Three Must Read Articles On Film’s Future

Three Articles give a lot of direction to the State of the Film Industry and here are a few quick summaries.

Article 1 – Cord Cutting

First up, an article on the massive ‘cord cutting’ that is surging through America.  These cable packages are expensive and restrictive.  You pay for 8 channels you have no interest in to get 2 channels that you really want.  That’s brazen market manipulation and the public is onto these cable manipulators  operators.   In the day and age when content delivery is immediate and anywhere, they no longer fill a market place.

22 million cable cutters by the end of 2017.  Wow!  I remember when I called to cancel my cable at Time Warner cable.  Only then did they put me on hold and offer me a deal.  Couldn’t call me up beforehand as a loyal customer and offer me a price break.  They had to make me jump through hoops to cancel – and then offer me a deal.  Well go to Hell you jerks.  Nothing makes me angrier than paying an inflated price and then get the full manipulative sales mode at the end.  Good riddance.

In 2017, a total of 22.2 million U.S. adults will have cut the cord on cable, satellite or telco TV service to date — up 33% from 16.7 million in 2016 — the researcher now predicts. That’s significantly higher than eMarketer’s prior estimate of 15.4 million cord-cutters as of the end of this year. Meanwhile, the number of “cord-nevers” (consumers who have never subscribed to pay TV) will rise 5.8% this year, to 34.4 million.

Younger audience behavior continues to drive television or drive it away actually.  The set piece viewing scheme in today’s Millenial world doesn’t cut it.

“Younger audiences continue to switch to either exclusively watching [over-the-top] video or watching them in combination with free-TV options,” said Chris Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “Last year, even the Olympics and [the U.S.] presidential election could not prevent younger audiences from abandoning pay TV.”

Original Article Here


Interchangeable Directors

Hollywood relies on Franchises more and more – Marvel, DC Comics, Harry Potter, blah, blah, blah.  But the Directors who are working on major franchises like “Star Wars” might have their own creative ideas.  And not realize that they are just cogs in the machine.  The key element in these franchise – is the franchise!  Paying attention to the structure and mythology is critical.  And nowhere is that more obvious than the Stars Wars Mythology.

And nothing tells it quite like the title of this next article:  “Directors were once the kings of Hollywood, but in the age of the franchise, they’re increasingly interchangeable”

This new reality was underscored last week when Colin Trevorrow was suddenly droppedfrom “Star Wars: Episode IX” because of creative differences; on Tuesday, Lucasfilm announced that J.J. Abrams, who directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” would take the helm.

There was a time when the replacement of someone like Trevorrow – handpicked by Steven Spielberg to direct 2015’s “Jurassic World,” a $1.67-billion-grossing hit – would have been earth-shattering news. But Lucasfilm currently has one of the highest divorce rates in the industry. In the past two years, co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were ejected from an upcoming film about Han Solo already deep into production; Tony Gilroy was reportedly brought in to assist with extensive reshoots on Gareth Edwards’ “Rogue One” and Josh Trank fell out of his planned “Star Wars” spinoff.

Instead they hired known quantities in studio directors Ron Howard an JJ Abrams.  These two know the studio drill, work with these bureaucracies and can deliver a known product.  I’m not saying that all their work is inspired.  Ron Howard’s last outing of the “DaVinci Code” series was a keen disappointment – and I generally like all his films.

Over the past several years, an unprecedented number of filmmakers, including Edgar Wright, Patty Jenkins, Michelle MacLaren, Tim Miller, Ben Affleck, Seth Grahame-Smith, Rick Famuyiwa and Cary Fukunaga, have either walked away or been ousted from highly anticipated films at varying stages of development, most citing “creative differences.”

Why are they so replaceable?  For one thing, in the Star Wars, Star Trek and Marvel world, just check out the Crew size.   It’s simply massive.  Knowing how to constantly answer questions and keep a project moving forward is quite a skill set.   Second, the previsualization crew alone was 21 members I think.  I remember counting them on “Star Trek” (2009).  That previsualization allows a lot of early discussions about the film, its look, pace, etc.,   What does that mean?  Executives have a lot more input, ideas – and probably bullshit – to throw at the trajectory of the film’s direction.  Not necessarily good if they got the job from their Uncle Tosh and they don’t know crap about making movies nor really have a passion for making them.  But they get input nonetheless.

I think that when the Directors matter less and less because the mechanics and technology speaks before a Director’s Vision.

Original Article Here.  


Article 3 – Why Hollywood As We Know It is Over.

This article from Vanity Fair saddens me.  I’m an Old School Hollywood kid.  My Aunt Molly worked in the industry and I grew up in it.  Still, technology is on the march and can’t be stopped.

With theater attendance at a two-decade low and profits dwindling, the kind of disruption that hit music, publishing, and other industries is already reshaping the entertainment business. From A.I. Aaron Sorkin to C.G.I. actors to algorithmic editing, Nick Bilton investigates what lies ahead.

Algorithmic editing.  Rather than a human feel we will get a calculated feel.  That perfect near impossible VFX shot – which is so perfect that we have no human ‘mistakes’ in its execution.  And then there’s movie attendance:

Movie-theater attendance is down to a 19-year low, with revenues hovering slightly above $10 billion—or about what Amazon’s, Facebook’s, or Apple’s stock might move in a single day. DreamWorks Animation was sold to Comcast for a relatively meager $3.8 billion. Paramount was recently valued at about $10 billion, approximately the same price as when Sumner Redstone acquired it, more than 20 years ago, in a bidding war against Barry Diller. Between 2007 and 2011, overall profits for the big-five movie studios—Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Disney—fell by 40 percent. Studios now account for less than 10 percent of their parent companies’ profits. By 2020, according to some forecasts, that share will fall to around 5 percent. (Disney, partly owing to Star Wars and its other successful franchises, is likely to be a notable outlier.)

So as Hollywood crashes, where’s the threat?  Big Data companies who can discover the interest, manipulate the advertising and deliver anytime and anywhere.

When Netflix started creating its own content, in 2013, it shook the industry. The scariest part for entertainment executives wasn’t simply that Netflix was shooting and bankrolling TV and film projects, essentially rendering irrelevant the line between the two. (Indeed, what’s a movie without a theater? Or a show that comes available in a set of a dozen episodes?) The real threat was that Netflix was doing it all with the power of computing. Soon after House of Cards’ remarkable debut, the late David Carr presciently noted in the Times, “The spooky part . . . ? Executives at the company knew it would be a hit before anyone shouted ‘action.’ Big bets are now being informed by Big Data.”

Carr’s point underscores a larger, more significant trend. Netflix is competing not so much with the established Hollywood infrastructure as with its real nemeses: Facebook, Apple, Google (the parent company of YouTube), and others.

Read this Article.  The Future is coming faster than you think.

Original Article Here.  Ugh.