Tag Archives: Film Industry

They Like Me, They Really Like Me… But not as Best Picture

Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka the people behind the Oscars) announced they were adding a “Best Popular Movie” category.

(I mean, it’ll probably be called “most bestest outstanding achievement in popular film” or something like that, but you know what I mean).

On the one hand, it’s their awards and award process, so change away. On the other hand, why shouldn’t they tweak and adjust and change their award categories and methodology as they have just about every decade?

(By the way, I absolutely think one of the tweaks should be adding “Best Stunt Choreography” category — and no, you don’t need to eliminate any of the other awards to add that).

But on the third hand –and it’s really better you don’t ask where the third hand comes from– there’s something of a whiff of desperation simultaneously coupled with a complete lack of understanding of why the general public does or doesn’t find the Oscars relevant that really should have been resolved during The Dark Knight “lack o’ Best Picture nom kerfuffle.”

(An article in Variety appears to validate that there is some desperation involved).

It sounds like a bad idea to me… and it also sounds like a bad idea to Vox’s Todd VanDerWerff who has many thoughts on the subject. I agree with many of them, including the notion that maybe it’ll not turn out to a bad idea.

Their track record at nominating worthy “genre films” for Best Picture does not reinforce that notion however.

UPDATE: The crew at Vox came up with 6 categories to introduce rather than “Best Popular Film” and I’m happy to say it includes one for stunt choreography. I generally am down with all the categories. I think the “Best First Film” would really bring some excitement into the proceedings the same as I see similar awards in other places. The one caveat I’d suggest from chatting about the categories on social media is that the “Best Motion Capture Peformance” should be awarded to the performer and the lead artists/animators. I think that’d be a cool way to remind people of the team creative effort it is.

Increasingly, Netflix Prefers Its Shows Homemade

Netflix is spending billions of dollars each year on content, so –love ’em or hate ’em– it’s usually good to know what they’re up to.

Adam Levy, over at the Motley Fool, has a piece that goes over Netflix’s drive to spend billions in creating original content is actually trying to save money in the long run (even if Fools don’t think Netflix is going to be truly “50% originals” as sometimes reported).

For indie filmmakers, definitely check out the last paragraph relating to I.P.

Indie Film Financiers

One filmmaker friend I know is fond of saying that “How do I find the money to make my film?” isn’t just a indie filmmaker’s question, it’s the question.

So granted, the odds of you being in a room –or even an elevator– with them are probably not the greatest, but just in case, here’s Hollywood Reporter‘s list of 25 financiers who could actually greenlight and bankroll your feature.

(My one friend, meanwhile, is not one to sit around and wait. Never wait. He’s decided to organize a “shark tank for filmmakers” set in August later this year.

Oh, and if you’re thinking of crowdfunding your next indie opus, another filmmaker friend has your back with a course on Lynda.com.

Princes Come and Princes Go… same with TV Shows

So I was just posting about pilot season this morning, it seemed only right to mention the other end of the lifecycle.

As is usual, Vox has a rundown of all the shows that have been cancelled or come to a natural end, those that have been renewed, and your favorite show which is on the bubble.

I’m mainly concerned about the uncertain fate of The Expanse, but it probably is better situated on a streaming service anyway. Still, if one of them could pick it up soon…

Hollywood Pilot Season & Casting

Every Spring, I get social media posts –usually very vague ones– from friends closely involved with “Pilot Season,” that period every year where writers, actors, and others hope to get staffed on potential TV shows that will go from potential to actual (i.e., they get “picked up” and move into production for additional episodes).

The Hollywood Reporter polled a bunch of casting executives about their thoughts on this season. I guess I missed it because, up until last week, it really didn’t feel like Spring. Nevertheless, I still found it interesting and perhaps you will too.

 

The Show is Dead. Long Live the Show.

Okay, so what with streaming services, shorter TV seasons, and season premieres popping up whenever there’s a quiet moment, this list from the Hollywood Reporter doesn’t carry the same import, but I still find it interesting look over what’s been renewed, what’s ending, and what’s precariously on the bubble in terms of TV shows.

