Surviving in Hollywood has become an adapt or die scenario for many entertainment industry insiders amid the ravages of the streaming era. Filmmakers and producers who once prided themselves on following their instincts and taking risks will have to radically change how they operate.
Some of the most influential names in the business have signed deals with streaming services, even others who previously said they were. despised watching a movie from home. But the adjustment is not always easy.
“Not long ago, the profitability of the film industry was based on a hit-driven business model. If more people bought tickets to see a film in theaters, rented a DVD, or paid for the digital download, it is sometimes profitable, and is considered a hit,” Chris Moore, a film producer and director for almost 30 years. , wrote in a essay published this week on Dear Producer, a platform for film producers to share stories and ideas.
But that old-school model of determining a film’s value no longer applies in the age of streaming, he writes. And this has huge implications for the kind of films being made today.
“The current subscription-based business model removes the opportunity to create a hit,” Moore wrote about how streaming services make money. “In this new model for storytelling, quantity is more important than quality.”
The old Hollywood business model
For Moore, an Academy Award-nominated producer who has tried his hand at several genres, the streaming business may be safer for filmmakers, but it may come at the cost of creativity.
Moore describes his creative producer role as “the ultimate form of middle management” that involves overseeing every creative decision in a film’s production, including talent, set design, and special effects, to ensure that the movie is delivered within a certain budget and timeframe. . Producers like Moore liaise between studio heads who don’t have time to focus on the granular decisions that go into making a movie, and department heads who make more granular decisions. call for each film.
Moore has worked on a wide variety of films, many of them sleeper hits, from Academy Award-winning pictures to Goodwill Hunting and Manchester by the Sea to the 1999 raunchy cult classic American Pie.
Moore’s three most famous films were also box office successes, but they all required an element of risk. He said Goodwill Hunting and American Pie “bets” that paid off, as he describes films like his best nominated picture Manchester by sea as “original and unexpected stories that become hit movies.”
Old Hollywood has room for the kinds of niche, atypical, or even potentially controversial stories. All a producer or filmmaker needs to convince a studio to greenlight their next project is strong box office numbers. The business model is based on speculation, and anyone who “has the stomach for it” can take part, according to Moore.
The loss of personality in movies
But the streaming business model, on the other hand, is nowhere near as welcoming to risk-taking.
“If a company spends time and energy on just a few audiences, the number will fall, and that company will become one place; however, subscription services don’t just serve niches,” Moore wrote.
“They should strive to be all things to all people, giving more value to the content platform and its library than the quality of each individual piece of content.”
Streaming Providers are paid through customer subscriptions, Moore wrote, a departure from the old model where filmmakers had to make their movies good if they wanted to get paid. And while streaming may give people in the industry more security, it also means that streaming services get paid “regardless of the quality and quantity of the product.”
Moore writes that the subscription economy has caused the industry at large to lose “the ability to place value on each individual film,” with a preference for lower-risk, more attractive films and TV appears to serve all subscribers.
The emphasis on safer mass-market content through streaming services is an open secret. Last year, Netflix asked creator studios to pitch content ideas that focus on “big, broad stories that can be told on a budget,” according to documents seen by reported through Insideprioritizing more groundbreaking projects and instead focusing on new riffs on content that has done well on the platform in the past.
Many producers and other creatives are waiting to see how movie makers can make money in the streaming era, Moore wrote. He continues to encourage filmmakers and remnants of old Hollywood to take matters into their own hands and carve out a role for themselves in the new film economy.
“If we want to continue, we need to create a new business model that works in this new era of Hollywood,” he wrote.
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