COVID-19 will spark a wave of creative filmmaking

When the pandemic began, the film industry underwent a tremendous loss. Most theatres have closed, and most production crews are too large for shooting to continue normally. However, crews for independent films were less affected due to their smaller crews and increased flexibility. Recent technological advancements have allowed films to be made for less money. Since the budget is lower, so are the stakes, and film companies are freer to experiment. 

In the 1990s, an unheard-of director named Robert Rodriguez wrote, directed and edited his independently produced action film “El Mariachi.” With one month to film and a crew of two people, the film turned out astonishingly well. The careful attention to detail and creative storytelling devices used by Rodriguez made up for the fact that the film cost a mere $7000 to make, less than a tenth of what most Hollywood films cost today. The people and major studios loved “El Mariachi” and many companies were eager to buy it and get Rodriguez on board with them to make more.

Looking back at the past 10 years, the most popular films have been the most expensive and least innovative films. Nine of the top ten highest-grossing films from the 2010s are sequels. Audiences are choosing familiarity over creativity, but it is likely that coming out of the pandemic the studios will begin to vouch for a more independent style since this is likely to be what audiences will be used to, allowing more risks to be taken. 

There may be an unprecedented renaissance of independent filmmaking, and once audiences have tasted fresh ideas, there will be no going back. Even if studios are still controlling the production of most films, they will likely focus on experimenting if they know audiences are liking the new wave of creativity.

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