Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jessica Mae Stover: What the hell happened to art?

Through recombined excerpts from various interviews/videos, JSto explains the ethos of Artemis Eternal:
I love movies so much. If we could make a film that was pure, for once. Finding a new way to produce, distribute and exhibit film.
When you’re breaking new ground, you can’t just be like, “Oh, it’s like this other thing”… no one’s ever done it.
What makes me sort of a different presence here is: Man, what the hell happened to art?!
So much press was like, “why don’t we know about this project?”.
Artemis Eternal: The film, to me, is a story that is about the limitations that society puts on the individual, what’s your breaking point and how do you react to that.
Which is kinda meta, given what we’re doing with the project... which is very indie.
I sort of see it as a renaissance, we’re hoping for in filmmaking.
It’s a way of life, it’s a philosophy.
Maybe it’s counter to your philosophy—as it is to mine-- to want to sell people things they don’t need, that will end up in land fills.
Maybe you would actually like to make money off of creating art—which is your job. Maybe you don’t want to be in the advertising business.
When you’re an artist, you don’t want to deal with business.
The business nuances are incredibly difficult.
You need to understand a defunct system to make it work, and that took me a lot of research. If you’re not willing to do that, I say you’re not ready.
The overall project is a cross platform film project. The way we’re funding the film: instead of going to studios-- who don’t make original films anymore, specifically not original sci-fi/fantasy—you just don’t see that very often, if at all-- we went straight to the audience. It is the first ever community funded film.
More people doing less, contributing small amounts of money.
What we’re really talking about is a lifestyle: look at what you do have over what you don’t.
We went straight to our audience—who we dub Wingmen, we call the contributors WINGMEN. Inviting new people to join the community, then we’ll cut it off and push into production. We have this great community of people, and we’re making kick-ass art. We’re essentially creating new content with them.
It really is a community project, and people really are pulling their weight, ‘cause I’m one person. They’re always helping us kind of spread the word, and share the story, and connect with press.
It’s great when the audience has your back, it feels like you can do anything. I have a very romantic point of view. Beyond building the world of the film, I have to build, like, the infrastructure around how we’re making it.
The great thing about good sci-fi/ fantasy is that is it’s philosophy, and it’s basically a metaphor for what really happening. It’s a good way to question.
I just try to create good stories and hope they resonate.

There are a lot of people who would be into what we’re doing, but how do you reach them without a marketing budget?
When you’re working at a professional level, but you don’t have a budget… you’re screwed.
You can make the most brilliant thing in the world. And that “if you build it, they will come” thing isn’t true. That’s because you need a marketing budget. Everything is propaganda.
There is so much noise, it actually costs more to cut through the muddy waters and get your message out there.
Short films, there’s not really a market for them; you don’t really make money off of it.
So it’s like social philanthropy.
I kind of started where everyone is trying to get. Like, this doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to work this way. You can’t make films this way.
I wanted to start a project that didn’t have any studio or advertising involvement, and to see if, like, it was really possible to create something that was kick-ass and beautiful, that could be prestigious, and also be commercial.
Hollywood doesn’t make movies anymore, they make licensing platforms.
Once I found out how that system works, the studio system, I was like, “ok, do I want to work like that or no?”—NO. OK, what do I do now?
And I think it’s possible, but I basically feel like there’s a huge status quo going on, and it’s not going to be changing. I guess my hope would be, as we’re talking about a lot of these topics, to kind of be thinking outside of the box a little more, and not just accept the fact that that we have to be talking about studios and advertising.
Storytelling fills a basic human need.
More people go to the movies than go to church. You’re consuming story, consuming media… it should mean something.
And if it’s something as sacred and important to us as that, then why is it ok to watch ten commercials before a movie when you’ve paid for a ticket?
Why does it have to come from the studios? And why does it have to involve advertising?
I really don’t see why people aren’t focusing more on that [movie-going, cinema] experience.
Improving things you’ll never be able to duplicate, like theater experience.
As professionals, and as audience members, start really thinking about what storytelling and content means, what it means to us socially.
I just think there is a larger philosophy at play here, and I would urge you all not to take all the studio and advertising stuff at surface level.
As an artist, when I go to a site like Massify, when you do that, you’re setting yourself up as another Gatekeeper. Which is not what I wanted to do at all.
I, personally, would not want to be working through a gatekeeper, and I wouldn’t want to be a gatekeeper. I want to be working directly with my fans. I want to do things my way, and I don’t want to be limited.
I want to, with it, create a way that is different, that will allow other people to get their stuff made, if they’re working at a quality level. Giving film makers who have earned it to control the project more, and to get things done.
It’s not going to change the way a major studio makes films, but it will provide another avenue.
A non-zero sum philosophy of film making—which is completely opposite of how anything is done in the film industry. Someone wins, someone loses—usually it’s us (the audience) ‘cause we’re still paying for them (bad movies).
I wanted to create a business model that—and a case study that not only would yield an awesome movie that people would love, and something high minded, and to also confront things like media consolidation, when you have six companies controlling everything you’re seeing. To the artist, what’s important is they do not get tied up in the system. There needs to be an opportunity to not do that.
Let’s get organized and get it done.
All we have to do is hit our fundraising mark, crew up, and we shoot…
You wanna come?
No Wimps.

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