The following exchange is from the article Francis Ford Coppola: On Risk, Money, Craft & Collaboration:
Artiston Anderson: How does an aspiring artist bridge the gap between distribution and commerce?
Francis Ford Coppola: We have to be very clever about those things. You have to remember that it’s only a few hundred years, if that much, that artists are working with money. Artists never got money. Artists had a patron, either the leader of the state or the duke of Weimar or somewhere, or the church, the pope. Or they had another job. I have another job. I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry. You work another job and get up at five in the morning and write your script.
This idea of Metallica or some rock n’ roll singer being rich, that’s not necessarily going to happen anymore. Because, as we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free. Maybe the students are right. They should be able to download music and movies. I’m going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?
In the old days, 200 years ago, if you were a composer, the only way you could make money was to travel with the orchestra and be the conductor, because then you’d be paid as a musician. There was no recording. There were no record royalties. So I would say, “Try to disconnect the idea of cinema with the idea of making a living and money.” Because there are ways around it.
The Breakfast Club for Writers (A 2009 article I wrote about several writers—John Grisham, Ron Bass, Elmore Leonard— who have talked about having other jobs and getting up at 5AM to write when they were staring out. Is Coppola reading this blog? Probably not, but you never know.)
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (A post I wrote in 2010. Hmmm, just maybe Coppola has read this blog.)
New Cinema Screenwriitng (part 2) (See why I called Coppola a prophet.)
Screenwriting & the Little Fat Girl in Ohio (Revisiting the classic Coppola quote)
Looking back over the years I have quoted Coppola quite a few times. Maybe I should just admit that this whole blog on screenwriting is just a ploy to have dinner with Coppola. The closest I’ve gotten so far is a bottle of Rosso. (You gotta start somewhere.) Check out his winery website where he has a sections on food, wine, travel and storytelling.
And just to come full circle, Coppola was born in Detroit, Michigan and on Monday we’ll return to the second part of my interview with Kalamazoo, Michigan writer/director Cindy Gustafson and see how she recently wrote and directed her feature debut A Chance of Rain. (A film, by the way, that at this point a year ago was sitting dormant in a drawer.).