arts & pop culture | August 08, 2013

Disrupt The Status Quo: Alissa Quart On The Perks Of Being an Outsider

"The movie business is melting down," new speaker Alissa Quart writes in Reuters. "The film theater is dying. It’s a terrible time to be a movie studio." But, as she adds, "it’s a great time to be a movie viewer." That is, if the filmmaker can even wrangle the budget required to get the movie made. Spike Lee, acclaimed director of such films as Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, and Bad 25, a tribute to Michael Jackson, recently took to crowd-funding platform Kickstarter to finance his new film. "It would've been an act of futility for me to try to pitch this to the studios at this present day," he tells NPR. "This is not a film that they're gonna make." But just because the studio might not have funded the film, doesn't mean it didn't deserve to get made—so he pursued alternative means of financing the project.

"The end of traditional moviemaking, financing and viewing is underway," Quart, author of Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers & Rebels, argues. That's not necessarily a bad thing, either. In her speeches and her book, Quart shows us that renegades and their non-traditional tactics actually hold the keys to a more creative, innovative, and competitive society. We should embrace quirkiness and outsider opinions, and, we'll usually be better off for it. Take a company like Netflix, for example. In her article, Quart showed how going against the established framework of media distribution lead to the creation of original, new content, and provided a home for independent ventures which may not have been seen by mainstream audiences without it. These alternative funding initiatives and inventive screening options also give filmmakers the ability to share their projects with the world in ways not otherwise possible. They ensure the creator can finish their work, and, that someone who will appreciate it has the ability to view it.

"This has long been the refrain of the truly independent, of course," Quart says. What's interesting today, however, is that more people are realizing that the inclusion of and identification with the edges of our society can help us all. So go ahead, disrupt the status quo. As Quart's work has shown us, we can succeed thanks to our wayward qualities and affinities, rather than in spite of them.

Quart is also the author of two other acclaimed books and has written for publications such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Newsweek. She's interviewed hundreds of mavericks, and, in her talks, she shows us how to embrace our against-the-grain characteristics and become more successful by doing so. To book Alissa Quart as an event speaker contact The Lavin Agency.

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