How to Improve Hollywood: 9 Experts Weigh In on the Future of Film

January 4th, 2013 by

TheWrap with this intriguing article:

At the dawn of 2013, Hollywood is edging toward cautious optimism. The box office is set to shatter domestic records and the home-entertainment sector is poised to grow after five years of losses.

A year ago, TheWrap asked six experts the daunting question: How do we fix Hollywood? This year, we reached out to a new set of thought leaders across the spectrum of the movie business to ask:

How do we make sense of the changing landscape? And what trends are emerging as a new year dawns?

From “Paranormal Activity” producer Jason Blum to Black List founder Franklin Leonard to Film Nation CEO Glen Basner, here’s what they had to say:

Some excerpts:

CHRIS MCGURK
CEO, Cinedigm

We’re entering a period of tremendous upside for the independent film business. Finally things are coming together in terms of digital technology.

The cost of making a movie that’s worthy of theatrical release is now a hell of a lot less than it was a few years ago, and the profusion of digital services like Netflix and Hulu and Amazon is reaching a critical mass.

They’re in an arms race for content, and that’s creating a perfect storm for independent film.

CATHERINE PAURA
Founder and CEO, Capstone Global Marketing & Research Group

Don’t forget about the old people.

When we started the National Research Group 35 years ago, moviegoing was a young person’s domain. Older people went to the movies, but we stopped sampling after the age of 49. The target audience ranged from teenagers to the late 40s. Now it goes up to the mid-60s.

It first became clear moviegoing was getting older in the late ’90s, when older people didn’t stop going to the movies like the generations before them. It reflects that Baby Boomer population, which has always been a huge population — and still goes to the movies.

FRANKLIN LEONARD
Founder, the Black List

I spend a lot of time thinking about data and how data can be used to improve the film business. One way that seems both obvious and interesting is making movies that already have an audience.

Hollywood typically assumes that means, “Oh there’s a built-in audience for this board game.” That’s wrong. It means determining ways to identify audiences for specific subjects or ideas via the internet, social media and surveys.

If you have a piece of material and you want to get butts in the seats, how do you identify and communicate with that audience and convince them to leave their house, pay to go to a movie and sit there and watch it?

We’re talking about something besides billboards and trailers on television. Whether it be with Twitter, Facebook or people with Netflix viewing logs, there are more direct ways to communicate with those people and remind them, “Hey there’s this thing coming out tonight you might be interested in seeing.”

The Obama campaign did a remarkable job of identifying potential voters and converting them into actual voters. If the industry looked at all potential viewers like that, it could bump up not only domestic box office but also revenue streams further down the line.

Okay, now put on your ‘expert’ cap: What do you see as the future of film?

For more of TheWrap article, go here.

2 thoughts on “How to Improve Hollywood: 9 Experts Weigh In on the Future of Film

  1. I posted this about comics (both digital and print) , but many of the problems facing that media are applicable to movies and other longform entertainment. Here goes:

    1. We now have Kickstarter and other funding sites. Great…

    2. We also have many digital distribution options. Another leg in the media growth tripod is set. But…

    3. We need advertising partners, or perhaps promotional partners to invest long-term in media development. Yes, product placement – but also just straight up “Brought to you by…” advertising.

    4. We also need to rethink how a movie is structured, released, etc… We need a return to some traditions – and a complete hosing off of others.

    5. Movies need to be consumer oriented – that is, they need to be in the consumer’s hands any way the consumer wants when they want. (Part of the distribution equation that needs to be resolved and soon before it’s too late).

  2. One major issue that Hollywood is going to have going forward is that it cannot control the narrative of it’s stars anymore. The real magic trick of the business is in the creation of celebrities and glamour.

    Edward J. Epstein noted that studios create audiences first and then sell them something. This is the formula with stars. Create a fan base – then sell that fan base something.

    Celebrity creation is as old as the business itself and the whole idea of “celebrity” is really coming into it’s own these days. Andy Warhol was so right. Now is when he was talking about.

    Film needs stars. Stars are starting to come from anywhere and without the help of Hollywood. Couple that with the ability to produce extremely high quality entertainment for very cheap AND deliver it to audiences and you have a recipe for disaster for the old way.

    Someone will become a star on their own. Someone will make a movie with that star in it that everyone wants to see. That will catch on. It’s anybodies game at that point.

    That’s the future of film I think.

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