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The Fall of Traditional Entertainment Conglomerates

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the let-me-know-how-that-goes-for-you dept.

Businesses 204

Advocatus Diaboli writes "We no longer live in the era of 'plantation-type' movie studios or recording houses. However large private companies still have considerable power over content production, distribution and promotion. Technology has been slowly changing this state of affairs for almost 30-40 years, however certain new technological advances, enabling systems and cost considerations will change the entertainment industry as we know it within 5 years."

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204 comments

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Ayup... (4, Funny)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977728)

"This video contains content from UMG. It is restricted from playback on certian sites."

Welcome to the future.

Re:Ayup... (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977744)

I was just about to say exactly that. The very first video on an article about how new creation and distribution technologies are changing the game, no less.

Admittedly not nearly as bad as outright region restriction, since in this case the full version is still only a click away, but perhaps an unfortunate sign of restrictive 'old world' thinking.

Re:Ayup... (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978020)

we're screwed until the old people die, at a minimum.

it's sad, but that's what it takes.

Re:Ayup... (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978034)

Unfortunately, those same old people are educating their own replacements. In the broader world, the one beyond the confines of /., there are plenty of young people who believe that DRM is necessary and who are willing to prosecute file sharers and push to keep old media models alive by any means. This problem goes much deeper than the generational gap.

Re:Ayup... (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978132)

quite accurate, and agreed, most certainly.

however, for all the education and lock-in these people try to keep going forever, the more people just innovate around them time and time again.

Re:Ayup... (1)

Socialism is win! (1982128) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978532)

When we've prosecuted the revolution, The People's council will ensure that all old people die eventually.

Re:Ayup... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978618)

You were going for "witty". You failed.

Niggers!

I disagree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34977732)

The various *IAAs around the world are going to continue shitting up everything about the entertainment industry.

Humans will remain happy with the status quo, eat up sequels and fawn once a decade when presented with original content.

Just the internet will have more regulation as net neutrality is eroded in time.

Re:I disagree... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978524)

I'd rather guess that we'll see law purchase in ways we wouldn't deem possible yet, more shamelessly and blatantly than ever before. And whatever threatens this money maker will be legalized away.

Why should the future be any different from the present? For things to change, you first need someone with the will AND power to change things.

If you say so.. (1, Redundant)

McNally (105243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977754)

new technological advances, enabling systems and cost considerations WILL change the entertainment industry as we know it within 5 years.

Well, OK, if some guy with a Wordpress blog says so, I'm convinced!

Being less snide -- I wish these pioneers godspeed; I'd be happy to see big changes. I'm just not sure it'll happen as easily or as quickly as the write-up asserts.

Re:If you say so.. (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978156)

Well, OK, if some guy with a Wordpress blog says so, I'm convinced!

Being less snide -- I wish these pioneers godspeed; I'd be happy to see big changes. I'm just not sure it'll happen as easily or as quickly as the write-up asserts.

Its a very exciting time, a small band or budding author can publish a wesite and sell their creations for a tiny budget, if you make movies youtube is a godsend, while the social networks offer a readymade marketing platform, which is pretty much the only thing the traditional companies offer. An individual or small group that's well enough plugged in can do wonders, especially in collaboration with other small group, cottage industries are springing up around editing, proofreading, video creation, all of that, its the democratisation effect of advancing technology. You'll get conglomeration of course, and maybe thats not a bad thing, but there will always be room for the little guy on the internet. As long as we maintain net neutrality of course.

Re:If you say so.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978430)

I'll believe it when I see it and hear it. I guess that will be when an open-source Blender project movie shows up on the marquee of what's playing at a nearby theater, and when CC-attribution, share & share-alike released songs that I can find and download for free at various websites get some actual air-play on (non-pirate) FM radio stations. Either one of those would surprise the hell out of me.

Until then, it seems to be the same-ol' same-ol' with business as usual.

