Monday, January 31, 2011

Who said artists have to make money

Reading a talk by Francis Ford Coppola, he had this hilariously true thought.

How does an aspiring artist bridge the gap between distribution and commerce?
We have to be very clever about those things. You have to remember that it’s only a few hundred years, if that much, that artists are working with money. Artists never got money. Artists had a patron, either the leader of the state or the duke of Weimar or somewhere, or the church, the pope. Or they had another job. I have another job. I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry. You work another job and get up at five in the morning and write your script.

This idea of Metallica or some rock n’ roll singer being rich, that’s not necessarily going to happen anymore. Because, as we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free. Maybe the students are right. They should be able to download music and movies. I’m going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?

In the old days, 200 years ago, if you were a composer, the only way you could make money was to travel with the orchestra and be the conductor, because then you’d be paid as a musician. There was no recording. There were no record royalties. So I would say, “Try to disconnect the idea of cinema with the idea of making a living and money.” Because there are ways around it.

(emphasis added)


cuts to the heart of the matter. We don't do this because we want to be rich and famous, we do it becauseit's in us and it has to come out. We're making art because we want to communicate, to communicate you need someone to hear you, why not get rid of everything in the way between you two?

It's nice to make a living doing something you like, but Coppola's has a good point that if someone else is fronting the cash, they can have a lot of influence. I'm not saying don't collaborate, I'm just saying work for the art not for the money.

other interesting thoughts he had:

The cinema language happened by experimentation – by people not knowing what to do. But unfortunately, after 15-20 years, it became a commercial industry. People made money in the cinema, and then they began to say to the pioneers, “Don’t experiment. We want to make money. We don’t want to take chances.”

An essential element of any art is risk. If you don’t take a risk then how are you going to make something really beautiful, that hasn’t been seen before? I always like to say that cinema without risk is like having no sex and expecting to have a baby. You have to take a risk.

I was never afraid of risks. I always had a good philosophy about risks. The only risk is to waste your life, so that when you die, you say, “Oh, I wish I had done this.”

You now have all the resources to do your own production, writing, directing. What’s the biggest barrier to being an artist?

Self-confidence always. The artist always battles his own/her own feeling of inadequacy.

*found by Muddy Colors


michelle said...

Spot-on! Cinema ....such a language....such an audience....That is a great statement about risks and the hurdle of self-confidence!

jriggity said...

good stuff.