I just stumbled across an interesting interview The Believer magazine conducted with Steven Soderbergh whilst browsing around Jason Kottke’s blog. He talks about a few different things ranging from Brokeback Mountain to films of his that failed like Kafka. But the bit that stuck out for me was how cheaply films he thinks films can be made for and the problems they face getting distributed:
BLVR: When you shot Bubble, how much did the camera cost?
SS: It’s like four thousand dollars. You could do the whole thing for ten thousand dollars.
BLVR: How much did Bubble cost altogether?
SS: One point six million. Because I paid people. There’s a tipping point. If you’re going to make a movie for ten thousand you can talk everybody into doing it for free. You could make a really good-looking movie right now for ten grand, if you have an idea. That’s the trick. I was watching Alphaville this weekend, and I’d love to do like a ten-minute version of Alphaville here in Manhattan. It’s so easy now. I don’t know what the ultimate result of that will be—whether you’ll see a sort of a film version of iTunes, where you can access things that have been made independently by people.
BLVR: Books, as well—you can self-publish your book easily, have them ship boxes of the book to you, but there’s no vetting process.
SS: You’re right. But then the question is—whose vetting process is this, and who are these people? A buddy of mine, I went and saw his art at DUMBO, and I asked him why his shit wasn’t showing in the big New York galleries. And he said he can’t get in there, he doesn’t know anybody. It’s just the way it works. Your response to that can be “Fuck them, I don’t need the imprimatur of a bunch of Manhattan gallery owners to know that I’m good,” and you’d be right. But if you’re a painter and you want people to know who you are and recognize your work, you’ve got to build some long-term value, you’re beholden to this cabal. I don’t know where the middle point is—“I can’t find anyone to vouch for the legitimacy of this thing that somebody’s asking me to download”—and access that’s being controlled by a bunch of people who, it’s possible, if you met, you’d actually hate.
I wonder if he is making an oblique analogy between New York gallery owners and Hollywood studios?