That’s what attorney, producer and founder of Cinetic Media John Sloss said yesterday during the keynote address for the 7th annual TV and Film Finance Forum. And Sloss, whose producing credits include Boys Don’t Cry, Before Sunset, and Boyhood, thinks all that change represents an “incredible, exciting time of opportunity” for storytellers. From Indiewire:
Everything is changing. The form of the content, the way it’s being financed, the way it’s being delivered, the way it’s being consumed.
We come from a place where the two-hour narrative was king. It was the aspiration of everyone who created narratives…it was a beginning to end story… hen what came along was the 11-hour narrative that used to exist an hour a week at a certain time slot and is now being put up for view all at once occasionally…
From a creator’s standpoint, it creates an irresistible opportunity to tell a more involved dynamic, complex narrative story than the previous state of art of a two to three-hour narrative… And what’s happening is it’s causing the greatest creators to leap-frog the public viewing creation and jump straight to the small screen and it becomes a question of whether 11-hour viewing will make its way to public viewing.
Sloss, who is one of the most knowledgeable and perceptive figures on the front lines of indie filmmaking, had interesting comments about VOD, day-and-date release strategies, and other issues related to film financing. However I thought his observations about crowdfunding were especially noteworthy:
If you look at crowdfunding as not getting money for nothing or putting your hand out to people to support your pet project but as first and foremost community building around these affinity communities of the content you’re trying to produce and you go from there, you basically focus on bringing the core fans in from the inception and make part of the actual production process… Then you create a loyalty and support that is much more than just relying on fans to show up at a sneak preview.
While Sloss was delivering his keynote address, I was simultaneously giving my final lecture of the semester in my History of American Screenwriting class, then discussing the future of storytelling and new media with my 25 university students. It was a wide-ranging conversation touching on movies, TV, web series, video games, virtual reality, and more. When comparing today to the 1890s, where we began the semester, it’s clear that change is a constant throughout the history of filmmaking, whether that change is technologically, culturally, or aesthetically based. However over the decades, one thing remains the same: Content creators always have a central role in the process of producing entertainment. With the explosion of new media platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, the value of content creators may never be greater than it is today.
A final thought which I stressed with my students yesterday: Think of the internet as a distribution network. Create content, put it online, and see what happens. The right set of eyeballs can change your life.
For the rest of the Indiewire feature on John Sloss, go here.