Shocking as it may seem, there was a time before movies (I know, crazy). But there was; though they dominate our lives today and shape all of the media we consume, narrative motion pictures (I'm talking about movies that, though they may be artful, see themselves as entertainment rather than "art") have only been around for a little more than a century, which, in time terms, is not that long. But now, because you are lucky enough to live in the future, you can watch this video from CineFix that tells the history of the movies (and Hollywood, where many movies live) in ten minutes. So, cool kids, put down your hoverboard, grab some Sunny D, and check it out!
Forget a hundred years, it's amazing how things have changed since the turn of the century, which was not that long ago (as an example, kids born in 2000 still can't legally drive). We're living through a revolution as massive as the birth of motion pictures themselves, and as important to Western Civilization as the printing press.
In a shockingly brief period, technology has democratized quality to the point that an average person, with some natural acumen, and the right know-how (gained from websites like this one) can make a movie that looks as good as anything that comes out of Hollywood. Case in point, it is now possible for anyone with a computer and internet access to make a 10-minute (really 8:52, but who am I, the time police?) video that shows the history of Hollywood. (To cover the entire motion picture industry as a global phenomenon would take at least 20 minutes.)
I don't mean to harp on the point, but in the year 2000, this video would have required a good deal more than a laptop to produce, and also, there was no wi-fi. And your phone probably had a hinge, and could not take selfies. Plus, where would you have shown this video? And to whom? Lastly, it's also always great to be reminded that a $25,000 bet is tangentially responsible for motion pictures, because it drives home the point that rich dudes gambling on stuff is what makes the world go 'round.
But if this video makes any point more clearly than others, it's that Hollywood has been knocked down many times, and it always responds by fighting, then co-opting the thing that threatens it. And if history has taught us anything, it's that you really can't know where you are going (or where you are) unless you know where you've been -- which is a little like saying that history has taught us that history is important, but I digress.
So, if you want to make movies, you should know how we got where we are, and for an indie filmmaker, especially, it's important to know your position within the great chain of cinematic being. Now that you've seen this video, go to your local library (which for most of us is called Google) and read up on the history of cinema. This public service announcement has been brought to you by your friendly local No Film School. See you at the movies!