Re:If you say so.. (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978442)

Frankly, I was convinced the music industry and subsequently the movie industry were dying when they announced that filesharing was hurting them. Hey, if you think you can or can't, are or aren't then 'viola!', it is so.
Filesharing will never go away. Middlemen of the music industry are necessary for providing the world with music as platypuss are. Since platypus are endangered, we can assert that the music industry will die and it is a good thing. Marlon Perkins pointed out on Wild Kingdom that animals survive much better once they are free of parasites. We can extrapolate from this that music will thrive and prosper once musicians handle their own affairs in this modern age.
          As for movies, well, Hollywood made it's last movie years ago. Everything since is just the same regurgitated stories redressed in new technology. Hell, even outright remakes of even mediocre movies abound! Who could care or notice if Hollywood ,CA dies? I'm far more interested what independent filmmakers or even Hollywood Fla.can give us than Hollywood, Babble on.

Yes those media as we know it are ,and have been dead for some time. We've all smelled it. Let's just admit it and bury it in the back yard next to "Old Yeller" and Elvis and be done with it.

Re:If you say so.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978780)

Hey, if you think you can or can't, are or aren't then 'viola!', it is so.

(Emphasis mine)

You're close. At least you didn't say 'whala'.

Re:If you say so.. (2)

ocdscouter (1922930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978992)

Hey, if you think you can or can't, are or aren't then 'viola!', it is so.

(Emphasis mine)

You're close. At least you didn't say 'whala'.

He certainly struck a chord with me.

People are still the expensive part (4, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977756)

The problem with all of this, is that *talent* is still expensive. You can get a guy to hold a cellphone for a music video, but you can't get a trained steadycam operator to film an on-foot chase scene without paying him 50 an hour. You can spend 20 hours making a music track yourself in Garage Band that everyone hates, or you can pay a group of musicians a few grand to use their stuff. You can hire all of your friends for free to act in your movie, but your friends are really not actors. Even if your friends ARE actors, they're wrong for the parts and will just muck it all up.

Face it, good entertainment still needs budgets and organization. Not to mention a 2 hour movie requiring something like 2 weeks of full-time editing alone. The barrier to entry isn't one of technological costs (like indie music) but people costs, like staging public spectacles. And unlike music, that barrier to entry isn't getting lower. Add in that any one person doing their job poorly can completely screw up a movie, and there are hundreds of people making movies, and big, professional houses seem secure.

Re:People are still the expensive part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34977776)

psh. you can do pretty much everything with computers as far as music goes...you're stuck 20 years in the past my friend.

Re:People are still the expensive part (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977828)

psh. you can do pretty much everything with computers as far as music goes...you're stuck 20 years in the past my friend.

The trouble is that there's an old adage that says something like "You can give a kid a steinway grand piano, but that won't make him Beethoven"

Re:People are still the expensive part (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977898)

The corollary would perhaps be that when everyone has access to a Steinway, it's a lot easier for the next Beethoven to shine.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978014)

Probably not, given that talent always outshines tools. Give everyone a piano and lessons and your hit rate might be better, but most pianists are pretty good by the time they get their own Steinway ;-)

Re:People are still the expensive part (2)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978242)

The problem with your analogy is that a junk musical instrument is not fundamentally different than a high-quality musical instrument (I mean of the same type, barring something like like extra keys). If you're good on a busted up piano, you'd be better on a grand piano; if you're good in MSPAINT, that doesn't mean sh*t in Photoshop, and I think that's MoonBuggy was getting at.

Re:People are still the expensive part (3, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978466)

You got it. The glass may be half empty or the glass may be half full, but if you don't have a glass . . . you can't drink.

Re:People are still the expensive part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978656)

In the Land of Beethovens, where it appears no one can finish a beverage because perhaps the glasses are too large, and sometimes set them on Steinways possibly in an attempt to make them appear smaller, the one eyed man is king. Blind! The one-eyed king is half-blind! ... wait ...I'll come in again

Re:People are still the expensive part (3, Insightful)

vikstar (615372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978268)

The shit that gets spewed out of big production hollywood these days is far from the likes of Beethoven.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978450)

Piranha 3D ;)

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978456)

I should have added that I consider it a "never want to see" movie.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978692)

I heard it was pretty entertaining, which is the point of movies, is it not?

I'd watch it, but I won't spend money on it.

