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5by5 | The Critical Path #31: Greenlighting

Horace talks to Mike Schneider, a feature film development executive about what development means in the context of filmmaking. We cover the changes the development process faces, the impact of technology on business models and the future role of development in a more integrated film value chain.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #31: Greenlighting.

  • http://twitter.com/onemikey Mike Schneider

    Ju

  • Mark J.

    These bug me: 
    – Is the movie industry fleeing upmarket by investing heavily in 3D, Multi-/Megaplex theaters and special effects heavy productions? 
    – Is TV doing mostly and successfully the same with high quality scripted programs? 
    – Is Youtube the market for low priced or free programs distributed over the net that could themselves move upmarket and fill a void? I can’t see anybody making money here, but what if that does not matter but it functions as a premarket for testing new low budget approaches to entertaining a larger audience? 
    – Does reality TV represent the last effort by the traditional TV industry to keep this from happening?

    • sigaba

      The movie industry fled upmarket when televisions found their way into everyone’s home.  There was a resurgence when home video created a market for tapes, which is why everyone who grew up in the 80s has memories of pervasive low-budget genre films coming out of their ears.  The theatrical environment in the 50s and 60s was quite different — there were independent films and genre films but they weren’t making the kind of money studios needed to justify the business model, only “blockbusters” and the sort of mass-appeal films that Hollywood developed in the 70s and 80s could do that.

      Coincidentally, I was watching a documentary last night on Robert Lippert, and he was a great example of a guy who came into production mainly to create content for ahis theater business, and would spend maybe 10% the budget of an A-feature and shoot six movies a year on 7-day shooting schedules, several movies at once with the same cast on the same sets.A major problem with theatrical distro was illustrated by an issue he had with the one film he directed, Last of the Wild Horses, where it was 86 minutes long but he was losing money shipping it to theaters because you couldn’t fit an 86-minute movie into one film can, it had to ship in two; in his case he cut a few minutes off the movie, but for most filmmakers that’s not a realistic option.  Television won in no small part because the marginal cost of putting a show in the next person’s house was nothing, but the TV network could still charge advertisers the full price for that next viewer’s eyes.

      Is Youtube the market for low priced or free programs distributed over the net that could themselves move upmarket and fill a void?

      Viewer time void?  Sure.  Producer revenue void?  Left to be seen, probably not, based on the last few years of experience.  They could both coexist but not without a firm copyright regime to protect the TV business model —  if you don’t have that, TV is “disrupted” and you’re left with the more interesting problem of figuring out where the pieces fall after that.

  • sigaba

    Just throwing it out there, but the movie-theater-as-communal-experience comes from the original venue for movies, which were as the bottom of a bill or interstitial entertainment on concert hall, vaudeville and minstrel programs in the 19-teens, and those have an established tradition going back to the 18th century.

    Film replaced vaudeville because the perception was that film allowed people with little money to spend to see the best performers possible, spending their money to see the world’s best actor, instead of Kansas City’s best duck caller, which would have filled the bottom of a vaudeville bill before the movie projector.

  • professortom

    Hey Horace,

    When I listened to this show a week or so ago, I started thinking of answers to some of the questions that you had and resources that I could refer you to. I thought about listening to the episode again and making a comprhensive comment so that all Asymco.com students could benefit, but then I didn’t want to expend the effort if it wasn’t needed.

    I think that you’re smart enough that you’ve more than begun to see the picture (pun intended) of how the film business works and how it can be disrupted, espeically now that you’ve spoken to Dan Abrahms twice and also your conversations with Hoon Lee and Mike Schneider. And what you haven’t filled in with The Critical Path you’ll surely fill in with Asymconf. (My apologies for not being able to attend Asymconf I.)

    I should note that I am not in the industry, just a film enthusist looking to one day break in; however, the case could be made that it is just as important if not more important to hear from those outside of the industry as those that are outside of an industry are usually better poised to disrupt the incumbents.

    If you’re interested in my sources and thoughts, let me know where to put them so that they can be of the most benefit to yourself, Asymo.com readers and The Critical Path listeners.

    Cheers,
    PT

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      The trouble is with the “breaking in”. If an industry is healthy and open to innovation, it does not need “breaking” to be in it. Most of the world has moved on from the age of guilds.

  • professortom

    Hey Horace,

    When I listened to this show a week or so ago, I started thinking of answers to some of the questions that you had and resources that I could refer you to. I thought about listening to the episode again and making a comprhensive comment so that all Asymco.com students could benefit, but then I didn’t want to expend the effort if it wasn’t needed.

    I think that you’re smart enough that you’ve more than begun to see the picture (pun intended) of how the film business works and how it can be disrupted, espeically now that you’ve spoken to Dan Abrahms twice and also your conversations with Hoon Lee and Mike Schneider. And what you haven’t filled in with The Critical Path you’ll surely fill in with Asymconf. (My apologies for not being able to attend Asymconf I.)

    I should note that I am not in the industry, just a film enthusist looking to one day break in; however, the case could be made that it is just as important if not more important to hear from those outside of the industry as those that are outside of an industry are usually better poised to disrupt the incumbents.

    If you’re interested in my sources and thoughts, let me know where to put them so that they can be of the most benefit to yourself, Asymo.com readers and The Critical Path listeners.

    Cheers,
    PT