Movie Money Confidential has the potential to be an unofficial field guide for aspiring filmmakers everywhere. Chronicling the trials and tribulations of film production, this documentary takes a detailed look at the business of bringing new ideas to life. Directed and written by veteran filmmaker Rick Pamplin, the film dives deep into the visceral concept of perseverance. Interviewing Hollywood mainstays like Burt Reynolds, Louise Levison, and Scott duPont, the modus operandi for this picture is all about making money and, more importantly, raising it.
Through the colorful background of his interviewees, Pamplin conveys the harsh realities of rejection, risk, failure, and success. He depicts show business for what it is: joy giving and joy taking. It’s a profession that is as rewarding as it is frustrating and one that remains incredibly volatile. As cliche as movies can be, so too can be the process of making them: victory, defeat, and everything in between. Taking us through each stage of production, the film articulates an unspoken theme: drive. This is an attempt at motivation, where Pamplin and Co. implore the viewer (if they’re so inclined ) to find something worth fighting for, whether it be a story, idea, or simple belief.
“…all about making money and, more importantly, raising it.”
Where Movie Money Confidential falters comes by way of the overall aesthetic. Although the content expressed is rock solid, what we see never quite matches that undeniable energy. Generic, predictable, and by the book, Pamplin preaches innovation but does nothing to reinvent the standard trappings of boring documentary filmmaking. The biggest issue becomes predictability, and although slickly produced and informative, the doc can never shake its own worst nightmare: unoriginality.
Interestingly though, pathos is found during the introduction of young creatives. Depicting today’s children as a group of true individuals on their way to shining brightly. The overall message of these sequences serves as a generational retrospective on genuine inspiration. The documentary isn’t afraid to tell it like it is and communicates the harsh realities between independent and commercial filmmaking. Where independent films have room to grow into their artistry, commercial films must make money no matter the cost — regardless of ethnicity, background, or politics. Those reasons tend to be the very tentpoles that hamstring big-budget movies these days and potentially come between an audience and true entertainment.
In the end, we find that raising money is an odd thing. Some people love asking for it. Others couldn’t hate it more. Inspiring confidence in that process is exactly what Movie Money Confidential attempts to do, though at times, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. No matter, as it certainly provides a lot to think about. Nothing is off-limits.
"…certainly provides a lot to think about."