JSDC
Entry: Holiday & The Tao
Official= Official Comment

Official Comment From Jessica
“That’s what I’m going to allow myself to do from now on -- to get completely away from book publishers and write for magazines and movies.”

Hoff’s essay strikes an obvious chord, but can he be serious about the above line? The film and print media industries and their audiences, artists and everyone involved, really, suffer from the same issues that he lists in terms of the publishing industry. It is all related, and the same conglomerates who own the major publishing houses often own movie studios as well. Furthermore, the film industry is harder to navigate than the world of publishing: It is a much darker hollow.

All of this is true, so what is the solution for artists and audiences? Stay small, scrappy, independent? The fact of the matter is that the vicious cycle of which we speak is perpetuated by all of us, and that part of the catch in that cycle is that making and distributing art takes money. I try not to struggle against that reality anymore: It simply is how things are set up. That is why I also try very hard not to participate in that cycle, for that is the only way it can change.

However, I constantly ask myself, what is The Way for artists and audiences? I’m preparing and looking for the door continuously, going about observing, staying lithe and ready…

How do I make a movie for you in that system without becoming a part of the problem?

How do I successfully make a movie for you outside of that system and perhaps, in the doing, participate in positive change?

How do I survive until then without becoming a part of the problem?

People in Hollywood do not think like that, and meetings with the truely like-minded there, (those that will Do,) in Hollywood, are rare. In fact, have I even had a meeting like that yet?

These questions and more,

Everyday.

From Jan
Ok, as we are on the side topic of suggested readings: Did anyone here read the Temeraire novels by Naomi Novik? I did hear some praise about them - but knowing that the tough and demanding fantasy critics all read this page, I wanted to ask about it here before buying them for Cristmas (I hate the word X-Mas by the way).

As for the essay; I am wondering if writing for movies will make Mr Hoff any happier - I mean, the people in the industry are not any different. And in addition it will be possible that your work will be completely different when it's released - that is *if* it is getting released.
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From Curtis M Sawyer
Website: http://ussexcalibur.blogspot.com
Wow. Finally got a chance to read the essay. I have nothing to do with the industry, although like most people I have a couple of novels always on the back burner, but I've heard that the new rage (or maybe this was 5 years ago now) was unknown authors. If you were an unknown you stood a better chance of getting published than an established author, because everyone wanted to "discover" an author. But maybe that too, has changed.

Is the solution to self-publish? Build an audience and work to being discovered on Oprah so that a mainstream house picks up your book? I don't know, but I do know that the essay turned my stomach and really made me feel like getting published is a pipe dream.

Depressing.

Really...depressing.
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From Sean Stubblefield
Website: http://www.geocities.com/exastra/home.htm
it is true, film and print suffer the same "issues", but i wouldn't say film is more difficult to navigate than publishing. for every movie or book that gets made, a thousand more don't. and i think a production paradox exists: the more that gets made, the less more can get made, because the market becomes so saturated and congested. seems to me that the trend-- and the best course of action-- for new film and publishing is to go independent. i wrote an article noting how increasing numbers of filmmakers and writers are going not only independent, but also distributing and advertising through the internet, as opposed to traditional studios or publishers. unfortunately, most mainstream channels-- with very rare exception-- are run by corporate minded, or at least corporate bound-- thinking. they aren't concerned with artistic expression or unique vision or thought provoking. their primary interest is profitability and politics and production quota. a celebrity with nothing to say has more audience and thus more chance of success than an unknown with something to say. you think so many people read Grisham because he's actually good or has something meaningful to say? business first, art/social relevance second or incidental--if at all.
the only way to produce in-system is to have clout or access to clout that permits and preserves your vision. or else, as i said, go independent; then maybe build up clout to enter the system. George Lucas and Kevin Smith did that.
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Official Comment From Jessica
Ok, as we are on the side topic of suggested readings: Did anyone here read the Temeraire novels by Naomi Novik? I did hear some praise about them - but knowing that the tough and demanding fantasy critics all read this page, I wanted to ask about it here before buying them for Cristmas (I hate the word X-Mas by the way).

I have not, but I’m sure Jackson’s acquiring the rights will up readership.

As for the essay; I am wondering if writing for movies will make Mr Hoff any happier - I mean, the people in the industry are not any different. And in addition it will be possible that your work will be completely different when it's released - that is *if* it is getting released.

