The term “independent” has several different meanings today. Filmmaking has really taken a technological leap forward and significantly changed the way films are made in just the last 20 years. Due to the large volume of inexpensive high end digital film equipment available at the prosumer and consumer level independent filmmakers are no longer dependent on major studios to provide them with the tools they need to produce a film. With the falling cost of technology, thousands of small production companies can obtain the resources they need to produce entertaining films at a fraction of the cost of the big Hollywood studios. Post production has also been simplified by non-linear editing software available for home computers which gives the independent filmmaker and videographer an advantage to an almost level playing field. The field is not quite level but it is significant enough for the unknown production company and artists to earn a living from their business.
Independent films have captured the hearts and minds of many loyal viewers. Recognizing the increased popularity of independent film, major hollywood studios have been increasingly starting independent branches and marketing their films as “indie” when they are truly not. These major hollywood production companies made it no longer clear about separation between indie films and Hollywood films. This unfortunate fusion has led fans and indie filmmakers alike to question the motive of going from hollywood to independent? Was it because the independent movies, actors and writers were gaining a fan base and a good share of the market?
There is an easy answer: Yes! True independent films are produced outside of the major hollywood studio conglomerates, producers, actors and funding.
This definition, while once sufficient, is now unacceptably vague. Major studios have “independent” and “arthouse” branches. Also, many established hollywood figures start studios that are technically independent but they already have a head start in financing and celebrity status. Imagine having to work a 9 to 5 job and then try to find actors, time, money and film equipment to produce a film that’s will engage viewers. How far removed from major studios,financially and artistically, do you have to be for your film to be independent?