Re:People are still the expensive part (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978544)

It's more "Pop goes the Weasel". But in 5.1 surround dolby digital quality and in 3D.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978576)

And it has a large advertising budget. Distribution matters.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978290)

psh. you can do pretty much everything with computers as far as music goes...you're stuck 20 years in the past my friend.

The trouble is that there's an old adage that says something like "You can give a kid a steinway grand piano, but that won't make him Beethoven"

...and you'd be in deep trouble if you poked the kids eardrums out trying...

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978684)

You completely missed the point.

Way to go Einstein.

Re:People are still the expensive part (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977818)

It is expensive, but it's not that expensive. A significant portion of the money goes to tell people what they want to buy. You could easily cut that out and just spend it on more groups. There's little reason for high price music videos other than demonstrating that you've got a bit of an insecurity about your dick.

Re:People are still the expensive part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978874)

It is expensive, but it's not that expensive. A significant portion of the money goes to tell people what they want to buy. You could easily cut that out and just spend it on more groups. There's little reason for high price music videos other than demonstrating that you've got a bit of an insecurity about your dick.

In film, marketing is (usually) a small-ish percentage of overall cost. Even films with large marketing costs have even larger production budgets.

The Dark Knight had a Prod. Budget of $185M. Tangled had a Prod. Budget of (a whopping!) $260M.

Top talent, both in front of and behind the camera, costs a LOT of money. Licensing fees (like those necessary for you to make a Batman film, for instance) can be prohibitvely expensive for all but the largest pockets.

Re:People are still the expensive part (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977842)

Talent is expensive, sure, but it need not be nearly as expensive as it has become. The budget of a modern blockbuster is not a necessity for talent, it's a by-product of the current industry and its vast barriers to entry. In all but the most exceptional circumstance you certainly need some money, but there's a vast gulf between that and the tens of millions that most major productions burn through. By democratising the marketing and distribution, as well as radically reducing the barrier to entry in terms of equipment costs, modern tech allows talented people to produce a respectable 'amateur quality' film for next to nothing, or one that can stand up against the big guys for tens or hundreds of thousands. Primer [wikipedia.org] is a superb (if somewhat extreme) example - a good story, well told and excellently put together on $7,000. Sure, the particular narrative lent itself well to the low budget, and it was absolutely a product of obsession, but it demonstrates the point.

More generally, damn good actors, directors, writers, producers, etc. are far more likely to be able to get something out there and be judged on their merits, maybe make a decent living wage, rather than a few making hundreds of millions and the rest fading into obscurity.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34977954)

Produce a 'respectable amateur quality film' - that's quite a high bar you've set there. There is a reason that Broadway shows cost $100/ticket and are sold out, and the local high school musical is free and only attracts the parents of the cast - people want to see good, professional stuff.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978752)

There's a world of difference between filmmaking and play production, though.

First, amateur plays are hobbled by low set construction budgets, prop budgets, limited time to reset lighting and change sets, etc. Pro plays solve these problems by throwing money at the problem, adding equipment and personnel to make things happen quickly, building nicer sets, and so on. Amateur filmmaking, by contrast, solves this by throwing away the sets and making all the world a stage. These two different approaches can achieve much the same results, within reason. Pro filmmaking solves it by using expensive sets because it gives them more control, but none of that is strictly necessary.

Also, with amateur filmmaking, unlike theater, you don't have to be perfect every take. Tape is cheap. If someone botches a line or flubs a song or whatever, you reshoot it. In effect, when making a movie, you can substitute time for talent, making even a relatively bad actor seem respectable through careful editing of multiple takes with good use of cutaways to mask edits. In stage plays, the bad actor is on stage the entire time, so every mistake can be seen no matter what you do to try to cover it up.

With school plays, you're generally limited to the people who go to that school, are free during a certain period, and want to act. That limits the talent pool immensely. With amateur filmmaking, you aren't limited to just the people from a single school. You have access to a wider age range and a much broader talent pool in general, much as you would with professional plays.

And with filmmaking, the cast doesn't even have to even be on location at the same time, much less the pit orchestra. This means that you can take the time to get the music exactly right through multiple takes instead of having to use all professional musicians. This means that you can work around people's schedules instead of having to have professional actors who are there the entire time on a rigid schedule. And so on. Such flexibility is not possible with stage plays for the most part.

