American Cinema: The Film School Generation
According to Franqois Truffaut, director, Jules and Jim: “There are two kinds of directors: those who have the public in mind when they conceive and make their films, and those who don’t consider the public at all. For the former, cinema is an art of spectacle; for the latter, it is an individual adventure. There is nothing intrinsically better about one or the other; it’s simply o matter of different approaches.”
Sometimes people treat film art as opposed to film as a business. This split is related to the issue of entertainment, since entertainment generally is sold to a mass audience. Novels good, bad, or indifferent are published because publishers expect to sell them. Painters hope that collectors and museums will acquire their work. Films are no different. Some movies are made in the hope that consumers will pay to see them. Others are funded by patronage (an investor or organization wants to see the film made) or public monies. Even if you decide to make your own digital movie, you face the problem of paying for it – and you may hope to earn a little extra for all your time and effort.
In the end of the sixties and beginning of a new decade, a pack of brash young mavericks, or sometimes called blockbuster makers – Francis Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Brian De Palma and others – tried to revolutionize the way American films were made and appreciated. The segment explores the financial and cultural forces that made their success possible; the influence of classical Hollywood genres, new technology, and the French New Wave on their work; and their continuing evolution as idiosyncratic film makers with commercial clout.
The sixties directors are mixed of USC, UCLA and non-film major schools. Like for example, Steven isn’t a film major, Lucas – USC Film School, Coppola – UCLA Film School, Scorsese – New York Film School, etc. Everyone have their own style, concept and principles. Francis Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Brian De Palma are the blockbuster makers in their time – them who never thought that they would fit in the industry saying Hollywood is so big and special. All have their own principles in directing. Now, the question falls whether who directs for public and who directs for himself?
George Lucas is the first one to spend his own money in making a film. Palma started in student filming aiming for more. While Milius said that he don’t need big budget, what he needed is to explore, be inspired, and look for natural resources. At that time, students are in the chaos between success and bankruptcy. Schrader talked that at that time directors feared what the people what to see because it is also the start of New Age and the Revolution, where everything is expected to be new and unexpected.
Scorsese open his own studio opening doors for many people and chances behind the camera. While Coppola wanted to own everything – the camera, lights, sound, editing… all of it. He brought a studio; he has money, ideas, dreams, imagination and all. He was also the first to sign with Warner Bros in making a film and received a large amount of money.
As the New Age starts, the directors keep saying, “This is not a film about the future, it is a film from the future”. And there, Lucas received a project where he got to make a love scene. He said that it was a lifetime opportunity that why he will do it. While it was American Graffiti that hit a massive million hit with its story development and excellent script writing.
Martin got money in making films. Milius discovers, absorbs influences and centers of personal things to make films. Schrader mentioned that know things because it is what you will consider in making films.
Lucas and Spielberg came from a Middle American point of view; they also make movies that would move everybody. They wanted to have an effect while Coppola is very committed and uses his personal nature. Coppola, Lucas and Spielberg are the dominant forces of Hollywood for a number of years.
Steven Spielberg came from television but sees it as a work not an art so he was captivated by films; he mentioned that he wants to make films but in the end became the biggest movie maker of all time.
Lucas made Starwars with low-budget and made it with friends but it was a blockbuster. Palma is always experimental, saying to always follow your muse and if you plan to open in many theaters, then plan more. Martin says that, in those times films are expected to make beyond economic level and sell like Jaws and Godfather but then realized that he cannot make it. Coppola’s Godfather was unbelievable successful.
Spielberg said that it was very difficult to start with no money, with the success of Starwars he don’t have the energy to direct it once again so he became the E.P. He also said that those times they (directors) were ambitious, single and in love with films. Well, they are still in love but because of circumstance like families and all they have to divide and fraction it. It was like when before you work for public; now work for yourself (and family).
Martin said that if you know it won’t sell then out your budget down because films should make money.
Schrader said that keep working for interesting good films even that means working on lower budget because that is what’s important. Believes that each will always be part of Hollywood and, should live with it.
Palma said as we grow old there is more struggles and you will be in the position like should I eat the fish or let the fish eat me. Well there is no like a fish eating you, so it was have the money.