The present and future of post production business and technology | Philip Hodgetts

Jul/13

17

Is “Hollywood” worth saving?

Although I want to believe change will happen, experience tells me that change happens much more slowly than I generally expect. So I don’t expect much short-term change to the “Hollywood” studio model, but I do see that there’s a lack of direction. Sequels and franchises borrowed from elsewhere, to push the tentpole model, isn’t the creative industry it can be. (Many, many very creative people make these films, but the ideas seem repetitive.)

Well, Erik Lokkesmoe wonders Is Hollywood Worth Saving?

It’s a long article and not easy to sum up, so I recommend reading it in its entirety but here’s an excerpt to wet your appetite.

No one inside Hollywood can answer the question: what are we about?

Outside of Hollywood, few are sticking around to wait for the response. The audience is driving head-snapping changes – from demanding “anywhere, anytime” viewing to embracing indie films created with Macs and Final Cut Pro by filmmakers who are democratizing Hollywood in places like Lexington and Littleton. It used to be that filmmakers came to town with scripts; now they come with completed features.

Most of the industry is determined to have nothing to do with change. It is a company town driven by self-preservation; innovation and risk live five hours to the north in Silicon Valley. You quickly learn that you are only as good as your last movie. You conform, play it safe, or risk marginalization.

This 100-year-old Hollywood system remains in place not because it works but because no one dares propose anything different. Consider how many executives have worked their way up to the corner suite only to find that everything they learned is no longer a viable solution: critics and television ads are losing influence, stars aren’t selling tickets, and your target audience is now splintered across ten thousand blogs. The execs just want to hang on for a few more years, and then sneak out the back door before making too many mistakes.

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10 comments

  • Terry S. · July 17, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Hi Philip. I think Hollywood is just dry as far as stories go. Plus they are looking at the money-making potential rather than communicating and showcasing creative storytelling. Most new subjects are coming right off the bestsellers novel list in publishing i.e. Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild, & Cloud Atlas (an ambitious film & one hell of an editorial feat). Anyway it seems they just want to milk the big franchises for every dollar they can get, regardless how bad the stories are.

  • TonyB · July 17, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Feature films won’t die, filmmakers will continue to tell stories but the traditional theatrical model cannot be sustained in the era of “anywhere, anytime” demand. Boutique screens here and there will continue presenting “spectacles,” but movie houses as we have known them will go the way of pay telephones.

    We’re a vastly different audience than existed during Hollywood’s heyday, and the studios should have figured that out by now.

    • Author comment by Philip · July 17, 2013 at 3:29 pm

      Nobody suggested feature films would disappear, just the Hollywood studios. Personally I think movie houses – cinemas – will be fine while people date!

  • k spahr · July 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Forget Hollywood – here’s where it’s at:

    http://lancaster.craigslist.org/crg/3886857547.html

    ” Solar Boat Chronicles (Lancaster)
    Looking for someone to film and to participate in the journey of the first solar-powered boat to traverse the entire length of the Great Loop. The right person will be part of Skipper Jim Greer’s crew as it travels the waterway for over 6,000 miles in search of the intriguing, the beautiful, and the bizarre–all in hopes of creating a reality show/travelogue that will be picked up by a network. We are looking for someone who is alive to adventure, is willing to be seen on camera, is comfortable talking to people, and can handle a camera well. Boating experience is a plus. There is no guaranteed compensation for the position–beyond room and board on the boat–but if the show sells, each crew member will share in the proceeds of the sale. If you are interested and have a few months free, please check out site at http://www.solarboatchronicles.com then call Jim at ***-***-****.”

    Sorry, just had to post it…

    • Author comment by Philip · July 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Of course, it is my most sincere advice not to get involved with this project. I know this from experience. Contact me directly for more details. Kevin, you’re a stirrer!

      However, you are right – there’s a lot more production going on outside “Hollywood” than inside, but that’s still not really the point of this article.

  • AndrewK · July 18, 2013 at 12:06 am

    If ‘Hollywood’ goes away then who will fund and create all the movies that people enjoy watching on Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon streaming, etc.,? Maybe this Hollywood will die and a new one will rise from the ashes but the big money required to make the entertainment people want will have to come from somewhere. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    It’s interesting that Erik says to “kill the middle class movie” because the video game industry is in a similar situation (game development is drifting towards huge budget or no budget) and the shrinking ‘middle class’ in gaming is seen as a problem that’s hurting the industry as a whole.

    He also said,”In a perfect world a movie would be available on every device, every screen at the same time. Mobile. VOD. iTunes. Netflix. Theaters. DVD.” but there in lies a huge problem. Theaters, VOD, streaming, DVD sales, cable rights, network TV rights, etc., all want their release windows to maximize their profits and many times it’s pre-selling distribution rights that give films the funding they need so… the rats nest relationship between movie making and movie distribution continues.

    Erik makes some good points but others I feel like gloss over a complex relationship between dozens of companies across the globe that has evolved over the last century. All of that will not be undone in a day.

  • Author comment by Philip · July 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Well, Netflix, Amazon and Google are already NOT hollywood studios and they’re already funding TV series. There are more movies made not funded by “Hollywood Studios” now than are being made.

    If there’s a demand, there will be a source of funding. But the inefficiencies and lack of imagination in Hollywood will kill it.

    I’m amazed how many people feel they can comment when their comments only prove they never actually read the article.

    • Author comment by Philip · July 18, 2013 at 9:27 am

      Not you AndrewK, you clearly read the article, but so many others didn’t. (And generally don’t before commenting.)

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