Finally, with school plays, you're taking something someone else wrote and producing it. With amateur filmmaking, you're generally taking something that you or someone you know wrote and producing it. This means that you have a lot more freedom to adapt the locations and characters to suit the locations and cast that are available. With school plays, because of the smaller talent pool and the rigidity of the story, the best you can really do is put people into parts based on ability, which often produces less than ideal results. Similarly, you need a set for each location, and you just have to do the best you can.

In short, the flexibility offered by a larger potential cast pool, script flexibility, and the ability to tweak and correct mistakes after the fact makes it much, much easier for an amateur cast and crew to rival a major studio film than to rival a Broadway play. It's like writing computer software to fly a UAV versus flying it yourself. If you screw up the former, it fails the simulation and you can fix it in the next rev. If you screw up the latter, you just blew up a million dollar aircraft.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978870)

Professional films are *not* perfect every take. Unless they happen to be blowing up a set (or doing some other expensive effect) they will just shoot over and over and over.

Also, keep in mind that computer animation can let you shoot a scene in a blue room then animate the set. Sets are a big cost in Hollywood productions. A blue room can also have better fittings for cameras and lights, which saves a lot of money.

OK, blue rooms are kinda unimspiring, but it also lets you do otherwise impossible things.

Re:People are still the expensive part (5, Insightful)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977974)

Yeah, its tough because the "its costly because of the people" argument takes into account the $10M your superstar actor makes. But he makes that money not because they're the most talented actor ever (you probably haven't heard of that guy), but because his name will sell the movie. "Bankable" means they can bank a certain return on the actor's name alone, i.e. "the next _______ movie". If you can get to the point where your name goes in there, you're all set.

Of course, if distribution and all that changes who knows, as you won't need the big returns for the "big" movies. 5 years is ridiculous, sorry. But later on where everything is convincingly done on blue screen? Maybe. I still think there always needs to be a "draw" for something. Whether its artificial publicity, who's involved, or word of mouth once the movie has gotten a following, you need something. Top of the Youtube front page is one thing, but you better believe if that was the major distro channel then the "dinosaur" media companies would have that page bought out in a heartbeat. There's also the fact that shoestring budget movies can't pay the talent, but they also can't pay the work-a-day types that make a movie happen - and there's a lot of those and always will be if the movie is of a decent size. As long as people are willing to pay for it (the MPAA wants you to believe they will and won't at the same time), then there will be people willing to do it for a job, and the costs will still be high. 5 years, no way. 25? It won't be the same, but it won't be some garage film utopia where all movies are done for the art and the public suddenly enjoys amateur films over high production value blockbusters either.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978922)

Dataming suggests that casting well-known actors has only a nominal impact on ticket sales. The script is much more important. But the people who throw the best parties (i.e. the ones with famous actors invited) will only invite producers and directors who cast big-name actors.

Harrison Ford was made a star by Star Wars. He wasn't famous before the movie. Nor were his co-stars.

I can't even recall any of the main stars of Avatar.

Johnny Depp has always had a few fans, but his name didn't sell until after Pirates. Same with Rush - respected actor but hardly a guy who pulls in the masses.

Lord of the Rings some really big-name characters, but mostly in smaller parts.

Re:People are still the expensive part (2)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978036)

Primer may have "officially" cost 7K - but the guy had a lot of people work for free (he did over 2 years post production on it). So as long as you are happy with movies that aren't made as professional pieces, that's fine.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978150)

As I said, it's an extreme example and a product of obsession - $7k per full-length movie is by no means a sustainable model - but it shows that quality needn't necessarily be expensive. Same goes for Clerks [wikipedia.org] , come to think of it; I wouldn't want to see every film made like that, but it still worked for that particular story.

Even at, say, $150k, which would've allowed those involved to get paid a quite reasonable wage for the time spent shooting, the films would be at least an order of magnitude cheaper than the lowest end of the mainstream. I'm sure there will always be a place for million dollar blockbusters, but I'm happy that technology is making it viable for us to see more and more of something other than that as well, where we couldn't really have done before. The cheaper and easier production becomes, the more chances people will have to get good stories out there without going to insane lengths like Kevin Smith did - seems like a win to me!

