Monday, November 26, 2007

Writer-Entrepreneurs

Patrick Goldstein, entertainment columnist for the Los Angeles Times, has an excellent article on the idea of writer-entrepreneurs. More evidence that the ground is shifting away from established business models.
Writers who create something rare -- a story with great, original characters that movie stars will cut their price to play -- have a real value," says Mandate production chief Nathan Kahane. "But that value doesn't get unlocked in the studio system. If writers are willing to share our risk, then we're willing to give them a lot of control and share in the profits too."

THIS kind of entrepreneurial formula couldn't have existed in the era when the studios had a stranglehold on every facet of the business, notably talent, money and distribution. But those days are gone. The stars became free agents long ago. In the last few years, with billions of private-equity dollars flooding the business, the studios have lost their lock on financing too.

All that's left is marketing and distribution. It's hard to equal the way studios launch their summer popcorn extravaganzas with a $40-million marketing blitz. But as more entertainment migrates to the Internet, where distribution is basically free to anyone with a computer, the studios will lose that monopoly as well.

"The world is about to change," Frank says. "Anyone with an Apple computer can make a movie now -- it's never been a more democratic medium. The studios should be very afraid. Once the independent financiers start going directly to writers, things could change really fast.
(link via Cinematech)

1 comment:

Mitch K said...

Indie films are getting more publicity, respect, and distribution than ever -- and it just keeps growing! Most major studios also have separate divisions for funding and/or distributing independent films. With this kind of support and without such a stranglehold by the big studios, filmmakers are making some very good true-to-life films (something that definitely lacks in the mainstream 'genre' oriented film industry).

Frank's right about technology, too! It's easy for anyone to make a film. Look at that ol' YouTube thing. Sure, there's not a lot of craft on there, but people who can entertain get a lot of hits. Audiences have so much more access and choice and variety than ever. When things are cost-effective, who can beat it? Certainly not filmmakers, and certainly not audiences.

For anyone making any kind of film, all they need to do is slap it on the internet and then they'll end up with the widest distribution available. It's amazing that some people have found a way to make money off of offering something for 'free'.

Sorry, I got off topic. I'll end this by saying that 'Indie' is most definitely on the fast track.