Richard Linklater and Small Filmmaking
Cinema & New Media Arts | On Jun 04, 2013
NoFilmSchool highlights an interview with director Richard Linklater on his small productions:
From the sounds of things, the characters were pretty much the only things that changed about these movies, while the style of production stayed much the same. What did change on the production side of things was where such films fit (or didn’t fit) in the big scheme of the industry. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Linklater discusses the industry trends changing around the consistency of the Before… trilogy.
“It’s hard to believe that when “Before Sunrise” came out in 1995, it was a studio production.
It is a statement of how the industry has changed. Nineteen years ago when we were headed off to Vienna to do that, we were financed from Columbia Pictures through Castlerock with a $2.7 million budget. The fact that a studio would even bother with something like that now is just laughable. Nine years later, we were at Warner Independent, which is the indie division of a studio. Same $2.7 million budget, by the way, nine years later, but it was kind of an industry indie. Now, we were completely equity financed. We didn’t have any industry connection in the financing of this movie whatsoever.
Are you shocked how much the industry has changed?
Not really. In its current form, of course, it has changed so much. What happened somewhere along the way — and I lived through this, because I got films like this made… They’ve figured out these bigger films are the smartest investment of their time and energies. That’s freed things up. You used to spend a lot of time trying to get studios to say yes or no. Now, you don’t even take certain kinds of films to the industry. I don’t waste anyone’s time saying, “I have this small film about this.” You don’t even bother them with it because you know they’re not going to be interested. It’s not their business. There are a couple of different businesses here within the realm of film.”
There’s much more to the full interview regarding Before Midnight over at the Huff Post, but I found this (slightly abridged) section to be particularly interesting in a more general way. Major studios avoiding very small, quiet productions is nothing new, especially in recent years. Linklater’s attitude towards this present state of affairs, on the other hand, is fantastic: instead of looking at it cynically, Linklater accepts it rather freely — and pleasantly — as a mutually beneficial time-saver for big studios and independent filmmakers alike. After all, why bother beating around the bush pedaling a product to a totally uninterested market? Instead, why not get straight to looking for private investors who may actually be enthusiastic for such material?
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