Notebook

“Independent film” brings to mind noble concepts like “integrity”, “vision”, “self-expression” and “sacrifice”. It evokes the image of struggling young filmmakers maxing out their credit cards to pay their actors and crews, who work long hours for little or no compensation because they believe in what they’re doing… Although there is more than a little truth to this conventional notion, it’s important to remember that it’s not the whole truth. Life in the indie world can be nasty, brutish and short. It was once said, if Hollywood is like the Mafia, indies are like the Russian mob. In both cases, the bad guys will cap the good guys, but in Hollywood they do it with a certain degree of finesse – they send a basket of fruit over for your assistant afterward – while the indies just whack you – and your wife and kids for good measure. In the studio world, you’re imprisoned in a gilded cage. In the indie world, you’re in the hole, which is darker, dirtier, and a lot smaller. With less at stake, fewer spoils, little food and water , the fighting is all the more ferocious, and when times are tough, the rats (let’s be nice – the mice) feed on one another. And, because there’s no place to run, there’s neither respite nor recourse. People get away with even worse behaviour than they do in Hollywood.

Peter Biskind, “Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance & the Rise of Independent Film”. 

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