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978322)

Though I agree that all movie making ventures need not be huge expenditures, some movies just bleed cash. On one side we have movies that don't need to be expensive (e.g. Clerks, like you have said). On the opposite end of the spectrum are movies like Children of Men, where the pivotal scene just bleeds money. The more real stuff that blows up, the more cash will need to be spent. If you are willing to forgo the "cutting edge 'realism'" in stuff blowing up, a lot of money can be saved (think "B" movie special effects).

On the whole, I do think the industry is primed for some interesting events in the near future.

"Immersion" (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977912)

The price of creating movies is the reason for the number of generic films and sequals. You won't get something original if you are taking a chance with that much money. Even if you get the "good" actors, cameramen and crew, you will are screwed on the other end of it.

I blame a word that people like to throw around called "Immersion." It is overrated and in many cases is used to try to gloss over the more intellectual portions of the film. This is classically called valuing SFX over story.

Re:People are still the expensive part (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34977916)

UNIONS are the expensive part.

Re:People are still the expensive part (2)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978062)

"...but you can't get a trained steadycam operator to film an on-foot chase scene without paying him 50 an hour"

As the last few movies almost made me throw up from motion sickness, I can assure you that almost nobody is paying up for a steadycam operator anymore.

Re:People are still the expensive part (3, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978100)

You are sort of right, but you are really not looking at this from the right angle. While doing what Hollywood does takes money, but now thanks to the proliferation of technology, we are not limited to just consuming what Hollywood produces. Most people have a set amount of time they can devote to entertainment, now back in the day video entertainment consisted of TV and movies, all products of the entertainment industries. Now there are literally tons of different types of videos I can watch, things like video game reviews or comedy sketches or political commentary. And while the Hollywood stuff I do watch cannot be easily replicated by people on the internet, overall I still end up watching less of what the major studios produce.

Re:People are still the expensive part (2, Insightful)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978378)

I think what is happening is like this:

(a) Movies on-par with Inception: few people have problems to justify watching these.

(b) Movies on-par with Piranha 3D: most would rather watch youtube videos for 88 minutes.

While movies in category (a) will only compete (for viewer's attention) with other high-budget movies also in category (a), movies in category (b) can easily be replaced by indie filmmakers (e.g. "low" budget); especially when indie filmmakers put actual effort into plot, camerawork, and cinematics (i.e. make good movies).

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978112)

But how much does it really cost to make a music track or a movie and how much does it bring in. Even in the current economy, any halfway decent movie will return fully on it's investment to the studio within 2-3 weeks in the box office. The rest is just gravy. There are hardly any mainstream movies or music that actually make a loss. And that is for movies where there are usually a bunch of overpaid actors (enough money for the average schmuck to settle for life - for barely 3 months work) and a bunch of red tape (unions) to get it made.

Making a movie on a budget is not that hard and a good indie movie will get played and most likely will turn a profit. The barriers are getting lower too. I have a friend who just got in the documentary and TV advertisements business. Whereas only a few years ago a good field camera would cost 100k, these days you can pick up the same resolution cameras for 20k. Still not for everybody but it's definitely affordable. And if you're doing cheaper stuff, prosumer camcorders are only 2k and even dSLR's do well for most projects.

Re:People are still the expensive part (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978204)

even dSLR's do well for most projects.

That they do, a Canon t2i and a merlin steadicam combined with say a zoom H2 recorder and a boom or two, and you can work wonders, all for under a grand.

Re:People are still the expensive part (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978122)

Talent attracts talent. In music right now, especially in the progressive styles, musicians are recording one-off collaborative albums in their basement studios at an amazing rate. It's almost to the point now that the extremely talented musicians out there are forgoing any singular band and just floating from side project to side project. The fact of the mater is, a lot of these people are driven by their art and not just the paycheck.

