This next list was suggested to me by an independent filmmaker. I've only recently begun to dabble in filmmaking from behind the camera, but over the last five years of blogging, I've encountered a lot of independent filmmakers that seem to be carbon copies of one another. Of course no two filmmakers are the same, but many seem to fall into little "groups." By request, I present to you the "10 Types of Indie Genre Filmmakers."
|Here, let me just delete Suzette's dance recital footage and we're ready to take down Hollywood!|
The Delusional Handycam DirectorFound footage respawned in 2007 with PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Sweeping the nation into a fearful frenzy, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY was an independent film made on a very, very low budget of only about $15,000 but made about $200 MILLION. Seeing such a huge success come out of such a simple concept sparked a flame under the ass of independent filmmakers everywhere. You mean I can make a movie with the same camera I use to make home-made sex tapes and become a millionaire?! Everyone is trying to milk the found footage cash cow, and indie directors are under the impression that just because they have a camera, they can make a movie...and expect the same results as PARANORMAL ACTIVITY or THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. I cannot tell you how many times I've gotten a press release from an indie director with the opening description of "If you liked PARANORMAL ACTIVITY you're going to love ____." My suggestion? Stop trying to make lightning strike twice, create your own storm.
|Look at my movie of this kid. I'm the greatest thing you've ever seen. I'm a genius.|
The Self-Proclaimed VisionaryThere is a reason we consider people like Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, and Quentin Tarantino "visionaries." It's because they earned that title with an extensive resume of films that go above and beyond expectations. Emphasis on "extensive resume." If you are making your debut film, do NOT call yourself a visionary. If you are making your debut film, do NOT call yourself "groundbreaking." I don't care how awesome your mom thinks your movie is, do not dilute the honorary title of "visionary" by slapping it on yourself without having anything to back it up. The real visionaries don't even call themselves visionaries, they let the critics and fans say it for them. If you have to keep telling yourself you're a visionary, chances are...you're not.
|Why direct professional actors when I can just direct ME?|
People-Hating EgomaniacEveryone that isn't me sucks! I could hire an actual editor, or a sound designer, or a professional actor, an experienced key grip, and use a script that I didn't write in fifth grade, BUT WHY WOULD I WHEN I CAN DO EVERYTHING!? It's one thing to see a film written/directed/edited/starring/scored/whatevered by someone because they legitimately didn't have the budget and just needed to create. It's another thing when a filmmaker HAS the opportunity to allow people far more skilled in other aspects of production to work on their film, but chooses to wear all the hats because they're a people-hating egomaniac. I get it, you think everyone is stupid. I share this sentiment 90% of the time, but I'll be the first to admit I don't know dick about sound design or lighting and would much rather have someone proficient in these areas do it for me. A film is like your baby, and like most parents, you think you're the only one who can raise it properly. I get that, but if your baby turns blue in the middle of the night, you take it to a doctor because they know better. It's the same concept, people. I know you're scared to let your film be handled by anyone other than you, but if you allow yourself to find a team that you trust with your vision, you'll have a much better product than if you force yourself to do everything alone.
|If they didn't make such good sandwiches, maybe we'd give them a camera. AM I RIGHT, GUYS?!|
The Woman-Hating EgomaniacThe Woman-Hating Egomaniac is much like the director mentioned previously, except they really, really hate women. These people hate women to the point where they objectify them for no other reason than objectification. To them, women are incapable of being behind a camera, and are only worth being in front of the camera if they're willing to do ridiculous things. How am I going to get these women in less clothing? OOH! INSTEAD OF A BOOK CLUB, THEY'RE ALL STRIPPERS! Uh, what? I mean if it makes sense for the story, by all means go for it. However, it appears that a lot of filmmakers and writers are pulling these insta-slutty situations out of thin air just so they can objectify women. I once saw an independent film where the lead character was wearing very revealing clothing throughout the entire film (that took place in the dead of winter.) When I asked him why this costume was selected (he was also credited as the costume designer) he said "because why should I care about a woman in this movie if she's not giving me something to look at?" *face palm* This type of director may seem like a minority, but there are plenty of them that exist and continue to make movies.