Peak TV, Sci-Fi Edition

Somewhat riffing off my post from Wednesday, I’m once again considering our current golden age of television (aka Golden TV Age II: Serial Storytelling Boogaloo).

There’s so much great television to check out, there are whole series that have come and gone that I haven’t gotten to yet.

Alison Herman over at The Ringer delves into what this means for science fiction –and “genre fiction” in general– as they hold greater sway over pop culture on both the big and small screen (and yes, the screen definitions are becoming more moot in some ways). It raises many big and small questions. For example, will people who’ve read the Silmarillion more than once feel vindicated by Amazon’s 4,000 Tolkien series? Will Adam Savage make another appearance on The Expanse? Will I ever get around to watching more than the first episode of Lost?

As always, stay tuned.

The Hollywood Spec Script, RIP

Columnist Chris Erskine has a humorous, but not inaccurate assessment of  the state of the venerable spec script: the thing Hollywood doesn’t like at all…. until it loves it.

I really want to see the Scriptnotes crew comment on this.

Questions of Quality and Quantity in Prestige TV

So now that summer is over, including that show with the dragons, you may be wondering, “What shows are actually coming back this year?”

Jen Trolio and Caroline Framke over at Vox have answers.

This is one of those perennial Vox pieces I’m glad they do every year, because there’s a lot of shows. In fact, some might say there’s a glut of shows out there, which has led to occasional questions of whether we’re at “peak TV.”

Incidentally, I previously linked to a piece discussing what “peak TV” might mean anyway, but I find the way Variety tracks it is works for me: the number of scripted series. The concern, then, is not necessarily that we would exhaust the supply of talented storytellers making the various series, but that the series become so numerous that too many of them fail to find an audience and economic security (i.e., continued survival).

Todd VanDerWerff explores this more in-depth (also in Vox), including both the cyclical nature of notions of TV being horrible and then wonderful as well as the ways in which the quantity of media coverage on a particular TV show does not necessarily track to its quality.

This Summer Means Hollywood is Doomed…. Again

Every summer –for at least a decade or more– the Hollywood film industry has been doomed.

I would imagine they must get sick of all the doom, what with being doomed with the advent of television, the disintegration of the studio system, the rise of VCRs and video stores, online streaming, streaming services like Netflix making their own content — and possibly avocado toast.

Nevertheless, within the traditional ‘doom’ narrative, there may be trends, so I read a recent piece by David Sims in The Atlantic with interest about Hollywood’s “bad movie problem.” Just like last year, there seem to be a slew of high-profile blockbusters that underperformed domestically. This year, however, Sims hypothesizes that executives are running out of gas with their strategy of mining known IP for all its worth regardless of demand. He bases this not a generic “doom” observation, but that the studios are using tactics internationally, specifically the Chinese market, that are netting less overall profit. Oh, and the films are still doing bad domestically (ahem: bad movies).

Indeed, over in the Hollywood Reporter, Scott Roxborough and Patrick Brzeski detail the wave of political slings and arrows that may sour all the Chinese-American film synergy. Moreover, several of the media monoliths now owned by Chinese concerns are experience firsthand on their balance sheets what it means for North American box office revenues to slide. In fact, John Nolte over at The Daily Wire suggests that, yes, it really is a bad movie problem. The American viewing public has figured this out and both box office and home video revenues are slumping accordingly.

So is this the Final Doom?

I mean, Spielberg released the BFG, so maybe…

It strikes me that movies and related “more passive” visual entertainment are still a potent pop culture delivery device. They’ll be around for quite some time until companies figure out how to make virtual reality more economical and interwoven with our habits like turning on the TV in the evening or going to films on weekends. If or when that happens, expertise in films and such will likely pour into those interactive productions. The companies that exist today could definitely transform into interactive powerhouses through building up their own capabilities or through acquisitions.

Though, frankly, I love films and TV as-is and hope there’s always going to be a place for them (same with books as my bulging bookshelves can attest). And I hope some of the studios pick up on what Sims pointed out in his article: that some of the best grossing films so far this year have been non-franchise original works… that not coincidentally didn’t cost as much to produce.

Tune in for a similar article next summer!