I go to film festivals from time to time. It helps that I live in LA and there seems to be a plethora of them for every demographic and geographic subsection that is Los Angeles.
I go because when I see a “gem” of a film, I brag to everyone that I saw it before them. Plus, it’s good to support the up and coming artists who will eventually lay siege to the Hollywood establishment.
And there’s all the bad films that one must endure during a film festival circuit.
I just went to one, not too long ago, to see a friend make his debut as an actor (kinda cool — he has a bright future ahead of him).
As I was watching all of these films, I realized that there are certain commonalities that deem an independent film as a bad one. Kinda how like some people say that you can tell that someone you date is a bad because of things you notice in the first five minutes (nervous tics, mention of his appearance on To Catch a Predator (30 Rock and intertexuality babeeeee), etcetera).
To aspiring film makers, please do not put the following in your indepdendent film or it will be crappy:
1. Bad piano music as a soundtrack (composed by your friend).
2. Ugly people as your leads (and I don’t mean like plain, but just kinda repulsive ugly). No one cares about ugly people. That’s why we like to (go to) movies. Because it’s about beautiful people. However, your best best in an independent film is to go that je-ne-se-quai cute route.
3. Shocking sex premise (Sex, Lies, and Videotape was a one shot deal — no one cares in this day of ubiquitous internet porn and the infamous 2 Girls and 1 Cup video).
4. Ambiguous endings. It works for larger serialized works or fully developed features. On a smaller scale it makes it seem like you ran out of money and just copped out.
5. The girl/boy you wanna get down with as your lead. You avoid problem #2, because you avoid the unattractive actor problem, but invariably, acting prowess falls on the wayside. It’s very common to see very very attractice actors in the lead who can’t act for crap. Of course, you may have just cast that person, but most of us in the audience are wondering how much that guy/girl had to put out in order to get the part.
Saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Wow, Cate Blanchett is awesome, even when she is so obviously hamming it up. End of review.