How The MPAA Screws Over Indie Filmmakers

from the not-about-the-film-industry dept

One of the amusing things that we've seen in following groups like the MPAA and the RIAA over the years is every time they try to claim that they're really doing what they do to support the independent artists out there. Both organizations represent the big studios and the big labels. But, to make themselves sound more sympathetic, they love to claim that their real concerns are in protecting the "small guys" out there. We've seen it a lot in the film industry, where the big studios and the MPAA guys love to claim their "real concerns" are about indie filmmakers. Just a few months ago, when I appeared on a panel at a big Hollywood event for independent filmmakers, one of my co-panelists was from the MPAA, and he tossed out that line about how the big studios were fine, but he was really concerned about the indies.

Of course, that's hogwash. They represent the big studios and that's all they're concerned with. TorrentFreak points us to a perfect example of this in a short snippet of South Park's Matt Stone and Trey Parker talking about how the MPAA screwed them over when they were indie filmmakers when it came to ratings, but when they were working with a major studio, things were entirely different:


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  1.  
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    blah, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 4:19pm

    Censored?

    Goddamnit, can't we even watch uncensored video of Matt and Trey discussing how the MPAA is fucking people over?

     

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  2.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 4:21pm

    Wait a minute..

    So let me get this straight...

    The artists have rights but not until they join up with the MPAA?

    Yeah, I'm really all for copyright...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 4:43pm

    If nobody's seen it, This Film is Not Yet Rated covers a lot of the problems with the MPAA's rating system. It does have nsfw content though, so don't watch it at work unless you're a TSA agent.

     

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  4.  
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    coldbrew, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 4:44pm

    no new contract after season 15

    These guys are simply my favorite duo, ever. It's nice that we share an alma mater and they reference a ton of real life Colorado places, but I grew up around the same time and know the cultural references they make as well.

    Season 15 is about to start and there is no contract in place for a 16. I hope they ditch VIacom and go direct. I would bet there's a million of us that would pay _at least_ $20 for a season (especially uncensored).

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 5:42pm

    In July...

    Not sure where that Subject came from. Safari's autocomplete I guess.

    Anyhow, what I think hurts movie is more than just censorship. It actually goes both ways. If you make a thriller aimed at adults, you pretty much need to get an R rating. So that means you have to make sure you include a sex scene or something to make sure you get that R. PG-13 is the kiss of death for those types of movies. So filmmakers end up focusing more on making sure their movie fits a particular criteria instead of an artistic vision.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Wait a minute..

    I think you are confused, is not joining the MPAA that is a problem, is not joining a big studio that has a relationship with the MPAA that is the big problem, if you are not a big studio you don't get the notes or hints to solve problems like the big boys do.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 6:13pm

    Re: no new contract after season 15

    Google, Netflix and Microsoft all want new content LoL

     

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  8.  
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    coldbrew, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 7:27pm

    I just watched this again. Talk about gate keepers. Holy fuckin' shit.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 7:50pm

    What?

    How is a PG-13 rating a kiss of death? NC-17 yes, but you're saying that film makers add stuff to get that R-rating and ruining their artistic style? That makes NO sense and I'm hoping you clarify it better.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 8:45pm

    The sound of guys who have made f-you money, and no longer care.

     

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  11.  
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    Bruce Burbank, Mar 31st, 2011 @ 8:57pm

    Re: What?

    Chiming in-

    I'm a big horror movie fan but I generally won't even consider checking out any PG-13 horror movie because I'll expect it to be totally watered down. It's like it's been demoted to a lightweight class of movie, whereas I'm really only looking for the heavyweight Rated-R horror flick. A PG-13 rating is the kiss of death because there are so many people like me who won't waste their time with anything less than Rated-R.

     

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  12.  
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    Ed C., Mar 31st, 2011 @ 9:16pm

    Re: What?

    The other AC was specifically referring to certain genres that are ideally for adults only. People tend to ignore those kinds of movies that "only" get a PG13 rating because that gives the impression that the content wasn't "bad" enough to get an R rating.

     

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  13.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 31st, 2011 @ 10:00pm

    Re:

    ... What in the bloody poo are you going on about?

     

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  14.  
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    kingalekz (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 12:42am

    Re: no new contract after season 15

    FYI the contract was renewed until 2013 (until season 17) recently.

     

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  15.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 4:01am

    Re: What?

    Go look for the At the Mountains of Madness débacle. Guillermo del Toro stated that he wanted a particular rating as it allowed hom to do what he thought necessary to do justice to the original novells.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 5:45am

    The only *useful* reform is to list the content of the film, not the MPAA (or anyone else's) rating of suitability.

    Imagine a grocery store where the "ingredients" panel had four choices: Suitable for Infants, Suitable for Children Undergoing a Growth Spurt, Suitable for Fat Ass Couch Potatoes, Suitable for Manual Laborers.

     

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  17.  
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    A Dan (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 6:02am

    Re:

    It also talks to (one or both of) these two about their differing experiences making the movies without and with the major studio.

     

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  18.  
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    The eejit (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Re:

    Wal-Mart?

     

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  19.  
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    Erin B., Apr 1st, 2011 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: What?

    Well, to be fair, he also wanted a $150 million budget. So.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 11:21am

    Okay, THAT is more specific on the PG-13 being the kiss of death. Thank you.

     

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  21.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Apr 1st, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    Re:

    The only *useful* reform is to list the content of the film, not the MPAA (or anyone else's) rating of suitability.

    Hopefully with counts too ("Full Frontal Nudity: 5 times, 2:30 total", "Bad Language: 5 F**ks, 3 S**ts, 8 Motha F**kers".) That way the kids know whether a movie is worth watching or not.

    In other words, any plan that doesn't involve parental responsibility is going to fail. If you don't go to IMDB to read the plot notes, and don't wish to watch the movie first to see if it appropriate for Timmy, then maybe Timmy shouldn't be watching the movie. Of course, I'm of the opinion (after growing up with parents that restricted me from watching movies to begin with,) that keeping your kids out of the culture, without careful exposure and teaching, is detrimental to their growth as much as allowing them to watch it without being there to explain it to them. It takes time and effort, which is why nobody does it.

     

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  22.  
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    Nick, Feb 2nd, 2012 @ 5:27pm

    MPAA

    So times are getting better with iTunes and other channels that do not require MPAA ratings, so just letting other filmmakers know that there is hope and soon MPAA will not be need.

     

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