STARTED FROM NOTHING is blog series dedicated to the heros and icons of independent cinema. Those whose movies and stories of triumph over odds gave hope and affirmation to aspiring film makers, that they too could do it. Some of them went on to make some of the most renowned film of the last 30-40 years,some carved a niche and grew a following others simply became inspiration of others
Now there are many types of independent film makers these days, but those in this series are directors,producers that:
started their careers and made their first film with No Government Assistance, No Bank Loan, and No Studio Financing; but went on to fledging careers with, in some cases with both commercial and critical acclaim.
They either sold personal items, used credit cards , got money from family and friends or independently cut deals with financiers to get their first film made.
It’s impossible to talk about independent cinema, or indeed American Cinema, without talking about Roger Corman. He may not have started Indie Film, but he’s certainly one of the Godfathers or Dons of the movement.
Like many people in independent film, he did not study film. He was an engineering student , but soon realized like many creative people that it wasn’t for him. he graduated and went on to studied modern English Literature for a term and decided to become a screenwriter. He wrote his first script and sold it, but was horrified with the final result, he decided he wanted better, and set out to became a producer/director.
He hustled and put some capital together, and made his first two films as writer/director/producer Monster from the Ocean Floor(1954) and The Fast and The Furious(1955). The success of those two films he financed and directed on his own led a deal with American International Pictures(nee American Releasing) , he directed 53 films for them over the next 15 years.
With hundreds of movies to his credit, Corman is one of the most prolific producers the film medium has ever produced, and one of the most successful–in his nearly-six-decades in the business, only about a dozen of his films have failed to turn a profit. Corman has been dubbed “The King of the Cult Film” and “The Pope of Pop Cinema,” and his filmography is packed with hundreds of remarkably entertaining films, dozens of genuine cult classics.
TRIVIA: A running gag in Hollywood was that Corman could negotiate the production of a film on a pay phone, shoot the film in the booth, and finance it with the money in the change slot.
He has hundreds of films to his credit of varying degrees of quality,commercial success, critical acclaim and vision. Known as the King of B movies, his films aren’t exactly a benchmark for film-Making or production , making everything from High art to some say Trash, but he did it anyway.
If nothing else(those that dislike B movies), one remarkable thing about him is that :
“Corman has displayed an unrivaled eye for talent over the years–it could almost be said that it would be easier to name the top directors, actors, writers, creators in Hollywood who didn’t get their start with Corman than those who did. Among those he mentored are Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Jack Nicholson, James Cameron, Robert De Niro, Peter Bogdanovich, Joe Dante and Sandra Bullock. His influence on modern American cinema is almost incalculable. In 2009, he was honored with an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.(Culled from IMDB)”
If anyone started from nothing , to become one of the most respected figures in American Cinema, acting as the catalyst for the career of many of American Cinema’s geniuses today, it’s Roger Corman
TRIVIA: At the 1974 Academy Awards nearly every major category featured wins or nominations by “Corman School” graduates–those whom Corman had either started in the business or mentored early in their career.