Hollywood Up And Comers Recognizing That The Big Gatekeepers May Be More Of A Threat Than Silicon Valley

from the fighting-the-status-quo dept

Despite the MPAA's insistence that it wants to "talk" to Silicon Valley, it still seems to think that just means getting together with Google's lobbyists in Washington DC. Thankfully, the MPAA doesn't really represent the full movie industry, and plenty of young filmmakers realize that the tech industry isn't the enemy and has been providing tons of great tools and services that up-coming filmmakers rely on every day. Some of them are realizing that perhaps the real fight is between the legacy gatekeepers and the up-and-comers... and as such, the up-and-comers should have a much closer relationship with the tech industry.

Gina Hall is a young Hollywood filmmaker who reached out to me and some others in Silicon Valley to begin this discussion, recognizing that perhaps the MPAA's claims don't match up with her best interests:
I feel like the solutions proposed from Hollywood establishment just might be in favor of the status quo rather than helping up-and-comers. Call it a hunch. So while industry bosses are distracted with their fight to sustain the old business model, I figured it might be a good time to start a series of conversations between the tech sector and young Hollywood to make some sense of the seismic shift happening in the industry.
There are a few quotes from me in that article, in which she notes that it really does seem like the tech industry is coming up with all the cool stuff that actually helps young filmmakers today -- from tools (like cheaper cameras) to services (like YouTube) to ways to monetize (like Kickstarter). Old Hollywood? Not so much:
Masnick's M.O. is disruptive innovation -- or as he describes it "how we get cool stuff." Creating cool stuff -- honestly, isn't that what most of us get in the business to do? The problem is, Hollywood isn't responsible for creating enough cool stuff these days (especially locally) to keep us all employed. A lot of the cool stuff is now coming from the tech sector with Hollywood standing idly by. In conversations with those employed with the studios, production companies and agencies around town, I've heard projects worked on self-described as "lame," "derivative," or the backhanded compliment: "Meh, at least it'll make money."
I'm looking forward to her continuing series, showing that the tech industry and young Hollywood are very much in alignment. The only real problem is with the legacy players in the business who are just looking to keep making money the way they used to, without actually changing with the market.

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  1. identicon
    Union Grip, 27 Mar 2012 @ 4:22pm

    Re: I'd like to keep my job

    Glad to see there's interest in this question. I'd like to add to and clarify my points:

    One thing I've noticed in Mike's commentary about the film business is a tendency to promote "alternative business models" to REPLACE the existing ones. I have nothing against his business models, but see them as a different strata of the market, adding to the market rather than replacing it. I would like to get him to acknowledge the difference between a $30mil movie that employs hundreds of people at family wages for months and a $30,000 straight to Internet project made by people mostly working for free or very low wages, and how this affects the economy overall.

    I'd also like to establish a distinction between "legacy gatekeepers" and "legacy industry" and note that I am also quite critical of the former while still supporting the latter. I personally have no love for the MPAA, and feel they have proven themselves unworthy of trust or respect. The best thing they could do for the industry is disband completely. It would be necessary for a similar organization to take their place but better to clean house and start fresh.

    I detect resentment from some people towards the film industry. Why? Other than being used as a pretext for passing crap like SOPA etc., how is this industry doing harm? Is not 350,000 family wage jobs better than more unemployment?

    I can also assure you we in the trenches of the industry are always painfully aware of the tenuousness of our employment. It is a boom or bust type business and I have stuck it out through lean times to get where I am. And yes, IATSE is in contract negotiations and right now the producers guild, sitting on top of record profits, is attempting to chisel away our benefits, decrease overtime and freeze cost of living raises.

    I do see value to embracing the tech world, and if I didn't stay hungry and hustle I wouldn't survive in this ultra competitive business, but I wish more techdirt commenters really understood the world of feature and network TV (dramatic series) production.

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