More conversation on “The Conversation”

It seems that my kickoff speech at “The Conversation” had at least one comment that seems to be causing some distress. I said (quoting a business school professor) that “film has never been a business…it’s a hobby.” Let me clarify why I brought this up, and perhaps it will ease some of your minds. 

First, I WAS QUOTING SOMEONE ELSE. As much as I don’t mind being provocative, this was the point of view of a third party, who was not judging the individuals in the room, but was making an observation that the creation of content has never been a good, consistent business…a hard concept to argue with.

My point in bringing it up was that as much as my entire life has been a quest for a business model that reconciles my urge to promote quality work with a need to make money, that goal has been nothing if not elusive. The biggest challenge we face as filmmakers and marketers is sustainability.

I also made another point, which is that success can only be measured relative to what you really want. The majority of serious filmmakers that I know are making films for reasons other than making money. They are expressing themselves through their art, or making a political point, or both. Does that constitute a hobby? Perhaps that’s too pointed a word. Some people have complained that it makes it seem frivolous.  Again, it wasn’t my word.

Listening throughout the day to the various panels and speakers, I don’t see a clear through line to some new dawn. I see a lot of cross-currents that make me feel that such conversations are important, as much for batting around new ideas as for some kind of reality check.

I’ll have more thoughts about the cross-currents I was feeling, but that is for another day. Feel free to comment after the jump.

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One Response to More conversation on “The Conversation”

  1. Kat Rohrer says:

    I was present at “The Conversation” and heard your opening remarks and although I have not been aware of the controversy surrounding your remark, I don’t quiet understand it. To me, as a filmmaker and director, it is quiet comforting to think that filmmaking is less of a buisiness and more of a “hobby”. I actually don’t mind this decription at all. Although we all need and want to make a living in this industry we also need and want to express ourselves and to me even more importantly I want to enjoy what I do. Sure filmmaking is hard work, grueling really, sometimes even painful, since it is so personal, but if you are doing it for the right reasons, and that to me is because you love it, need to express yourself and simply can’t imagine doing anything else, you will love it. So if I can make a living and be fullfulled by exercising my ‘hobby’ then that’s absolutly fine with me. So, I think the comment by these two gentlemen was not disrespectful or condesending but rather true and maybe a little enviouse.

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