Agreed. But if he’s planning on financing his own independent films, then I think he will be much happier. However, he could do that with books, too. (Self-publish. I mean, he’s already a best-selling author.) Hopping industries isn’t a solution to the problem he stated: They’re all connected. And, again, I think the film industry is worse for a few reasons (and from my own experiences). I can’t tell you how much easier it is to work with editors from, say, Random House over a studio person at, oh say, Dreamworks. But that’s just in thinking of producers vs. editors in acquisitions: I haven’t been through the publishing process yet. Still, judging by stories from friends who have done both, I’d say they’d say book publishing is easier in some ways.

If you were an unknown you stood a better chance of getting published than an established author, because everyone wanted to "discover" an author. But maybe that too, has changed.

Very few people care about discovering or backing true artists. I don’t think I need to explain what they are producing instead. Of interest to me is how back in the day the rich socialites we’re plagued with currently would have found fame by finding an amazing poet and backing him, instead of having a cheesy book ghostwritten for themselves and slapping their photo on the front, making an “album,” participating in a reality show and so forth.

Is the solution to self-publish? Build an audience and work to being discovered on Oprah so that a mainstream house picks up your book?

Does Oprah discover self-published writers? I’ve never once seen her show, but it seems to me she picks from books that are published by the publishing houses but maybe not yet best-selling. She’s part of the press and the press is only helpful after you’ve been “picked up” by whatever publishing house, studio or TV station.

I don't know, but I do know that the essay turned my stomach and really made me feel like getting published is a pipe dream. Depressing. Really...depressing.

True, you might find the essay depressing. I found it heartening, however: I am not alone. Hardly any of my favorite writers are alive today, much less dealing with the current climate of publishing and art production. An author who has ideas that I like feels the same way I do, and also finds it difficult to go with the status quo to the point where he’s making adjustments and refusing to participate in idiocy...

I found inspiration and validation in that essay.

The more artists and audiences cut the middle man out, “middle man” meaning the few rich dudes choosing what gets made and distributed and what does not, the better our lives will be. That goes for everything, my friends. It does take a bit of observation and action, of course. No resting on your haunches, or laurels. That’s where you find truth, and adventure. After all, many a great story (The Matrix, Lord of the Rings… I bet you can name many more) is saying it: Stop and open your eyes. Wake up! The audience can discover…

Seek the experience.

it is true, film and print suffer the same "issues", but i wouldn't say film is more difficult to navigate than publishing. for every movie or book that gets made, a thousand more don't.

I disagree. Film is a more expensive and risky medium and less films are put out in a year than books by major studios vs. houses. Hollywood has also been mythologized retarded-ly (“star power,” etc.) and has loads of issues. Good people rarely stay here. The clichés are true.

or else, as i said, go independent; then maybe build up clout to enter the system. George Lucas and Kevin Smith did that.

The model has changed since Smith and Lucas went "indie." Especially since the ‘70s. (Lucas' model isn't even usable anymore.) I often hear, “if this were the ‘70s your film [TSL] would be made already... .” So basically before I was alive shit was good and now it’s not. Hoff says the same thing in his essay: He’s come along too late. So what’s the new model? The new indie? That’s what we’ll figure out as we get the work done. No use in crying about it: We all have to find our own way and if the Great Deciders won’t walk the path with us, then that’s fine. I am quite OK with leaving them in the Land of Predictable where they are happy and comfortable. I do worry though: The suns in lands like those always burn out far sooner than expected. So let us seek our own stars, though harder it may be.

From Sean Stubblefield
Website: http://www.geocities.com/exastra/home.htm
you're right about the model having changed for what works in film now. but whatever the model is, the current trend seems increasingly to be that independent and internet is the way to go. maybe, as Hoff suggests, the new model is and should be: if you want it done right-- or at all, do it yourself.
which i thought was kinda what you were getting at.

what i meant when i said getting a movie produced is no more difficult than getting a book published, i was referring to what you said about how they are all connected. they both use the same mentality. they each may be difficult in different ways or degrees, but both put up interference based on the same model. like the difference between making a movie and a TV espisode: they are both guided by the same considerations, but to varying extent/ percentage.

and you say that the audience can and should be trusted to discover on their own. ideally, i would agree. but i think this is another case of applying a model that is no longer applicable. as you said: "Very few people care about discovering or backing true artists." i don't think that attitude is limitted to producers and publishers. the fact that crap like Dancing With the Stars and Timberlake and Fergie can be popular demonstrates that the general public are tasteless and indiscriminate. the supply and demand rule tells us that most people don't care about true art. and producers/publishers--who are operating a business-- will be primarily concerned with supplying demand. i agree that we'd be better off cutting out the middle man. but seems to me most people are content to accept what is handed to them than bothering to "seek the experience".
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