I remember attempting to record an album in the 90's and even for the crappiest studio in town it was $10k-$20k to get it recorded. That didn't include the $2k-$3k for the initial printing of the CD. Today you could build a BETTER studio in your home for the same price. With modern recording software and a few classes at a community college and you'd easily be able to do most of it yourself. Then ship your CD to be mastered by some other guy in his basement. Then you upload the whole thing to your website and collect your money via paypal... That's why there's such an explosion in indi music right now. How far away is the film industry from the same sort of revolution? Not far I'd bet.

Re:People are still the expensive part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978262)

But you are making the assumption that the goal is to create a 'on-foot-chase' scene, swelling orchestra music, professional actors - because that's what's always been done and the hollywood types have you believing that nothing else is entertaining.

Just this weekend I watched 2 8-minute shorts on youtube done by people with day jobs and while the movie weren't quite "polished" with music and pro-actors, they were fun and one of the two was actually mind stimulating. the second one was done by people I know and was fun seeing them play the part - the parts were completely not what they are in real life and they pulled it off quite nicely.

In short, I don't need to see a steadycam on-foot-chase scene - have seen enough of those. don't need actors - can't really think of too many actors these days that can actually play a part that's different from their real personalities.

i'm quite fed up with "polish" (except for Nolen's movies, especially Memento). And the long format requires too much commitment - if the movie sucks, those will be 1.5 hours that I'll never get back.

you forget that people were entertained before there were steadycams and sound in movies.

Re:People are still the expensive part (2)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978422)

Not every good movie has to be a movie with "Hollywood" production values.

A do-it-yourself troupe with a solid contractual setup can make a decent looking movie. If the script, acting, directing, editing, and sound are good, people will tolerate so-so cinematography and imperfect sound.

Some genres, like epics, require big budgets. Other genres, like film noir, can be shot on a very small budget.

I've seen video productions on the internet (like "antimattershow" on youtube) I'd rather watch than a LOT of mainstream TV productions.

The big problem is distribution and promotion for the independent filmmaker. Once they make the movie, they've got to sell it--and that's the problem.

The costs of production can be managed.

Re:People are still the expensive part (1)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978490)

I would like to add that just because you aren't paying the price for a big-name actor, it doesn't mean you're not able to get great acting. I'm not saying that good acting is common, but rather that you don't have to pay "famous-tax" on people who are not famous.

Re:People are still the expensive part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978436)

And unlike music, that barrier to entry isn't getting lower.

I agree that the costs of making movies are persisting longer than those of making music, but I doubt that that will last forever. To take one of your examples, a steadycam operator may cost $50/hour; but eventually, he'll probably be replaced by a home video camera and a good de-jitter algorithm. And eventually we should get to the point where a user on a home computer can make a feature-length CGI movie with photorealistic graphics. Not soon, but we'll get there, if Moore's law holds.

So I guess I agree with you for the next 20 years, but not in the long run.

Re:People are still the expensive part (5, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978564)

The problem with all of this, is that *talent* is still expensive.

No, not really.

...you can't get a trained steadycam operator to film an on-foot chase scene without paying him 50 an hour.

Maybe in California. Try shooting in a state with fewer unions and less bureaucratic red tape, and you'll find dozens of camera operators working at local TV stations who would gladly do it for $20 an hour just to have something to do on the weekends. Heck, if it's a low budget production, some might even volunteer to do it for nothing. Will it require a few more takes? Probably. Will it require enough more takes to justify paying a camera operator as much as a software engineer or a pharmacist? Probably not.

Besides, you could just cut out the chase scene, film it from multiple static cameras, use software to reduce the shaking in post, or fudge it with a zoom, and odds are good that nobody is going to think any less of the movie for it no matter which of those techniques you use.

You can spend 20 hours making a music track yourself in Garage Band that everyone hates, or you can pay a group of musicians a few grand to use their stuff.

Or you can do a time-cost tradeoff and ask a few of your friends to check out local clubs, find a local band that seems good, and get them to record something for peanuts. Or if it doesn't have to be unique, you could go buy some royalty-free music CDs for fifty or a hundred bucks a pop. It all depends on what you're looking for.

