I didn’t get a chance to write about Marc Andreessen’s recent post related to the writers’ strike, in which he argued that Hollywood needs to become more like Silicon Valley — i.e., more entrepreneurial — but it certainly got me thinking. And now I get to write about it anyway, because an article in the Los Angeles Times effectively reproduces Marc’s argument, comparing the small, entrepreneur-driven approach of the Valley to the indie filmmaker or writer-director whose movie makes it big at the box office.
Patrick Goldstein of the Times makes a persuasive case for how some of the best movies come from independent filmmakers or writers, who are consumed by a dream and find any way they can to make it happen, and how some of those people go on to become Steven Spielberg or George Lucas. And then just when I was feeling all rosy about the whole thing, Steve Bryant of Reel Pop comes along and dashes some cold water on Goldstein’s argument, saying the odds of that happening to a struggling filmmaker or writer are astronomical.
Steve’s point is that marketing your great idea is the one thing that stands in the way of an entrepreneurial would-be filmmaker and glory, and that simply uploading a clip of your film to YouTube isn’t going to be enough to stand out from the mass of dreck that gets spewed out of Hollywood on the average day. And he is probably right.
I would still like to hope (and I think Steve would too) that sheer grit and determination can get you a long way — and there’s no question that the Web has lowered the barriers to being discovered or finding support. But it hasn’t removed them entirely. In other words, being lucky is probably still the best tool you can have in your arsenal.