I wish it was as simple as aim high, be thoughtful, be ambitious, take some risks, and make a good movie.
I have looked at these 75 problems (yesterday's 38 + last year's list) because I have spent the last 20 years making 60 films. Each of those films is a big choice for me and it is not a business choice (although survival does enter the equation) or ever an easy choice; I make movies because I love the project, the work, and admire the director.
I think most people would classify the majority of my films as art films. 90% of them were also made with at least partial funding from private sources. I am really proud of them on an artistic level. I am also proud of how they've performed for their investors (generally). And every single director I worked with will say they made the movie they wanted, and that inspires me deeply.
It's easy to argue any point I've made on my lists. But I would be surprised if anyone that lives with the films and the process as I do, and looks at the situation we all are in, denies the situation as I've presented it (though they are certainly welcome to, and I am confident that I will learn a lot in the days to come from people's responses).
It is about the art and the appreciation and the world we live in. That's what it is about the business, as business (particularly here in the USA): it facilitates this expensive artform beyond the unique position of a specific individual that can create in isolation. The romance of the isolated artist whose vision can not be denied crushes more great work while spawning self-obsessed navel gazing in droves. We need a structure that supports work from beyond the realm of the privileged.
Anyone who fails to think that everyone's work is interconnected, doesn't live in the real world. If my films don't perform both artistically and business-wise, it will be harder for the next people to make ambitious work. Yes, you can go out and make movies for next to nothing, funded by people who want to support your pursuit of the art and that's going to yield some stuff I know I will love. But it is not going to help us build a sustainable enterprise of diverse, vital, ambitious work or the supportive participatory community that truly appreciates it. Only extending our labor and commitment to an infrastructure rebuild will do those things.
Believe me, I want to focus on the creative first. I spend years developing filmmakers' work without pay or protection. Personally what I think I do best is identify, develop, produce, and deliver such work. But to leave the issues of how we discover, identify, appreciate, promote, present, and expand both cinema and its audiences alone these days, is to dig art film's grave.
You don't need to do it on your own; you just need to make sure you build a team to help do this. If you are reading this, I know you don't want to kill this ambitious film culture, and I look forward to building it better together in the days to come. All the input and suggestions and actions are very inspiring. We are going to get it done -- with a little help from our friends.
Forgive me though, if I happen to take some time out to make some movies along the way...