How to Save Original Films

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How to Save Original Films

This article is not to say that film needs saving, but it is more of one perspective versus another within a web-of-a-battle. There are really only five types of film: fiction, nonfiction, a hybrid that we’ll call cross-fiction (using fiction to portray facts), and a subsection for both fiction/cross-fiction that branches to original or unoriginal variations (based off of a book or not). Beyond those five are the genres that these titles lend their facts or fictions in order to tell a story or supply a setting worth discovering. Of these genres we see all around us, from drama to action to romance, each falls within those five categories. So, which of these genres is winning? Which should be? Why is it the way it is?

The truth is it is unknown what guarantees success in film, because every filmmaker has a particular goal in mind whether it’s box-office success to provide a sequel or payment, award nominations/winnings to get their names out there, or just having fun while doing it (for the love of film). Success sometimes guarantees if these filmmakers get to make another feature, but sometimes this isn’t always achieved which results in a possible gem being sent back to the small canvas. The genre that wins finds success to film another year, while the others recede to background noise. The genre that wins a lot these days include the subjects of fiction/cross-fiction (unoriginal) and non-fiction; it has been pretty obvious for a long time. The reason is because originality is difficult to write and portray. Every artist, inventor, writer, and designer will always find some form of difficulty when confronting the fact that their ideas may have already been accomplished before. It is where many forms of fiction fail to reach for; something new among a sea of potential titles.

That is not to say that the unoriginal or non-fiction films are bad for the business; quite the opposite. Nonfiction, or historical, films provide light to events that society has neglected or forgotten in order to take the values of one time and compare it to the current stance of reality. Most current forms of unoriginal fiction take beloved tales of old and either revamp them for a modern setting or give an image to something that was once only pages for the sake of entertainment and fandom. These films encourage people to find these tales in their original form and critique whether the recreation was worthy. Cross-fiction takes factual events and applies given amounts of fiction to it creating an augmented form of reality that encourages ranges of imagination among the viewers. They are all noble genres for the cause of film, but that is why originality is lacking. So many of these three genres are used so often that it takes away from the chance to do original works.

Film is at a balance between those two subjects of originality and unoriginality, and unfortunately for the former, the other is far ahead. There is not an exact way to fix this power-struggle. We as a society have become so caught up in the past that we continuously look back at it to craft our present and possible futures. Most original film ideas never reach the surface because current, veteran, or past filmmakers get the first call compared to fresh-off-the-block ones. It isn’t saying they are bad; some of the veterans have teamed up with new filmmakers to make original works, such as Steven Spielberg. It would be better if more current-day powerful leaders decided to collaborate with fresh talent and encourage an original work rather than another re-run or adaptation. It takes resources to make films, and some of these leaders have too many resources to work with, so they throw them away. Yes, original pieces are difficult to make, but they break the most barriers and encourage the most change, which is what the industry needs to be doing on a constant level. Change will come and progress, whether for the best or the worst.


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Scott Waldmann

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