Saturday, 14 April 2007

Entertainment and Art

According to the Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary, entertainment is shows, performances, films, etc. that people watch for pleasure. On the other side, art is the creation and production of works when these things are considered to be beautiful or to express in a unique way a particular idea or meaning. Art objects are part of a given society's culture. Entertainment put its focus in the audience, in the public, whereas in art the focus is in artists themselves. Entertainment works are very influenced by public expectations as, well, they are created to entertain. On the other side, art creations in general are not conditioned by the public's expectations, but only by the artist or artists that perform them.

Entertainment production costs a lot of money. You have to maximize the "entertaining power" of your work for audiences as wider as possible. Entertainment works are considered a success when their audiences are large enough for the producers to recover the initial investment and some financial benefit. By definition, entertainment is closely related to marketing and distribution.

On the other side, art production is relatively cheaper. You have only to provide the means for the artist to create, to be able to complete that work that express in a unique way a particular idea or meaning. Art creation does not need neither marketing nor distribution at the scale entertainment does.

Movies can be entertainment or art, and in very very rare cases both. The focus can be put on the audiences (we have entertainment), or in providing the means for the artists to express themselves. Insofar cinema is concerned, majors' productions are the paradigm of entertainment, and (good) independent cinema is the paradigm of art.

According to the definitions above, when thinking about cinema, TV broadcasters, distributors, and theater owners are thinking about entertainment, whereas cultural departments in most governments in Europe are thinking about art.

What about film producers? Well, you cannot produce entertainment with structures, legislation and attitudes tuned up to produce art.