“The Fifth Wall” is a response to the state of contemporary Hollywood.
Hollywood is a business that continues to eclipse the art, originality and storytelling that used to be—and should be—the core of what movies are. The most common justification movie executives give for the broad and banal blockbusters that dominate the box office week after week is: audiences want to escape the troubles of their lives; they don’t want to see something that “hits too close to home.”
The fact is, movies must hit close to home in order to matter. Check out the Fifth Wall Podcast in which I speak with co-founder, Paul Yates:
“The Fifth Wall” movement is actively seeking to inject more of our personal lives into our work in order to combat the artifice of Hollywood’s current output—and we are calling on other filmmakers to do the same. Hollywood used to back indie film; now, we indie filmmakers are left to fend for ourselves.
- No film can be too personal.
- All art should risk the embarrassment of the artist, and this is no different with filmmaking.
- Filmmaking is not fun—it is war!
- Ambiguity is important—however, this is not to say you should be vague. Hollywood hates ambiguity. The Fifth Wall embraces it.
- At least one main actor must be non-white.
- No sequels.
- Work with actors, not celebrities.
- Reject the rating system—it only serves the studios, not the films or filmmakers.
- If your family can afford the budget of your film, it’s probably not a Fifth Wall film.
- Each Fifth Wall film should pledge a percentage of its profit to, or in some way support, the next Fifth Wall film.
- Political correctness be damned; your characters speak for themselves.
It is the responsibility of the next generation of filmmakers to remind Hollywood that personal films last, and that impersonal films don’t; that emotion is what captivates an audience. Emotion is what drives the filmmaker to tell his or her story, it’s emotion that drives an audience to see a film, and it’s emotion that is at the heart of my next film: “No Alternative.”
Filmmakers can see the writing on the wall, so we built a new wall to write on: #TheFifthWall
William Dickerson received his Master of Fine Arts in Directing from The American Film Institute. He is a writer and director whose debut feature film, Detour, was hailed as an “Underground Hit” by The Village Voice, an “emotional and psychological roller-coaster ride” by The Examiner, and nothing short of “authentic” by The New York Times. He self-released his metafictional satire, The Mirror, which opened YoFi Fest’s inaugural film festival in 2013. He recently completed his third feature, Don’t Look Back. His award-winning work has been recognized by film festivals across the country. His first book, No Alternative, was declared, “a sympathetic coming-of-age story deeply embedded in ‘90s music” by Kirkus Reviews. His latest book, DETOUR: Hollywood: How To Direct a Microbudget Film (or any film, for that matter), is available now. He currently serves on AFI’s Alumni Executive Board and is a Faculty Member at the New York Film Academy.