|Stick around, Steven|
Soderbergh: "So that’s sort of the hum that I’m talking about and I mention this because I think it’s having an effect on all of us. It’s having an effect on our culture, and I think it’s having an effect on movies. How they’re made, how they’re sold and how they perform."
- Of course films are a reflection of the times we live in - look at any of the bygone decades. That's where we are, that's the reality - this reality will of course color the films we make, they will be colored by our experiences, by our upbringing, by our evolving culture. The "hum" he's talking about, is something they'll see in the films made in our times. That's neither good nor bad, it simply is.
Soderbergh: "So what I finally decided was …art is simply inevitable. It was on the wall of a cave in France 30,000 years ago, and it’s because we are a species that’s driven by narrative. Art is storytelling, and we need to tell stories to pass along ideas and information, and to try and make sense out of all this chaos."
- "Art is storytelling", yes. And storytelling will remain essential, always. Hollywood - the studio system - is just one of the many channels we can and should use to share our stories.
Soderbergh: "... a movie is something you see, and cinema is something that’s made."
- The way Soderbergh continues on this he suggests that "movies" are mainstream and less worthy, whereas "cinema" is what studios don't want, artistic expression. Baloney in my view. Call it cinema, film, movie, whatever - some of what he would call "movies" are absolute classics of filmmaking - popcorn mainstream and all. Some of what he'd call "cinema" is "auteur film" - directorial visions with no regard for an audience (and hence, no audience). This is pure semantics - it is about film as the storytelling medium, pure and simple.
Soderbergh: " ... the problem is that cinema as I define it, and as something that inspired me, is under assault by the studios and, from what I can tell, with the full support of the audience. The reasons for this, in my opinion, are more economic than philosophical, but when you add an ample amount of fear and a lack of vision, and a lack of leadership, you’ve got a trajectory that I think is pretty difficult to reverse."
- No doubt everyone in the film industry would agree. Probably even studio executives would do so (on condition of anonymity, of course). It's always easier to keep doing what you've been doing - what studios do is understandable, if unfortunate. But "difficult to reverse" means it's possible - someone like Soderbergh, instead of bowing out, should use all his clout to open new doors from without and within. He goes on to say that the pie for independents is shrinking more and more (despite the fact that they make a lot more movies and the studios almost 30% less) ... so fight for the pie, even the odds, find new ways - that's absolutely worth fighting for. He references Steve Jobs ... maybe Soderbergh could find those new ways and be the Steve Jobs of filmmaking - someone who's revolutionized the system. Now that'd be something worth sticking around for, wouldn't it, Steven?
Soderbergh: "There are fewer and fewer executives that know movies. So it can become a very strange situation. I mean, I know how to drive a car, but I wouldn’t presume to sit in a meeting with an engineer and tell him how to build one, which is what you feel like when you’re in these meetings. You’ve got people who don’t know movies, don’t watch movies for pleasure, deciding what movie you’re going to be allowed to make. That’s one reason studio movies aren’t better than they are, and that’s one reason that cinema, as I’m defining it, is shrinking."
- If that's the case, that's unacceptable. Any studio executive should have a proven love for film. Best way would probably to have them be tested by Quentin Tarantino. If an exec can successfully go film-lore-toe-to-toe with QT - he's allowed to stick around.
Soderbergh: " ... in my view, in this business, which is totally talent-driven, it’s about horses, not races. I think, if I were to run a studio, I’d just be gathering the best filmmakers I could find and sort of let them do their thing within certain economic parameters."
- Nice thought - personally I've always liked the old studio system. Sounds like he would see it going back to the 30-50s. But in this day and age? The system would have to be restructured completely. More likely would be that the Soderberghs of the industry all set up their own value chains from production to distribution to actual cinemas.
Soderbergh: "... why are you always remaking the famous movies? Why aren’t you looking back into your catalog and finding some sort of programmer that was made 50 years ago that has a really good idea in it, that if you put some fresh talent on it, it could be really great. Of course, in order to do that you need to have someone at the studio that actually knows those movies."
- If studios don't have such people on board, they should definitely go with Soderbergh's idea. Good old TV and B-movie mining would net them a wealth of ideas with huge potential.