The film industry is a very influential force in our society today because through it our choices, likes, beliefs, values and ideas are somehow affected and changed. It is so strong that sometimes it already affects our decisions and way of life. According to Supreme Court officials, the motion picture is a significant medium to convey ideas and beliefs so that in order for people who adheres democracy to make informed judgments on debatable issues or questions, they must be appropriately exposed to a fair and just representation of the ideas on all sides of said issues or questions.
Americans value their freedom to express their thoughts and ideas, their freedom of speech that’s why the only reason why the constitutional rights to free speech is applied to film is because the movies or motion pictures are important medium for communication, for conveying information. Through this industry, a lot of people are educated, informed, and even transformed to better and useful individuals of the country because whether we like it or not, movies really inspire and motivate people. It touches their lives. However, movies are not created for mere entertainment only.
Good or bad, they are still considered as important sociological and cultural documents of our times because they do not only record and reflect our values and ideas at the time the movie was created, they also shape them. For years, movies or films helped structure the American culture, the values, beliefs and traditions of the American people. Hollywood during the 1930s up the late of 1960s for example, helped in shaping up a shared concept of the American history and its role to other countries. Hollywood kept the American’s values and traditions alive during the Great Depression.
Unfortunately though, after 1960, it produced films that targeted a smaller segment of the American population. Instead of producing and creating films that depicts the American’s common set of values, it began to venture and produce films with more conventional values. Movies do not only reflect social values of one’s country, it also shapes them. It reflects views about gender such as masculinity and femininity, about manners and/or ethics, language and some other characteristics that make up the society. Movies appeal to all classes and all levels in the economic ladder of one’s country.
This is so because movies represent the values, aspirations, frustrations, and fantasies of these people. Movies definitely show the good and bad sides about life and about the world we live in. American History through Film During the Great Depression, between 1930s up to 1939, the American people were so devastated with the economic condition of the country. Money was scarce and life became difficult. To be able to cope with the new economic changes of their lives, the Americans began to patronize fictional movies to make their selves happy and alive.
Movies, big bands, and all sorts of parlor and board games became a popular means of entertainment. Film production was accordingly organized on an industrial model and manufactured a mass-produced output aimed at capturing a secure audience share and thus realizing a substantial profit. As a commercial enterprise, American film developed as an entertainment industry, rather than as an educational instrument or art form (Horkheimer and Adorno 1972). Consequently, American dreams were turned into nightmares and bad dreams.
What was once considered as the land of promise and of opportunity, of hope and of optimism, became the land of great desperation and depression. People began to question their leaders, their system of government and democracy. Some people moved to agricultural places to find a living. It was during this time that the people’s goal was that of survival instead of advancement. Other countries were also undergoing the same difficulties but the Americans were able to cope such that democracy prevailed in the country. To be able to help the people cope with their present situation, Hollywood created fictional films that entertained them.
Popular movie stars played an important role in Hollywood cinema and became fantasy figures for idealized romance and desire (Dyer, 1979). Matinee idols such as Clark Gable, Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, Errol Flynn and Shirley Temple became popular. One of the top grossers during this time was Gone with the Wind (1939) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Consequently, Hollywood films were divided into the most popular types of genres like the western, melodrama, crime drama, costume film, horror film, and, with the coming of sound, the musical (Schatz, 1981).
Film soon became the most popular and influential form of media culture in the United States (Sklar, 1975; Jowett, 1976). It became a source of leisure and socialization providing trends in fashion and designs, guides to love and relationships, marriage and professions. Some Americans thought that early films were produced largely for working class, immigrant and urban audiences, and some critics of the movies thought that they had negative or subversive effects (Jowett, 1976).
Some others believed that these films help “Americanize” immigrants, to teach their audiences how to be good Americans, and to provide escape from the cares of everyday life (Ewen and Ewen, 1982). More theoretical approaches to Hollywood began emerging in the 1960s, including the ideological analyses of Cahiers du cinema and the extremely influential work associated with Screen that translated many key Cahiers and other works of French film theory, including Roland Barthes, Christian Metz, and others which generated much more sophisticated formal approaches to film (see Metz, 1974 and Heath, 1981).
Some researchers believe that during this time feminism was considered to be important among the gender and that the construction of dominant ideologies of masculinity and femininity were a central aspect of Hollywood film (Kuhn, 1982; Kaplan, 1983). Studies also began appearing in the 1970s of the business of film, dissecting the political economy of the Hollywood studio system (see Balio, 1976 and 1985; Gomery, 1986; and Wasko 1994). Then the succeeding years became a turning point for Hollywood Films. Movie making became more of a business venture rather than an aid to promote entertainment and relaxation to people.
