Frank Pierson's commencement address to USC Film School is stirring, but has more rhetoric than answers:
We have to remind ourselves that this viewer is only another aspect of ourselves, that we have also in us-as he does-a better part, that needs to be cultivated and to express itself. There is no single audience with a single personality. There is the larger audience-currently under-served-that has vast variety of appetites that we can, we must, satisfy. [...]
Our defense is the farmers' market, the yard sale, the auctions. We had hopes for the Internet, but that's being turned into a marketing tool. In the field of entertainment and the arts our last defense may be Tivo and the remote control.
Liberal critics have raised the alarm over corporate censorship, the exclusion from theaters and TV of anything except what seems marketable and the eliminations of anything that might offend somebody anywhere. But the danger of censorship in America is less from business or the religious right or the self righteous left, than to self-censorship by artists themselves, who simply give up. If we can't see a way to get our story told, what is the point of trying? I wonder how many fine, inspiring ideas in every walk of life are strangled in the womb of the imagination because there's no way past the gates of commerce? [...]
You are now our future, and this is the challenge you face. It is a bigger challenge than it seems because you cannot recapture something you never knew. It is your gargantuan task to create this spirit out of thin air, in the face of resistance and lack of interest, in your own style and out of your own imagination. Something new and as yet unknown.
I'm ready when you are