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Archive – And now, a soliloquy

October 11, 2007

Claire Wolfe recently wrote about a movie called Uncivil Liberties – she didn’t classify the film as being “great” but did classify it as being “good” for an amateur production. She ends the review on a note about people in the film & video communities and how some of us do understand that, from a freedom standpoint, we’re all in this together. (Sadly, she’s retired from the public eye for now – you’ll just have to take my word about what she said).

Now, I haven’t seen the movie yet (got it on Netflix queue, though) but I’d just like to talk about the problems inherent in filmmaking (let alone pro-liberty ones).

Making a film of any length is a monumental undertaking (even solo filmmakers, working by themselves, can take months to do their stuff), as monumental as a writer staring at a blank computer screen and trying to fill it (and perhaps worse, since a writer, at first, doesn’t have to worry whether or not there’s money in the budget to make something happen). The sacrifice (both financial and personal) of the primary filmmakers – not to mention the contributions of the actors- three and a half years! to get the project done. Not really unheard of in the circles I run in – my own feature took about a year and a half to do. To hold that sort of commitment over that amount of time takes a special breed. (And what a nightmare continuity must have been)

Further: the old adage is You make your first film so you can make your second. I suspect that’s why political dramas aren’t made more often – there’s (in my opinion) less money to be had in that sort of film since it’s difficult to market. With a horror or action film, you’ve got something on the DVD cover that will push a particular “button” with a viewer without having to do much work at all. More difficult with political stuff (probably why “floating heads” appear so much on DVD covers – even easier to sell a particular actor than a simple concept like an action film.)

Which brings me around to the pro-freedom aspect. I suspect that films like this one aren’t made more often is due to fear of not profiting from all your effort, rather than fear of the status quo. Going bankrupt is powerful incentive to try for the lowest common denominator, and when it’s your future on the line, you may just decide to screw principle.

Note that I’m not knocking the makers of Uncivil Liberties, far from it. My hat’s off to them for putting forward the effort of making a feature of any sort and getting it distributed. And if it’s entertaining, still more accolades should be given them (and I should know – I suspect my feature, well, stinks – and why that is will be discussed at a later date, thanks).

I can’t wait to see this now…

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