During the past years globalization has made Hollywood film a popular business icon throughout the world. If Hollywood films became the most popular and well respected film company in the early years, dominating the world market, it became more so today with American global corporations promoting and distributing its products throughout the world. Hollywood films are the most capital and profit intensive and thus have the most advanced technological effects for every product released; they are marketed worldwide and patronized by all races around the globe.
To this day, Hollywood movies are created not only to gain money but to also influence or change the beliefs and ideas of its audience. Some are produced with the purpose of arguing for the acceptance of some behaviors and lifestyles so that these become parts of the film maker’s concept of cultural morality. As concluded by the Barna Research Group, the single most influential profession in society today is the film business. Unfortunately, some producers, investors and film makers neglected or seem to forget their roles and responsibilities to the viewing public.
Some create projects without understanding the basic principles on how this industry works and how it affects the lives, behaviors and values of its audience. Hard work vs. Easy money in Film making industry Film makers have an important role and a great responsibility when creating or producing films. They should be very careful especially when making stories that deals with history and with people’s lives. Although the film industry is not in business just to lose money, it should not be that its goal is to only gain money.
There has to be some kind of balance between responsible film making, one that entertains and educates people and that which enables the business to keep going. According to some experts, this could be attained without losing either way. But how are they going to do this? Do they have to exert more efforts to be able to attain both objectives? Or they just have to forget that ‘role- and- responsibility thing’ and focus instead to earning more money? Film making is actually lots of hard work and more had works. Lack of talent according to recent research findings, is irrelevant to success in the film making world.
According to Geoffrey Colvin, senior editor-at-large of the Fortune Magazine, “Talent doesn’t mean intelligence, motivation or personality traits. It’s an innate ability to do some specific activity especially well’. British-based researchers Michael J. Howe, Jane W. Davidson and John A. Sluboda concluded in an extensive study, “The evidence we have surveyed does not support the notion that excelling is a consequence of innate gifts. ” Hard work and practice combined actually makes an individual a master of his craft. No one made it to the top without putting so much work on it.
There’s no such thing as ‘born champion’ without going through a lot of work or effort. Greatness can never be achieved without hard work, hard labor. Hard work combined with practice equals work of high level performance and quality. Consistency too is important. Make quality movies all the time, hard yet worth the efforts. People patronize movies created by makers who adhere to the policy of producing high quality films. Filmmaking is making money consciously. Money is a resource material important to everybody, to businesses most especially. Businesses operate with the aim of gaining profits. Film making industry is not an exception.
However, it should not be the main reason why the business exists. The role of movies Films have an important role in the lives of its viewers. It connects one generation to the other. It provides an image, concepts, and ideas of how people coped and dealt with their lives in the past; how families are formed or transformed and how it fell apart. It informs us past events, good or bad. It helps us realize that all human beings undergo turmoil and calamities throughout life. It helps us understand why we are here, why we are created, and why we exist. Films are stories about people, their experiences and how they go through life.
Films are reflections of our past, present and future lives. Films do not only mirror the social and cultural backgrounds and attitudes of people in the past. It also provides evidences and records them for the future generation to see. Films are good sources of history, of culture and of people. Conclusion: Our world is very much structured by differing thoughts of both politicians and film makers in our society today. These thoughts and ideas are easily and quickly passed through the media that sometimes are readily accepted without thorough investigation for truth. Modern media are so powerful that they are able to deceive people.
They can influence your thoughts and views about life. Film making is more than just a business or a calling; it is about influencing and transforming to be able to change the world. It is more than the value of money. Money is just an end. It won’t compensate to the changes that good films bring to its viewers. The visions created by prominent people in the industry has a profound or tremendous impact in our society, inspiring, motivating, and transforming people’s lives for the better. This is one of the few industries that are gifted with the opportunity and responsibility to change our society and our world.
Therefore, film makers should be responsible enough to create films or movies that inspire people to do well and to make a difference in their lives. This is possible if they thought of film making as more than just an arena to make profits, to become rich and famous. We, as responsible citizens on the other hand, should be vigilant and exert influence over the cultural impact of the media. We should not patronize films that portray or show violence, subversive activities, and morally degrading stories to its viewers most especially the younger ones. We have a responsibility to protect our society too, that, we should not forget.
Institutions, schools and other agencies need to exercise their cultural and social influence on these types of films too. They should condemn companies and personalities that market violence and immorality to viewers, young and old. This is the only way that we can declare war to irresponsible investors and artists. When we are vigilant to these types of propaganda and activities, we can’t certainly be affected or influenced by the film maker’s thoughts, values, ideas and beliefs and our traditional culture will not be in any way, structured by their concepts of the Modern American Culture.