Here’s an odd thought about selling out. It may be nothing more than a generation gap between an artist and his fans. It seems to happen when the artist (but not the fans) get into their late twenties and early thirties. It’s at that time in life where a person’s thinking switches from conquest to security.
In your teens and early twenties, it’s all about presense and conquest. People have said that kids are more willing to do something stupid because they think they are invunerable; I disagree. Those in their teens are early twenties less to lose. If I don’t like my boss, I can quit my job. If I can’t pay the rent, I can live out of my car. If you make a bad choice, the only person you hurt is yourself. Using the paraphrase the old quote, “Those with nothing to lose are the most free.”
Now you move the same individuals and let them move into their late twenties and thirties. At this point, they have most of them have paired off with someone, and many of those have started to have children. Conquest is over. You are no longer fighting battles to win your true love, you are building a life around your true love and the family the two of you create. The present is still important, but now you also find yourself thinking of the future. Now you think about food, clothing, and housing as a constant. Now you are worried about doing something stupid. Now you about how they are going to handle things if your not there. Your decisions now affect you, your spouse, and children. Now you have something to lose.
Most artistist initially establish themselve in their early twenties. They achive the conquest of a career, and start building on that business or career. Most fans are about five to ten years younger than the artists. Therefore the fans are not yet old enough to truely understand the changes going on in the artist’s life. A few simple examples. Teenagers are intested in songs about getting the girl; they are not interested in songs about keeping the wife happy. Teenagers are about how it looks, not how long it lasts. Teenagers are about getting things started, not keeping them going.
Now teenagers and those in their early twenties know these concepts of adulthood, but knowing and understanding are two different things. The artist, being older, now understands these concepts, and his work changes to reflect that. The fan, being younger, does not understand the changes, and labels it the best way he can, “selling out.”
Everything that I have been talking about has been generalities. Anyone reading this forum can instantly name exceptions to everything that I have said. Since you said this was for a film project, the idea of a generation gap might give you something unique to work with.