we maximize the therapy while minimizing the cost?” And the short answer is you can’t. But you CAN change the way you THINK about “the cost”, which means changing the story of what and why and how you conceive of and ultimately realise the film you have in your heart to make. If all you’re thinking about is money, you lose, or at least your investors do, and with galling regularity. Hell, maybe they have money to burn! But maybe the smoke’s making them sick.
Yeah, sure, drama costs, but you can’t buy it with money. To understand what that really means is to start changing the story of what we are doing as film-makers. The small, but revolutionary breed of ‘new’ film-makers - those with the courage and the vision to navigate the subtext and as-yet unexplored interfaces between the new technology and the ancient emotion presenting ‘language’ that is drama, who have cultivated a love and fearlessness for strong, character-driven stories, have learned the hard way that the real cost of making potent screen stories is inexpressible in the lingo of all the accountants and rubber stamps in the world. The payment one makes is much more demanding, more exacting, than coming up with a mere 10 million or 200 million dollars. This of course is still heresy to all those flat-earthers, who are yet to realize that climate change is not only real but applicable to a whole lot more than global warming. The old templates are on the way out. As is the idea of waiting for a revolution, which any storyteller worth a damn will tell you isn’t worth waiting for

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