Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Begin fight!

The relative merits of quantity and quality are debated all the time, but it's obvious that quantity will win in the end, simply because quantity outnumbers quality. Then again, maybe quantity and quality obey the One-at-a-Time Attack Rule.

People often point out that the movie industry is a really insane business. Given most of the stories you hear about this or that project happening (or almost happening), it seems like a statistical miracle that any movies get made. And yet they do, which brings up the question: Is it really that hard to get a movie made?

It depends what your definition of "movie" is. Most people, when they think of a movie, think of your average Hollywood few-dozen-million-dollar budget handful-of-A-listers whatever-thon. But there's a lot of other movies out there. B-movies, C-movies, all the way down to the stuff that's so far below grade Z we have to start borrowing Cyrillic letters to label them. Hundreds, nay, thousands of these are churned out every year, and most people never even hear of them. They get no theatrical release or advertising; you might see one on the shelf at a video store, if you're still into that kind of "shopping in a physical store" thing. Netflix might have 'em.

Is it a miracle that these movies get made? No. Vanishingly small budgets put together on the backs of a hundred favors owed to a putative director, that's what these movies thrive on. Loaded with probably gratuitous sex and violence, they can actually make some money in foreign markets. Or on Netflix, where some people are inexplicably willing to check out random zany comedies with scripts written in two weeks, and shot in one.

Getting a movie made isn't that hard. Getting a movie made at one of the major Hollywood studios, that's hard. But they aren't the only game in town; they're just the biggest, and get the most attention.