The Director Whose Self-Esteem Depends on
"Likes" and FollowersI'm a proud internet junkie, and I admit my ego gets quite the stroking with all of your likes on Instagram, but there are some directors that take this a little bit too far. I know filmmakers that spend hours of their day on some sort of high because their favorite filmmaker responded to them on twitter. I know filmmakers who sink into a depressive state if their film's facebook page doesn't break 1,000 likes in the first 24 hours. I know filmmakers who will sit obsessively on YouTube to watch the "hits" refresh when they release their movies. It's ridiculous. The internet is a very, very powerful tool, but it's not the only thing filmmakers have to their access to get the word out. Enter in festivals, for crying out loud. Your worth or talent is not determined by your viral status.
|Seriously. Look at me.|
The Master of PromotionMuch like the director previously mentioned, this person figured out how to ensure they received those likes and followers by the buttload. These directors figured out how to work the viral system and used it to their advantage. Without a doubt, the best example of this type of director is Jen and Sylvia Soska. Those girls are promotion geniuses. Your opinion of their films doesn't matter, because these girls found a way to market themselves and ensure that they were a household name in independent horror, whether you like their movies or not. Everyone knows them, everyone knows what movies they've made, and everyone knows their face. In terms of promotion, they're geniuses. They could make the world's worst movie and it wouldn't matter, because they'll always find a way to make sure everyone and their brother has seen it (or at least heard of it.)
|Thanks for the 10,000 likes. Here's my fifth teaser trailer!|
The Empty Master of PromotionYou know those people you keep hearing about but still haven't seen a final product? Those filmmakers who keep posting statuses online with vague descriptions like "big things coming ahead for NURSE SLAYERS 2: A SCALPEL A DAY KEEPS THE UNDEAD AWAY!" but you haven't seen anything outside of a half assed teaser trailer that's 80% black with some voice over? This, my friend is the "Empty Master of Promotion." This type of director is exactly like the director above, but without the final product. They're the person we all end up following on twitter because we have 85 mutual followers and we assume whatever they're cookin' up must be impressive...but we never see it.
|Let's sew some people together ass to mouth, BECAUSE I CAN.|
The Shock for Shock's Sake"Tom Six? Pfft. He's a wimp compared to what I've got coming. Let's throw in a rape, some disembodiment, a guy getting his dick cut off and it shoved up his ass, and some DEAD ALIVE style blood coming out of this girl's nipples in the opening sequence. Yeah. That'll grab some attention." I love gore, I really do, but can you give me some substance or reason for the excessive amount of gore? There are so many directors hell-bent on making their film the grossest or nastiest horror film out there, and they completely forget to, I don't know, write a story that goes along with it? The weird thing is that these people tend to be the most sensitive about their film as well. The directors who attack bloggers and scream at them for bad reviews, I've found have been the directors who made a film for shock's sake. I don't know. Weird pattern.
|We're so marginalized, we're in our own category|
The Female DirectorI only included this as a category because female directors are never lumped into any categories previously mentioned, they're always lumped into the same category of "THEY HAVE VAGINAS." Female horror directors are so hard to find that they're always promoted as "FEMALE DIRECTORS." Don't get me wrong, gender inequality in the film industry is a deeply rooted problem, but female directors are far more than just female directors. I'm so sick of people either giving us a break because "it's good for a female director," or giving undeserved slack because "it's from a female director." No. It's a movie from a director.
The Actual Filmmakers Who Are Too Busy Getting Shit Done To Act Like The Other Piss-Poor TypesLuckily we have another group of individuals who direct and make films because it's what they need to do with every fiber of their being. These are the people who only feel complete when they're making a movie. These are the people who couldn't be bothered by the actions of the other "types." These are the filmmakers who make the independent films that we actually get to see and love. If you're making a horror film, strive to be YOU and not one of these categories.