The landscape of filmmaking has changed more in the last decade than perhaps in its entire existence. Film has always been a progressive art by virtue of its tight bonds with technology, but this more recent era of change has had, and will have much farther reaching consequences for filmmakers than ever before.
Its source is no great mystery; the internet has blown business, art, and communication wide open in a way that society has yet to fully understand. In a mere 20 years the internet has radically transformed the way we do almost everything, and despite a few detrimental aspects, it has given filmmakers everywhere more power and opportunity than they could ever accumulate under the old system.
T’was a cruel vocation to make film once upon a time, with major studios numbering in the single digits, most of them converged on the American West Coast, it was nothing short of a fairytale endeavor to be allowed access into the fantastical world of cinema, never mind the costs of even just playing on that level. There have always been independents in the industry, but the means of production and big studio stranglehold over distribution and movie screens had in a way almost guaranteed virtual anonymity to anyone on the outside.
The advent of the internet as an unparalleled platform and communication hub has affected these particular aspects of cinema most significantly; simply put, we now have the power to watch anything at any time. for filmmakers this has shocking implications as we have seen with the success of the Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, District 9, Red State and a great number of other runaway hits that were made possible through the sheer harnessing of the internet’s potential.
Now more than ever the tools are there for any aspiring filmmaker to step out of the shadows and make his/her voice heard in a credible way while retaining unprecedented control over the product.
Together with the mass availability of recording equipment, low-cost editing solutions, and a global audience that is now reachable from your pocket, the internet is fast becoming the New Hollywood and the industry big whigs are starting to notice. Filmmakers are more numerous today than at any other time in history with many new voices having access to the dialogue than before. We are seeing the emergence of a true “global cinema” that isn’t stifled by overbearing American industry dominance, and these films are beginning to look just as good if not better in terms of production values.
There is every reason to be excited if you’re a filmmaker in the 21st century.