The Truth About the Film Industry that No One Talks About
Let’s talk about the sad truth of the film industry. Maybe you’re like me and you’ve heard the film industry talk about how ‘the story is the most important thing.’
People in the film world love to say that ‘it’s all about this story.’ And it’s not.
What I’ve discovered is that most people want to believe it is about the story and they don’t want to know the truth. So let me prove it to you. Here’s a couple shows that you may or may not have seen; She-Hulk, Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series The Rings of power, Obi-Wan on Disney. Three Mega shows all with enormous budgets and they are all dumpster fires.
They are absolute garbage. Don’t waste your time. True pieces of crap. Just horrible. And they cost millions and millions of dollars to make these dumpster fires.
If it was actually all about the story, then how in the world did these horrible crappy shows get made?
So if you’re a filmmaker like me chances are that you’ve been to conferences, or you’ve been on YouTube watching things, maybe you’ve attended some webinars, or you’ve gone to some film festivals where they have some speakers and you’ve probably heard them get up and talk about their shows and they usually start with, “well we started with a great story. This was a great story and we just read it we just knew it was great.”
And they loved to use the phrase, “the story is everything.” yeah.
So maybe you did go to these conferences that I attended or you watched the webinars that I’ve gone to, or you’ve watched the YouTube channels that I’ve watched, and you believed this. And so you locked yourself away for months at a time in a room working on your craft, working on your story, just sweating bullets.
So then it’s logical that at that point you thought, ‘hey I have a masterpiece of a script here. I’m just gonna give it to some people, they’re gonna read it, they’re gonna see that this is like the next Hamlet, and therefore it has to get made. Right?’
‘Because somebody’s gonna be like, oh my gosh, this is genius! Let’s put millions of dollars behind it and make it!’
And if you’re like me you are surprised no one calls. Zero people call. No one. No emails. No one shows up at your front door. No money shows up. It’s crickets.
And the worst part is the whole time you actually believed that it was about the story that you’ve been working on.
Go to your nearest Redbox. It’s probably like down the street by grocery store or something like a CVS. Just go to the Redbox and just look at all the artwork that they have on their machine. Just look at all the movies. Ninety percent of the movies that you see there are just pure garbage. If it was all about the story then everything at Redbox should look great because these are the films that are getting distributed right?
But they’re not. They’re garbage. So how did that get full? How did Amazon make rings of power? How did She Hulk ever become a thing?
This business is not about the story. That’s the sad truth. This business is about your personal Network. It’s about who you know.
If I had spent half the time that I have spent working on screenplays to make them better, going
to places and meeting film people, going and talking to people at conferences and film markets, I probably wouldn’t be making this video right now. I’d be too busy playing with my IMAX cameras. Okay. Maybe, maybe not, I don’t know, we will never know.
But that is the truth and it does hurt. I mean I’ve spent so much time working on my craft getting better, making mistakes, doing revisions, and drafts, and so much time studying and reading just every book you can find on writing and story craft – and you know who cares?
The truth is I wish somebody had been nice enough to tell me this like years and years ago but no one did and every conference that I went to they would just say, ‘it’s all about the story. Just make a great story and people are going to show up.’
And that just never happened. It was a dream that was never going to happen. If somebody had been kind enough to tell me this I would have avoided a lot of pain and a lot of struggle.
So the question is; why don’t they just tell you this?
Well I get it. I understand why they don’t just tell you this. People want you to think that they are Master storytellers. Like they are super talented people that they got their movie made because it deserved to get made – because they did it on their own Merit.
They don’t want to say that their movie got made because they knew the right person or because they knew the right people because a that doesn’t sound really cool, it doesn’t make them look really good, and B, if that was the case then all they have to do to help you is introduce you to those people which they’re not gonna do.
If they did introduce you to their people you would become competitors for the same pool of
money and Supply that they have they don’t want you in there. That’s the truth.
(And what if your writing and story craft is actually better than theirs…?)
In this business your potential is literally limited to your network.
So if you have a small network but amazing scripts no one will ever know your name. So if you want to get your movies made then you need to just put your pens down, set it off to the side, and get out there and meet some people. Go to film markets, go to film festivals, go to conferences, meet every single person that you can, build your personal Network.
In the end the people that you build into your network are going to be a lot more valuable to you than you know. That’s the truth.
So the next time you hear somebody say, ‘oh it was all about the story.’ No it wasn’t. They just had a rich Uncle somewhere or they knew Bob Iger.
And that’s it I’m out