When a dot com founder and a real estate developer can bankroll successful movies for profit or for noble social goals, then the movie studios better watch their backs. They have more than the writers’ strike to worry about in a power shift that L.A. Times reporter, Patrick Goldstein predicts will crack open the movie business to further ground-breaking alliances (and inspire you to create your own.)
Like other hyphenates (as Marci Alboher knows), the writer-director of “Michael Clayton,” Tony Gilroy, was thrilled with the opportunity to use his multiple talents – and add one – “entrepreneur” to his tool-kit.
Notes Goldstein, “Hollywood is a town awash in hyphenates. TV is loaded with writer-producers. The movie biz is full of writer–directors. There’s even a legion of actor-filmmakers like Clint Eastwood and George Clooney … .
Visiting a UCLA film class the other night, I was asked to name the most influential filmmakers of our era. The choices were pretty obvious: Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, John Lasseter, George Lucas. . . . As the names spilled out, I realized they all have something in common. They’re filmmaker-entrepreneurs, artists-turned-businessmen who helped start their own companies to further their work, became financially independent and created a world that operates under a radically different set of rules from the vacuous studio assembly lines. It’s telling that the current strike is about new media yet both sides seem to be following old-school models.
… 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. If the last couple of weeks are any indication, with clips from out-of-work comedy writers popping up every day, the Web could be littered with new must-see video sites by Christmas. Remember: After barely a year in existence, YouTube was bought by Google for $1.65 billion. On the Internet, good ideas travel fast.
‘The world is about to change,’ (writer-director) Scott 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. I ask myself every week — why aren’t we all working with them? Look at the movies they’ve made. They are the new Medicis.’”
Marc Andreessen’s blunt assessment of the seismic power shift in how creatives and entrepreneurs will be able to work on a larger stage is reflected in the “suicide by strike” that is hastening the “rebuilding Hollywood in Silicon Valley’s image.”
Opportunities will explode for entrepreneurs and creative folks who can work with people extremely unlike them – and not just in movie-making.
As Mathew McCall wrote on AlwaysOn, “The writers’ strike, and the studios’ response to the strike, may radically accelerate a structural shift in the media industry — a shift of power from studios and conglomerates towards creators and talent.” And, echoing Dan Pink’s prediction (good news for non-mogul creative folks), “the current B2C phase we are in has dropped the cost for start-ups and has shifted more of the power to the “creators.”
Just yesterday an amazing team of hyphenates announced a new movie, under development ironically about someone who “straddles two worlds”, Bobby Martinez, “one of the top professional surfers and the first Mexican-American on the world tour. “