Recently, at the Black List Blogs, we asked the question:
“What’s the one thing you would change about movies?”
And you had answers for us — clever, funny, daring and passionate answers. It was extremely hard to narrow the field down to five winners, but we’ve finally done it. The following answers represent the most interesting and entertaining responses, as judged by Scott, Franklin and myself. Some of them are practical; some wildly impractical. I don’t even happen to agree with all of them. But that’s what makes them so interesting!
Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, your winners.
1. By Stephen H:
“Bring back the sense of play and wonder in cinema.
When I watch Citizen Kane, Breathless, or even Stranger Than Paradise I get the feeling that the filmmakers are discovering something about the medium and about themselves. This is true not just of the director, but also of the actors, the director of photography, and likely everyone involved. There is a sense of wonder, and of play.
We live in an era where you can make a movie on a camera that you can balance on one hand and buy for less than $2000, and that movie looks good enough to put on the big screen. By all rights the door has been opened to all of us, Yet we see more repetition and unimaginative filmmaking than ever before.
Bring back the sense of wonder—let’s play. Let’s do things no one has ever done before. I’d love it if a genie could inject that mindset into the studios, Hollywood filmmakers, and distributors.”
2. By Daniel Wasserman:
“Regarding what I would change about movies, here’s my crackpot scheme -
Democratize the movie industry, the whole shebang from development through theatrical release. Level the playing field for all films and give the people what they want by actually letting them decide what films are made and how they’re marketed.
Here’s how it shakes down: people vote online for the most striking log-lines. The core concepts that get the most traction are fast-tracked into development – scripts written, director & actors attached, money raised, etc. Having a trackable pre-screenplay audience certainly wouldn’t hurt a film’s chances at actually getting produced and distributed!
Then the film is made. (This part should not be democratized. As a mentor of mine used to say, “a horse, by committee, is a zebra.”) From there, during the pre-release marketing phase, every film is given the same chance to build their audience. Every release receives equal time for their trailers/tv spots/billboards, etc. So – instead of getting peppered with TV spots for Green Lantern every time you turn on the tube, you’d have the TV spot for the “bloated budget, anemic story line” superhero flick right next to a spot for Winter’s Bone, or some obscure, wildly gripping film that normally wouldn’t have a chance to build an audience because it never really even makes it out the gate.
So? Let the best films win… plain and simple.
It’s like political campaign reform; if candidates can’t outspend one another, they can’t be bought and aren’t forced into forging soul-sucking alliances that ravage their integrity. If films can’t outspend one another in marketing to buy their way into ‘winning the weekend’ then they have to sink or swim based solely on — wait for it — THEIR QUALITY ALONE.
Wow. Wouldn’t that be nice? So to wrap up:
1 – Log-lines voted on to determine what films get made.
2 – Movie made.
3 – Equal exposure for all films when the marketing phase comes around.
Hmmm… democratizing the development process, films rising or falling on their quality alone. Kind of sounds like the Black List, but for everyone. Maybe I really am on to something here… “
3. By Darcy Fitzpatrick
“I would abolish the rating system. The fact that filmmakers actually make changes to the action, dialogue and story of their films just to make the grade their producers are after in order to qualify for one target audience or another, as is often the case when skirting the R/PG13 line, kills me.
And it’s killing cinema.
Which in turn is killing culture. Movies are the great melting pot of the arts, where all forms of culture combine to express themselves in harmony for the largest possible audience. The ratings system disrupts that harmony. It interferes with the ultimate expression of culture and how it is ultimately received by audiences. By everyone, really, because that’s who watches movies.
So I say do away with it. Allow filmmakers to make the films they intend, and give audiences the freedom to evaluate their appropriateness them for themselves.
We live in a connected world. If people don’t like what they see, they can share it with their vast social network in a tweetstant. Word gets around. Those who choose to cover their children’s ears or place blinders upon themselves will still be allowed to do so. They’ll all be duly warned. And the films themselves will go unaffected, remain true to themselves.
Culture will be given the freedom it requires. Cinema, the freedom it deserves.”
4. By Caitlin Podiak
“I want to see more movies with smart, funny, thoughtful scripts about female protagonists doing something interesting that is unrelated to romance.
My dream is to have my own production company so I can help make that happen for real.”
5. By Teddy Pasternak
“Why do all movies cost the same to see in the theatre? Wouldn’t it be great if we could pay less for a ticket to a movie that cost $5M to produce than for a movie that cost $200M? Seriously, I think more people would go see low budget films and I’m sure that Avatar 2 will not lose a single audience member if they charged a couple dollars more.”
Stephen wins a book from Focal Press and a year’s subscription to Filmskills.com, worth $399.
Daniel wins a book from Focal Press and a $100 AmEx gift card.
Darcy, Caitlin and Teddy each win a brand new book from Focal Press.
Congratulations to our winners! If they’re reading: I don’t have email addresses for all of you, so please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll put you in touch with Focal to receive your prizes.
So what does everyone think of these answers? There’s plenty of fodder for discussion here, and I’d like to hear what you think!