In the recent economic downturn society, both public and private, has had to revaluate its spending which has logically allocated resources away from the creative arts, not out of need but out of necessity. Without going into the philosophies of why, as a species we create art, let us simply say that it’s in our nature .
Considering these two facts modern artists are faced with a looming problem , monetary funds for their creative processes, some fields have a much lower material cost such as painters and writers and thus can still practise their art with minimal monetary funds. Film makers on the other hand are faced with a much steeper cost.
The cost of a days shooting for one or two scenes can be intimidating, considering the rental price of a decent spec camera, sound equipment, hardware, whether or not you’re paying the actors, food, transport etc . its a steep challenge to pull together a high quality piece of cinema without a sizable investment.
In this regard artistic licence can take over, without a large pool of funds to fall back on a creative film maker can improvise with various methods such as splicing home movies and playful recordings amongst friends to tell the story of a certain individual (Exit through the gift shop) or taking a handheld camera and creating an impromptu first person journey( Blair witch project) .
Improvisation can only take you so far however, doubly so when the director has a very specific idea in mind, in this stalemate, a little cash goes a long way, and the forms of funding available to aspiring filmmakers are public and private.
Public funding ranges from government grants to public donations, whereas private investment includes one or a group of investors, businesses or hedge funds.
Now herein lies the problem , whether the aspiring film maker applies for arts council grants, hustles together some cash or gets sponsorship, the true test is not to lose sight of the goal, to tell a story.
Some fine examples of how to lose credibility as a film maker in each of the previously listed investments are as follows
- “The Room” , This film was funded by producer,director and actor Tommy Wiseau who claims to have financed this terrible film by importing and selling leather jackets from Korea. He refuses to further elaborate on this.
- Any film by Uwe Boll. The German film financing board has a lot to answer for.
- Transformers 3 by Michael Bay. Over use of product placement killed any immersion in a film series that had already lost momentum
Realistically film funding is an important aspect of the art of cinema but nowhere near as important as artistic integrity, a single scene can be shot on high definition video or a camera phone and both have the potential to move audiences.