Do We Need Hollywood?

"It's good to experience Hollywood in short bursts, I guess. Little snippets. I don't think I can handle being here all the time, it's pretty nutty."
Johnny Depp


It seems that more and more, I hear of individuals taking it upon themselves to jump into film making. With either formal film school training or not, more people are picking up cameras and learning how to tell their stories. From that, I've seen stories that some might say were too radical for Hollywood. Josh Bernhard and Bracey Smith's Pioneer One showed us one possibility of what might happen of a Russian human native to Mars landed back on Earth. The Platoon of Power Squadron by Pineappleboyfilms takes a different, more down to Earth view of how those with super powers might cope in modern day suburban Chicago.  


As more and more industries find their way online, I find myself questioning the relevance of Hollywood. Of course, there's a long way for studios outside of Hollywood to go (foreign and independent alike), to match up with the status quo for film quality and visual effects. Be that as it may, looking back on 2011, I can't really remember many television shows and movies that thought out of the box. It seems that thinking outside of the box is exactly what the independent creatives are doing. Take a look at this trailer for an independent short film:



Yes, it's just a teaser, but it's something new. Someone decided to take a chance on an idea, and ran with it. Would this have gotten through to financiers in Hollywood? Maybe, maybe not. But the creators David Levy, Hatem Ben Abdallah and Bernard Lyall are financing it through kickstarter.




Do we look to Hollywood to create a standard for film? Or should we embrace how inventive the independent and foreign film makers have to be out of necessity? At this point, there are good and bad things on both sides of the coin. Hollywood being a business, will continue to put out a product that they are fairly confident will sell. Sometimes that boils down to cookie cutter films and catering to a crowd that isn't looking for innovation. Viewers vote with their wallets, which makes me fear that we won't see much creativity come out of Hollywood. It's not every day that someone greenlights an Inception or Super 8, but there will always be room for Transformers and The Green Lantern.


But what about those movies that push the envelope of accepted film making? What about Ink, and The Tree of Life? What about Unknown and The Adjustment Bureau (not independents, I know, but not your average movies, either)? If we as movie-goers continue to patronize the cookie cutter, unimaginative, safe movies coming out of Hollywood, chances are we'll not only miss out on innovative films from those who want to create for the love of the craft, but we also deter future film makers from trying something new. If that means that we won't see the crazy, rough, gritty and beautifully imaginative gems that come from those outside of Hollywood, then I want no part of it.