It seems, in big publishing, the book itself is a big, beautiful product and (unless we're talking one of writing's giants) the writer is just the means. As The Atlantic wrote recently, publishing is paying more and more to it's own 1%, putting all its eggs in fewer baskets. It's the same mindset responsible for the blatant rehashing of familiar franchises we see lining the interstates of American life, packing the shelves at big bookstores and choking the gigaplex with more god-awful summer movies. To put it bluntly: big publishers must stick to the formula if they hope to break even -- or so the thinking seems to go.
Independent presses are, according to the article, the place where biggest risks are taken. I very much agree. Of course almost none of the independent presses I know get the same coverage as even the most tepid rehashed chum. Which is a crying shame...but there it is.
So it's abundantly clear: we cannot make many waves alone. However...
I'm certainly close to last to this party, but if you haven't seen it...I've recently been really jazzed by Vimeo. Filmmakers of all stripes, cranking out all kinds of work (of various quality - to be fair), makes for a pretty great rabbit hole to fall down! From live-action, to animation, to documentaries, there's certainly something new and interesting to see here. And if you dig independent filmmaking, you should find a way to see some of this stuff.
And it got me thinking... I'd wager independent filmmakers are constantly looking for material, and probably gut-sick from hoping for a stray table scrap to fall from big publishing's lap. If so, I'd like to cordially invite them to plow the back catalogs of all the tremendous independent presses -- ones that have been publishing interesting and unheralded work and are certainly worthy of (and overdue for) some wider recognition.
Surely some of the massively intriguing small press novels I've read over the years could be developed into longer scripts...COULDN'T THEY?
So, for anyone who hadn't yet figured out this angle -- VIMEO, meet the independent press; independent press, check out Vimeo!
It's a wondrous time to be creating, and the simple truth is, if we want to do work that stands out, we have to do professional-level work, and take risks the establishment can't or won't. This may well be the antidote to the all the CINE-MUCK.