Over the years as I was exposed to films of different variety, I found a deep affinity for “B” movies and the actors that bring them to life. Most people will tell you I have poor taste or that I do it for a laugh, not to say that in some cases this is incorrect. Some movies are just horrible enough to laugh at, but at the same time these non-studio films are sometimes the best place to find original stories. I realize that most of these films don’t have the polish and shine of the big budget Hollywood films but that’s a part of their charm. For me as an amateur filmmaker, this is an exciting time with the availability of camera equipment and editing software at reasonable prices more people can tell the stories they want even without the backing of big studios. Hollywood has made a few good films over the past few years, but how many original ideas have you seen? The horror genre (which I favor) has become plagued with remakes and the never ending sequels (not that I won’t go see Scream 4 when it hits). There have been a few original stories put out there and they have been relegated to perhaps a one week release before winding up on the aisle of your nearest entertainment procurement place (i.e. Red Box, Blockbuster, Best Buy, what have you). Others are automatically pressed into DVDs and sent for rental and sale.
I understand that Hollywood is a business and I also understand that ticket sales have gone up over the past few years because of 3D more than the quality of the movie. The only place that I find new ideas appearing more frequently is children’s films (be they based on books or original ideas). Pixar and Dreamworks both have done good jobs telling new stories that are worth telling. But I digress (got lost on a tangent there), back to my main point, if you want substance over flash, I recommend checking out an independent film. Not all of them are gold, some are put out to merely capitalize on recent Hollywood releases but these are generally easy to spot. So go with a careful eye, but go and see if you can find a film in your genre that you did not hear about in theaters and see if you can find something that does not sound identical to most of the other movies in the genre. The production value may be low but that does not mean the story is inferior.
If you want the spectacle of the Hollywood film then by all means go and check those out there is value in them. You’ll see really good effects and “A” list celebrities, but not being on that “A” list does not mean that a person cannot act as well. Hollywood is becoming more and more cookie cutter and with the recession we find ourselves in, filmmakers are finding fewer and fewer people to finance projects. So pick up one of those “B” movies and try and make it through the low production value and find the gem at the heart of the movie. Because even with the biggest budget if your story is crap your movie will be crap but a good story can make a film with a shoe string budget shine even more.