One of the most interesting things about being a filmmaker is the need to understand a very difficult concept in human relational development: Intra-Dependence.
In the book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the author talks about the personal evolution of people. We start as infants in a state of Dependence, where we rely on others exclusively, but, as we grow older, hopefully, we mature into a state of Independence. (Those who do not, usually grow into a state of Co-Dependence, where bare survival requires other people or programs. Co-Dependence tends to alienate the healthy relationships that these individuals might otherwise enjoy and then further causes them to lean and rely on those they are Co-Dependent upon, further removing them from Independence.)
As people move into a state of Independence they live on their own for a time and learn how their work habits effect their ability to provide for themselves. Independent people often have friends, but they don't like to rely on anyone outside of themselves if they feel like they don't have to. As such, there is the safety of not having to rely on anyone else, but their ability to produce is limited to their own means.
Beyond Independence, however, is the state of Intra-Dependence. These are individuals who have become fully Independent, but realize that they are better with others than alone. They can do more complex things and have more success if they're efforts are paired with others. Unlike Co-Dependent people, who tend use up more resources than even Dependent people, intra-dependent people are able to create new resources that couldn't be achieved otherwise and give back to society. A good way to understand the concept of intra-dependence can be seen in the animal kingdom through Oxen. Oxen can be very independent and a single ox can haul a ton of cargo. While this is not a bad amount of personal capability, it pales in comparison to what happens if you put just TWO oxen in a harness. Some might think that two could pull two tons or, at the most, 4 tons. The reality is that two oxen can pull 16 tons!!
Last year, we interviewed Mike Monello, one of the producers on The Blair Witch Project, and he stated that, when they sold the film to Artisan for a million dollars, they only had 1000 people on their mailing list. However, because they were all so engaged and invested within the franchise's mythology, the film would make more than $100,000,000 in the US and close to half a billion worldwide.
This fusion makes sense, because low-budget filmmakers have been forced to discover the facts of intra-dependence in a way that is fairly unique. Because there isn't a bunch of money to throw around to find and hire people, they have to collect people at a similar level of intra-dependence throughout their filmmaking career. Those who are able to do so successfully are able to keep doing this and making an impact in society, even if their films aren't bought for a million dollars and go on to make half a billion. Moreover, one of the coolest things about seeing intra-dependent filmmakers is that they tend to help birth intra-dependent creative communities. These communities then give their individual members the abilities to do things they never could otherwise.
For example, David Grelck (White Out) helps spearhead a community out of Chicago that makes films and each of the members helps out regularly in the other members productions, so that the quality of their productions keeps getting better and better as people get to try new roles. Unlike Auteur filmmakers, who are seen as having such a powerful singular presence that they force a film in a certain direction, communal filmmakers move together as a group. This leads to more harmony, fewer hurt feelings, and continually improving quality, even if an individual director might not be as strong as others!
As many of you may know, here at MFM, we're spearheading the World of Depleted Creative Community, which is an intra-dependent creative movement that has a special emphasis for filmmakers. However, because we don't limit it to filmmakers, but encourage writers, artists, musicians, and many others to get involved, we also help provide extra building blocks to make the filmmaking process easier and more fun for people who don't perhaps have as many intra-dependent people that they have access to within their local communities. In the process, we've worked to establish the World of Depleted Contributor community, which has many of the online community abilities that you see in Facebook or Google+, but with a more central focus and with a lot less esoteric elements thrown in!
While World of Depleted is definitely an exploratory community, it has been marvelous to see how people discovering other intra-dependent people can help their creativity flourish. New factions that could work well in role playing scenarios have triggered people to move into new stories and new art and new photography! Some have even gone a step further. One of our contributors actually recorded a new audio piece for Depleted in the midst of Hurricane Irene when she was bunkered up in her basement. In her mind, the reality of the situation she was already in provided extra authenticity to her performance and because she was invested in the world we're exploring, she thought to contribute even in a moment of fear. For people to become so inspired is an honor and I look forward to seeing what other stories come to light as we move forward!