Research Paper: Freedom of creation

By Gina Wang

March 4th, 2014

                Most of the movies we see are produced by big companies with strong financial support, such as Hollywood, which sells its movies to practically every country in the world. Famous actors, actresses and scenes that involve high quality special effects or huge amount of budget are usually included in a big production company’s movies. Those movies also have all kinds of promotions such as playing its trailer on television to attract people’s attention. Independent films, however, are produced by those who do not belong to any big production companies. Low budget is one of the characteristic of independent films that are stylistically different form Hollywood films, which is strictly from a director or the writer’s point of view and nothing is changed because of rich producers telling them what to add/change. However, independent films and its creativities are limited by not only marketing but also financial struggles because the movie industry is dominated by the major production companies that spend more than necessary to produce an average quality film. Hence, the public should support independent films, so the movie industry would have a variety of movies instead of it being dominated by major production companies.

               To create the best quality out of minimum resources, independent films have fewer budgets to use but more freedom to produce a movie. Comparing to a big production company, an independent film maker has less financial support which creatively limits them to use more imagination to complete a movie. In Mass Media in a Changing World, George Rodman states that independence films “… are usually made with lower budgets but allow their makers more creative freedom than do major studios” (Rodman, 2012). Independent film makers will not have enough money to make a thirty second scene of a exploding car as a Hollywood movie do, so they need to fill in the blanks of the movies with their talent. Rodman also claims that “they also rely less on stars and special effects and more subject matters and dialogs” (Rodman, 2012). Independent films do not always include those elements; such as stars and three dimensional effects, to attract people to watch their movies. Instead of using special visual images, they tend to have a stronger story line or other elements that will surprise audiences which would result to a great movie. This is firm reason why the public should support more independent films which not only brings out more creativity in movies, but also gives younger aspiring filmmakers opportunities to start their dreams of producing, directing and creating.

                Without the restriction, pressure, and involvement from major production companies, independent film makers are able to express different point of views through their movies. Major production companies produce movies that make money for them which usually follow a certain theme, such as good beating evil, a boy meets girl or psychological lesson. Independent film makers are more likely to think out of the box to establish a story which does not always end happily. Pen-ek Ratanaruang, who is an Indonesia independent film maker, was interviewed by Tilman Baumgärtel in Southeast Asian independent cinema: essays, documents, interviews, and he stated that “I just thought that these things need to be told through film” (Baumgärtel, 2010) when “[her] film Arisan! featured gay and lesbian characters, a subject matter that is kind of taboo in Indonesia” (Baumgärtel, 2010). Her personal opinion toward gay or lesbian was delivered successfully to the public through her film whether the public agrees with it or not. This is an example of an independent filmmaker making a film that is proving an important point that some Hollywood movies tend to ignore. “In most of the Indonesian films, the story is about women, and love, and all that. Even in our horror movies, the ghost always a woman” (Baumgärtel, 2010), she said that “she is always the victim and the story is always told from a very male point of view. So I want to talk about women from a female point of view” (Baumgärtel, 2010). Different country might have different kinds of independent film production which is exactly the value of independent films. Tilman Baumgärtel’s movie might not have such a big success in America because gay and lesbian are not taboo in American society. Acknowledging different groups of audiences with different contents is what makes independent films so unique.

             Although movies produced by major production companies have less creative freedom and different point of views, they are able to present the newest special effects and technology which makes their imagination visualized in most of the movies. Special effects include varieties of elements from make up to the editing after shooting a scene. Liz Miles explained clearly in Movie Special Effect that “complicated special effects make today’s movies exciting and realistic” (Miles, 2009). She also gave some interested example of how to make those special effects, such as “[filming] a burning house, fuel tanks are hidden inside the house” (Miles, 2009). Instead of burning the house with fuel tanks, those “tanks can be turned on and off for a safe distance” (Miles, 2009).Today’s technology also allows presenting the imagination into actual image, such as the movie, Avatar. “Several decades in the dreaming and more than four years in the actual making, the movie is a song to the natural world that was largely produced with software, an Emersonian exploration of the invisible world of the spirit filled with Cameronian rock ’em, sock ’em pulpy action” (DARGIS, 2009). This movie is created through using the software to complete an imagination story. The major production movies definitely established a dream factory where the directors are able to put any imagination into the big screen.

               Living in the world that strongly influenced by the media, we should be able to choose what we want to see instead of letting major production industry decide for us. Even though major production companies have stronger financial support to make all kinds of amazing visual effects, independent film makers has more freedom on creating the movies which usually provide different point of views. As long as the movie industry is still controlled by the four major production companies, movies will be limited to certain types and start to lose its certain quality, such as plot and point of view; however, supporting independent films will give a perfect solution for those problems. Independent films offer the chances of learning more from the special point of views that are not restricted by major production companies and open your eyes to see varieties of movies that surprised you with its amazing production. Supporting independent films will not only encourage creativity that makes more varieties of movies but also give people who just start their career more opportunities to success.

Work Cities

                 Baumgärtel, T. (2010). Southeast asian independent cinema : essays, documents, interviews. Retrieved from

                 DARGIS, M. (2009, December 17). A new eden, both cosmic and cinematic. Retrieved from

                 Miles, L. (2009, JUNE 1). Movie special effects. Retrieved from special effect&lr=&source=gbs_navlinks_s

                Rodman, G. (2012). Mass media in a changing world. (4th ed., p. 161). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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