Monday, October 12, 2009

Party Like It's 1993

Is it just me, or is a lot of the current conversation about the future of film distribution very similar to the discussions folks had in the early 90s about the future of the Web?

I have a book about the "future of art" on my shelf, printed just as the World Wide Web came along. Its predictions are completely wrong. I remember all the excitement about media moving to CD-R. That's faded away, though you could certainly do that today easily -- but no one wants to. And I remember many people who were very adamant that they would never read on a computer screen or buy online. Others said they'd never visit a page with advertising.

I streamed a live video conference in 1997, put streaming video online not that long after that, and have made a lot of work for the Web -- so I'm not surprised by the changes that have happened.

What I don't get, the part that is surprising to me, is how flat-footed people in the film production world have been caught by the changes. I think it's being explained in the wrong terms: it's not that you can't make a film, and it's not that you can't distribute a film. Those things are actually easier than ever. The problem is that they no longer make financial sense. The financial system in place works fine at a certain scale, but doesn't work under the new conditions. There's pressure to make Transformers 8 or a YouTube video of your hamster.

The stuff in the middle -- the good stuff -- needs a new model.

1 comment:

The Future Of Movies said...

Hey Ted,

I am just as shocked that so many in the film world have been caught off guard. There are some interesting opportunities out there though. I have written a few recent posts about this very thing, if you care to check it out: