1/16/2008

Voices4Action!

For the past month we've been filming interviews with writers, directors, actors, futurists, DPs, and people on the picket line, asking them to talk about the strike. Oliver Stone looked back at his years in the business, remembering how it used to be before the corporations' greed overwhelmed the movie business. Maria Maggenti told us about the importance of residuals to her career. Tony Gilroy talked about fairness. Adam Brooks about fighting for the future. The picketers outside Fox just before the holidays, called for "Action!" We've heard these ideas before, but, for us, the interviews personalized the issues of the strike.
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Voices4Action is also a place where we'll be talking about the future of story-telling in the new digital marketplaces. The congloms say they don't know how the internet will work, if there is, in fact, any money to be made on-line. Putting aside their disingenuousness, there is an honest fact that can't be denied. The internet is evolving and changing in ways difficult to predict.

The more people we talk to, the more we realize that the future is double-edged, holding great promise and challenges. We'll be casting a wide net to bring many voices to speak on this topic. In addition to people close to us (writers, directors, actors, DPs, sound mixers, teamsters, and designers), we'll also look to the outside world, to venture capitalists, technology gurus, and politicians, asking them where they think the internet will lead our business.

We don't expect to create a road map for that future, but we're hoping the voices we'll hear will inspire and energize us.

3 comments:

Glen said...

Thanks for tackling this topic. This is exactly what I was asking about in the Apple blog item below. I don't see large profit for the entertainment industry off the internet in any of the current models, but with fast change who knows.

darkflame said...

The fact that the internet is unpredictable makes me more and more confused why everyone cant agree on a percentage deal?

Surely giving the writters a minimum percentage accross all mediums would solve all problems of unpredictable revenue.

The more money the studios make online, the more the writters do too.
The less they make, the less thew writters make ect.

Seems fair to me :-/

That said, I firmly think IPTV systems are the future.
Convience always wins, and watching shows you like whenever you want, whereever you want, is going to come out on top in the end.
Probably get a mixed bag of systems, advert based, and direct paid for.

Personaly I hope for a lot more independant writters and actings saleing shows online with microtransactions.

Like the web Sci-fi "Sanctuary".

No DRM, no restrictions, you just pay for a SD or HD eppisode and get the file in a format of your choice.
The audience knows the money they pay will go mostly to the production team.

We need more online shows like that.
The question is more when we will get them to me, not if.

Glen said...

darkflame, I agree eventually a percentage deal will be made.

As for IPTV, if it's for current television, dvd recorders already let you watch when you want. That leaves movies and television backlogs. If the backlogs are on cable or syndication, you already get them free. Movies can already be downloaded for pay or free.

Long rant warning! I’ll try to explain why what I see around me tells me the industry is making some wrong plans for new media and is being hurt by new media and technology. Sure, it’s anecdotal, but so far everything we have is either anecdotal or hard sells to investors and trade shows. Take your pick.

Everyone I know who downloads does so illegally. Everyone. That’s just the way they live with the internet. They pay a lot of money for fast connections and don’t want to pay extra to download and stream as well. Once in a while, a few will put up with some advertising and stream legally if it’s for free. Bad, bad for the industry.

Not a lot of interest by most, especially younger people, in high definition television, home theaters, blu ray and so on. This is mainly bought by aging guys whose sight and hearing are going downhill and they need the extra help. These guys also have the time for television and dvd’s, as well as illegal downloading, as the time they need to devote to their work and family decreases. Not the demographic expected or hoped for.

One techie device has been adopted enthusiastically. The dvd recorder. Skipping advertising and watching when it’s convenient. Bad, bad for the television industry.

What are the studios and networks doing to change this established internet behavior and these technology blowbacks? Making deals to charge fees or subscriptions for downloads, rentals and streaming. That's just going against the tide and no way I see that working.

You know what established businesses have succeeded on the internet? Publishing. Some of it, anyway. By changing their product to be internet friendly, constructing sites in ways people actually like using the internet, namely, free content. The resulting site traffic makes it possible to sell advertising at a profit and cross promote.

The entertainment industry needs to change its internet thinking the same way. They need to create new, ad supported, internet specific content models. Otherwise they’re stuck with buying out successful internet models and hoping the buys stay successful long term.

Movies will always survive, but television will continue to decline. That’s a trend I don’t see changing. The internet and new technology are great. But they are not friends of the entertainment industry’s current planning.