It's a production problem 65 million years in the making.
Colin Trevorrow cut his teeth, so to speak, in the indie world, with the movie Safety Not Guaranteed. That little movie vaulted him into the right room at the right time, and he walked away writing and directing Jurassic World.
In between dino films, he also made the indie The Book of Henry, which was not as well-received, but was still a movie made for a budget with stars and a concept that drew people in—though it might have cost him Star Wars, a franchise in its own state of reorganization and turmoil when the team left Trevorrow and Derek Connolly's script behind.
What does Trevorrow think of filmmaking?
Trevorrow recently told Indiewire, “I’ve found that filmmaking is a process of intentions versus perception. As I’ve made every film, I feel like I’ve gotten better and better at my intentions matching the audience’s perception of what I’m trying to communicate. I feel like this is a film, based on what I’ve seen so far, that people are really watching the same movie that I watch and they’re feeling the same way about it that I feel and that all of us feel.”
Now, he's drawing some of the biggest audiences ever with the Jurassic World series. That's special in the days after the pandemic, as theaters are trying to revive.
He told Indiewire, “To me, there’s something uniquely moving about being able to provide friends and families with the opportunity to return to the movies together. I think it’s an important part of our civilization to go watch drama as a group. It’s something we’ve been doing for at least 2,000 years. For us to change that, to suddenly only watching drama alone, feels like it’s dismantling something that’s been part of who we are as human beings for a very long time.”
What does the industry look like now?
Trevorrow is no stranger to theatrical success. Safety Not Guaranteed was made for under $1 million and made over $4 million at the box office. Now, he wonders if opportunities like that would be available today.
“I think you and I can probably commiserate on the lack of diversity of the kind of films that are released in theaters now,” he said. “I wish that we could return to a time when a movie like Safety Not Guaranteed would get a theatrical release. I don’t know if that would happen anymore. For me, it’s frustrating, especially thinking about how short a period of time has passed since [then]. Actually, it’s the 10-year anniversary of Safety the weekend this movie comes out, and over the course of those 10 years, the opportunity for a young filmmaker to go to Sundance and succeed, and then have that movie come out in theaters, has become extraordinarily rare. That’s something I’m mourning a little bit, to be honest.”
This is a rapidly changing industry that's providing woefully fewer jobs for filmmakers. Indie films are not a launch point. They're usually underseen. And even then, many times they beget more indie work.
Yesterday I was reading a Twitter thread about how screenwriting is now only a full-time job for only a few. This was all almost inevitable. But the pandemic shifted the way this was going by about a decade. Before anyone had answers to tomorrow's problems, they were already here.
It will be interesting to see where this takes us in the future. A few of the guilds are set for strikes, which could help put measures to make things better on the table. But it will be an uphill climb to find new ways to break into Hollywood from here on out.
Leave your thoughts in the comments.