Lena Dunham on Becoming a Young Independent Filmmaker (2011)

“Things in the entire landscape of films, like what it means to be a filmmaker, are completely shifting. That’s something that I became aware of really fast. It used to be that you would hear stories about people who got out of school, they’d make a short film, they’d take it to Sundance, it’s a huge hit, and suddenly they have a three-picture deal with a studio, they’re making the movies that they want to make – only on a bigger level – and that’s the dream. And, basically, that career – the entire idea of what your film career can be – has shifted. People ask me all the time whose career I admire, and who my role models are. The amazing thing is that most of the people whose careers I admire are people I admired when I was younger, like a Woody Allen or a Noah Baumbach, or even an independent filmmaker who’s gotten to make interesting kind-of-complex character studies on the studio level. Those aren’t really careers that are possible anymore because the money isn’t rolling in the same way that it used to, and studios aren’t willing to take risks in the same way. So the work that’s getting made in Hollywood becomes more and more safe, and getting a movie made … it’s no longer you have a good idea, you make a movie. Before you even get to start making the movie, there are people crunching the numbers to determine whether it would be a hit. And people are less and less willing to take chances. And also, [regarding] all of the new technology, while there’s something really wonderful about that, which is that anybody can go out and make a movie, anybody who has $1,500 can buy a camera, and even if you don’t [have $1,500], there are still so many ways to make a movie, there are so many ways to distribute your film on the internet, there are a million different platforms. So that’s all really good for people who want to express themselves, but it also makes it a lot harder to kind of break through all of the noise and get attention and figure out how to move your career forward … So all of this new technology, while incredibly exciting for young artists, is also the same thing that is making all the role models we have for what a career as a filmmaker can be totally implausible.”