Whether or not you liked Napolean Dynamite, here me out. I think there are things all of us writers can learn from Jared and Jerusha Hess.
I personally think they are pretty much comedic geniuses. I watched Gentlemen Broncos the other night and basically spent two straight hours laughing my guts out.
Here's the thing. The two of them know exactly what they're doing. All of their movies have the same slow, gloriously awkward almost mockumentary feel. They work hard to perfect their specific craft, and its found its audience. A wide one.
I also just love their story. I love hearing about independent artists who just did such great work on their own weird little thing and found just enough luck that it exploded out of its niche and became this huge thing, and that's exactly what happened with Napoleon Dynamite. Nobody expected it to become what it became. But because Jared and Jerusha knew what they were going for, kept creative integrity and were business savvy, things worked out brilliantly. And that success allowed them to keep that ball rolling with Nacho Libre, where they were even able to bring in big name actors like Jack Black.
So whether or not the odd feel of their movies sits well with you, their combination of creative integrity and industry know-how is something we can all learn from. We can work hard to make our own weird little things more widely marketable, and still keep them our weird little things. That way we will find out niche, and with a dash of luck, our niche will explode.
I can't leave without one more plug for Gentlemen Broncos. I do think it may be their best movie, and I don't know why nobody's heard of it. And since it's about writers, it may interest some in this crowd. Do yourself a favor and just watch the trailer: