Looking Through The Rubble, Ending The Silence, Celebrating The Risktakers, Hoping For A Few Good Leaders

You'd think with all the collapse in the "Film Business" we'd have a whole lot more experimenting going on.  Or at the very least the encouragement for experimentation.  Why is it that everyone wants to keep doing it "business as usual".  It's broken!  Those days are over!  The sky has fallen!  Dust yourself off and let's begin something new!  Stop sniveling. It is a different business now than what it used to be.  There is no U.S. acquisition market for films, even if the movies are good.  Library value as an asset is a thing of the past (or at least libraries being something you could base easily predictable cash flow or resale on is over).  People don't want to pay to see movies -- unless they are the sort of culture (including niche culture) unifying event film.  It is truly hard to get people's attention when they are overwhelmed with the plethora of choices -- we are a world of distraction and rapid attention shift.  It is even more difficult to get people to talk about good stories, even when more are told and made than ever before. Everything requires more work and more thought than it used to.

Which is not to say that the art and industry of film is over.  Far from it.  It is just a different business. And I believe there is great work to be done and substantial money to be made.  Particularly if we all accept a little experimentation along the way.  Trying something new does not warrant a "FAIL!" stamp.  There is more value than just monetary (and some of that is actually lucrative, or potentially).

Are the only conversations about it happening behind closed doors?  What's with all the eerie silence?  Spooky....  There's certainly a lot of discussion going on in other related industries.  But what is with ours?  From what I read, it sounded that around the proclamations of demise and change at the PGA "Produced By" conference there was very little imagining of new ways forward -- particularly methods that might support the creative community.

Can we start to celebrate the experiments?  The brave thinkers?  The risk takers?  Can we at least talk more about them? Could we ever have some sort of supportive structure that actually encouraged experimentation? Could we look more to the future, than we discuss the past or present?

PGA's Producer Code Of Credits

The PGA announced that they are close to getting the Studios to adopt their Producers Code Of Credits as the determining factor in who gets credited as producer on a project. If you haven't read these requirements, you must -- whether you are a producer, filmmaker, financier, or crew person. Hell, you should if you are an audience member too.

PGA Approves Transmedia Producer Credit

This is PGA's wording for providing the credit: A transmedia narrative project or franchise must consist of three (or more) narrative storylines existing within the same fictional universe on any of the following platforms: film, television, short film, broadband, publishing, comics, animation, mobile, special venues, dvd/blu-ray/cd-rom, narrative commercial and marketing rollouts, and other technologies that may or may not currently exist. These narrative extensions are not the same as repurposing material from one platform to be cut or repurposed to different platforms.

A transmedia producer credit is given to the person(s) responsible for a significant portion of a project’s long-term planning, development, production, and/or maintenance of narrative continuity across multiple platforms, and creation of original storylines for new platforms. Transmedia producers also create and implement interactive endeavors to unite the audience of the property with the canonical narrative and this element should be considered as valid qualification for credit as long as they are related directly to the narrative presentation of a project.

Transmedia producers may originate with a project or be brought in at any time during the long-term rollout of a project in order to analyze, create or facilitate the life of that project and may be responsible for all or only part of the content of the project. Transmedia producers may also be hired by or partner with companies or entities, which develop software and other technologies and who wish to showcase these inventions with compelling, immersive, multi-platform content.

To qualify for this credit, a transmedia producer may or may not be publicly credited as part of a larger institution or company, but a titled employee of said institution must be able to confirm that the individual was an integral part of the production team for the project.

Hope For The Future pt. 9: The List #'s 35 -38

35. Film schools are waking up to the need to educate students on how to survive – it is not enough to know how to direct or produce, graduates must have real world skills too. Jon Reiss is developing a specific curriculum on this, and I have heard from others who are looking to do the same.

36. Filmmakers are recognizing that film festivals are more of a launch platform than a marketplace. More films have trailers available prior to Sundance than ever before. Some wise filmmakers even come to their festival premieres armed with DVDs to sell. Will this be happening at Sundance? Are there any filmmakers reading this who plan to? Let us know.

37. Cultural institutions are stepping into to fill the void left by mainstream media’s abandonment of the art film space. MOMA in NYC now schedules films for regular runs. If we want to see art, why not go to a museum? We need shrines to see beautiful projection and I hope there are many other institutions picking us MOMA’s lead. It could become an actual circuit.

38. The fight to restore integrity of the producer credit continues. The PGA continues to lead the charge here and looks poised to step it up. The recognition of the need to a specific financier credit is becoming part of the conversation – namely that the Executive Producer credit should not be used for line producers but preserved for those who help finance. There is so little dignity left in the role of producer, one hopes that the rest of the industry recognizes how they are all vested in restoring integrity to the credit. Granted there are times when more than three individuals truly are producers on a project, but twelve? Wouldn’t it be a great world if even the distributors committed to stopping over-inflated credits? If an organization like the PGA actually went after the individuals and companies who push for such false credits? Real producers are always in a vulnerable position when looking for cast and financing and a soft position will not get this done. Why does a distributor or sales agent seek such credits anyway?