How Can Middle Class Filmmakers Make a Living?

“I am the 99 percent…in Hollywood.”

The income disparity in this country, which is the worst it’s been since 1928, mirrors the current budget disparity between studio films and independent films. While the former has been recognized publicly as an epidemic, the latter has reached epidemic proportions; however, it’s an issue that has been largely, if not entirely, ignored by those inside and outside of Hollywood. While the middle class in our society has disappeared, so has the middle class in the world of filmmaking.

There have been those who have alluded to the effect of such a disparity. Dustin Hoffman recently said in an interview that “It’s the worst that film has ever been—in the 50 years that I’ve been doing it, it’s the worst.” Oddly, though, he was largely dismissed, critics suggesting his complaint was more about not getting the same roles he used to get. He’s older, of course, and won’t be getting offers to play the lead in whatever the next “Graduate”-esque film will be.

I have to believe Hoffman is fully aware of his age and where, as an actor, he fits into a movie’s milieu. When he refers to film being the worst it’s ever been, he’s referring to it as a business; specifically, a business that’s eclipsing the art, originality and storytelling that used to be (and should be) the core of what movies are.

In a no-nonsense interview with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, Variety’s editor Peter Bart said, “It’s impossible to get an independent picture made at a major studio. The major studios want tentpole pictures that appeal to an international box office. 70 percent of that audience is overseas.” Furthermore, his advice for indie filmmakers: “Find yourself a billionaire who would prefer to own a movie rather than owning a politician, because it’s come to that.”

The sheer fact of it is: if you’re a member of the middle class of filmmaking, it’s nearly impossible to make a living. At least, currently. So, where’s the voice, or voices, of our collective struggle, fighting for our rights to make a living? Where’s our industry’s Bernie Sanders? There is no one because the one percent of Hollywood is making far too much money producing a limited amount of products that sell to the broadest spectrum of people…

Read the rest this article from Indiewire.