Spielberg: “There’s eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.”
Lucas: “I think eventually the ‘Lincoln’s will go away and they’re going to be on television.”
Spielberg: “As mine almost was… This close — ask HBO — this close.”
Lucas: “We’re talking ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Red Tails’ — we barely got them into theaters. You’re talking about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas can’t get their movie into a theater… The pathway to get into theaters is really getting smaller and smaller.”
Filmmakers have to stop planning first and foremost to bring their work to market at film festivals or elsewhere. The entire industry needs to get off of the single product focus and justify greater value in cinema in general. Release patterns need to change. We need to think of story worlds and long term relationships. The end of the era of feature film dominance is inevitable.
—Ted Hope, putting five Really Big Ideas very succinctly
Low value both in the sense of quality work, and monetary valuation.
I like Ted Hope; he’s on my chalkboard as very clearly being One of the Good Guys, and he writes and speaks with great clarity and immense practicality. I was at this talk, shortly before he announced he’d be leaving producing to head the San Francisco Film Society. This was a difficult one to listen to, because for the first time it seemed that his frustration with the industry had hit a tipping point, and he could no longer see any practical route through it. “Fed up and ready to move on” was clear, but what I missed at the time was this bit above, that he had a new role in mind, changing the industry’s approach to distribution rather than playing under it.
Which is just what he’s done. The SFFS has just wrapped up the first AE2: Artist to Entrepreneur, a distribution lab to redesign and experiment with distribution. This makes me more hopeful about the prospect of finding a more stable approach to independent film distribution.