Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Different standard for 'indie filmmakers'?

An artsy-fartsy friend of mine took me to task for being too harsh on the "indie" films I review for this page. Her take is that there needs to be a different standards for "studio films" and "indie films."

Given that many of the films I've reviewed here fall into the category of "indie" films ("White Zombie", for example, qualifies as an "indie" film), I considered her point. And then I dismissmed it.

Calling yourself an "independent filmmaker" is not an excuse to make a crappy movie. If you have a budget of $1.95, you can still have a decent script and you can still have a movie that's technically sound, if you know what you're doing. You may even be able to have decent actors, if you don't cast your girlfriend as the lead. Calling yourself an "independent filmmaker" is also not a rationale for attempting effects and stunts that your budget can't handle... whether you've got $1.95 or $1.95 million dollars, you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish with the tools and talent at your disposal.

I think it's right and proper to judge "studio films" and "independent films" on the same level, so long as one is considering first and foremost certain things that every movie has, no matter how it's made.

Incompetent and bad filmmaking should be judged harshly no matter who is doing it.

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