When I graduated high school, I had a plan to study in America. But because I am from Australia and with the different school calendar years, I had a lot of free time between graduation and going to America. I worked a bit, travelled, did a number of things, but I became fairly bored. However, in that boredom I came up with an idea for a feature film that I was inspired to write. So, I would lock myself in my room and write and write and write. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t know how to format a screenplay. I just wrote. And two weeks later I developed my first feature script. This ignited a fire within me to make films. And since then, I have been doing just that, writing many scripts, making short films and even producing my own feature film (you can find out more about my first feature here). But this journey hasn’t come without its headaches.
Even though I have done quite a lot in film this has also come with a disillusionment of the film industry. Consistently, I would find myself in a scenario where I’m meeting with someone, usually a producer, to talk about working on a project, only for the conversation to go sour. To be fair, all of those projects that I shared with those producers I was attempting to get made because I thought they would make money, or would enable me to build a career. None of those projects were projects that I would say I was proud of, and looking back on it, I’m glad those projects never got made. The whole making films vs. business is a blog for another time. But all of these situations led me to having to do virtually everything myself, which I actually did with my first feature. I did everything except act in that film.
However, it wasn’t those meetings falling through that has led to my disillusionment of the film industry. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. What has bothered me is the general attitude of the people in the film industry, not only the people I have encountered, but also the stories I’ve heard of from other filmmakers. Take for instance the typical conversations that I would have in those meetings. Almost all of them would follow this same pattern:
1) I’d ask them what they thought of my project.
2) They’d go on this long spiel about why the project won’t work.
3) That’s it.
They wouldn’t even ask for my own thoughts. And even worse was when they made a suggestion because their suggestions were terrible. This is not meant to be demeaning. I don’t like to be mean. But I write that their suggestions were terrible because their suggestions don’t work. They simply don’t work. And the evidence proves it. They would suggest to make the film a certain way, which happens to be the same way as every other film being made, without realizing that this trend of making every film like every other film is what is leading the film industry to lose variety and causing viewers to seek other forms of entertainment. And you’d think, especially from a business point of view, as a business, wouldn’t you want to own a product that everyone else wants but no one else knows how to get? And how are you going to do that when all the films that are being produced are like every other film being produced? It’s crazy. They simply believe that films must be made in a certain way without even thinking through what they believe. And my guess as to why the industry thinks the way that does is because everyone else in the industry thinks the way that it does. It’s social proofing at its finest. And this is all just the tip of the iceberg. This consistent scenario doesn’t even take into account all the lies, the broken promises, the overwhelming level of conceit, just the overall lack of integrity that I’ve encountered and heard from other filmmakers. All of this has led me to feel that if you want to make the films and have a film career, the best way to go about it is to not be in the film industry.
Having written all that, I do not feel despair. All of these failed meetings have led me to realize if I wanted to make my own films I’m going to have to learn to produce them myself. And now, I am doing just that. I am producing my own films, and I have an approach that works for me, my sensibilities and my interests, and I don’t need the approval of any of gatekeeper to make a film. I feel that I am in a good place in regards to making and sharing films that inspire me. But then that begs the question:
Why start this blog?
While I am appreciative of where I am at, a part of me would like to have at least some modicum of optimism in film. Not a chaotic optimism that says you can be anything you want to be. That lie comes in droves. But a form of optimism that what I would describe as a level-headed optimism, one that honestly acknowledges the difficulties of making the films you want to make whilst encouraging you to make that film in a practical way. It is this form of optimism that I would like to see injected into film. And I figure, why not be the one to do that?
Now, before I leave you, I am going to answer some questions you might have for the blog:
Q1) How frequently do you plan on writing a blog post?
A: Honestly, not all that frequently. I don’t like the idea of writing a set amount within a certain timeframe because then I’d feel that I’d have to write in order to fulfil that quota instead of simply writing something because I am inspired to write it. Plus, I feel that I can go more in depth on a subject by writing without a deadline, which I prefer. So, I don’t know how often I’d be writing.
Q2) Why a blog? Why not share your thoughts in video? Or via a podcast? Or any other medium?
A: I have thought about using other formats, however, I find that writing helps me to structure and, in turn, focus my thoughts in a way that other mediums don’t allow me to. With video and podcasting, for example, I feel that I can go all over the place and for what I’m doing, I feel that structure is valuable. Hence, why The Film Circle is a blog.
Q3) Who is this blog for?
A: It is for the 3 naturally talented individuals who have a uniqueness about them that is roaring to come out and who can’t help but make films but who are also fed up with the state of the film industry and are exploring alternative ways to making the films that inspire them that come with less resistance.
Q4) Do you plan on having other writers contribute to your blog?
A: At this point, no. If this blog does happen to take off – whether or not the blog does take off has little to do with me, to be honest – the reason why it took off was probably because readers were interested in what I had to write. It wouldn’t make sense to then add more writers to the blog for the sake of writing more when the value the reader got was from what I had written. So, I doubt it.
Q5) How can we be notified as to when you’ve posted the next blog?
A: The best way is to follow me on my own socials, which you can find at the bottom of my website: ewenmunro.com
Q6) How can we support the blog?
A: You can support the blog by sharing it and/or donating via my website: ewenmunro.com/donate