In my experience, the key to making movies on a shoestring budget is to get people who can act (but who aren't famous yet), and shoot on location at locations that don't charge money to shoot there. This way you're not paying studio rental costs and you're not paying exorbitant per-hour costs for your cast, so you can take a little longer to get things done without it being a problem. Once you're no longer paying a truckload of money for every minute the cameras aren't rolling, you can get by with a much smaller crew, because one person can wear multiple hats.

For example, unless you're doing an absolutely insane amount of lighting (way more than most low budget productions), there's usually no need to have both an electrician and a lighting person (unless union rules say you have to, of course) because 90% of the power you run is for lighting anyway. (The other 10% is for your camera and audio gear, which if you're doing it on the cheap, translates into an orange extension cord running from the nearest outlet.) During the actual shooting, that person double as your camera operator or your mic boom operator. You can now easily shoot a movie with a crew of two or three people (though extra hands are always welcome when packing, unpacking, and hauling the gear to and from the truck).

You can get good workers from your local university's communications and drama programs. You can often get people to outright volunteer for the opportunity to have their names in the credits of something that they can use in their portfolios when applying for jobs.

And finally, ten days worth of Arriflex 35mm camera rental will buy you an XH-A1 that will do a good enough job that it won't get in your way. And if you edit on a laptop with Final Cut Pro or whatever, you can get away with exactly zero studio or editing bay time, and equipment costs that are a tiny fraction of what they were just a couple of decades back.

What you don't get by going this route is a distribution channel. That's the sole reason that the major studios are still in business. Most movie theaters aren't willing to take chances on works shot by no-name groups, and good luck getting a major DVD distributor to even look at you, much less any rental chains. The actual cost of making a good movie, assuming a crew of two and a principal cast of four or five at $30 an hour is maybe thirty or forty thousand dollars. If you get most of your cast and crew to volunteer, and if you pay salaries that are more in line with what college students would be making in side jobs, you can do it for under ten grand easily, not counting the cost of buying equipment.

This just doesn't add up to the multimillion dollar budgets that everyone hears about. Good movies are expensive to make, but there's some serious budget inflation in Hollywood whose sole purpose appears to be deluding people into believing that it's completely beyond the average person's ability to even come close to doing what they do, when the reality is quite the opposite. Sure, somebody with a cell phone camera isn't going to shoot an action film, but the jump up in equipment cost from that to gear that is suitable for doing so is in the thousands of dollars instead of the hundreds of thousands as it used to be. That means it is within reach for anyone. Not everyone will be willing to invest the time or money to do good work, but that doesn't mean it's truly out of reach these days, and that should have Hollywood quite concerned.

Blender Foundation tangent (4, Interesting)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977806)

While the TFA's GTA movie is no doubt impressive, the Blender Foundation produced Big Buck Bunny [wikipedia.org] , a (in my opinion) beautifully rendered ~10 minute short. You can download the rendered version here [bigbuckbunny.org] , and can even download the production data here [kino3d.org] -- it's released under Creative Commons I think.

It may not be quite up to Pixar's standards, but I think it's pretty slick (and no, I'm not affiliated with either company =) )

Re:Blender Foundation tangent (4, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977918)

They've made a newer and arguably even nicer short with Sintel [youtube.com] not long ago. Well worth a watch.

Re:Blender Foundation tangent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978356)

How come no one mentions Oceania?

54 minutes and released under a Creative Commons license to boot:
http://www.hdehal.com/oceania [hdehal.com]

Re:Blender Foundation tangent (1)

Chaonici (1913646) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978644)

YES. Mod parent up- this was an incredible short film that moved me in both its animation quality and its story.

It's also on vodo if you want a free, high-quality version: http://vodo.net/sintel [vodo.net]

Re:Blender Foundation tangent (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977980)

Sintel [sintel.org] is the new video by the blender foundation and IMHO is sightly better than big bunny buck.

Re:Blender Foundation tangent (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978012)

While the TFA's GTA movie is no doubt impressive...

Yeah, I mean, who would have thought to start with something like GTA, and somehow totally transform it into "an epic 88-minutes of sex, drugs and violence"?

Re:Blender Foundation tangent (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978092)

I've seen some very aesthetically pleasing free movies, that Big Buck Bunny included. We don't need Hollywood for that level of quality.
What we do need now is something with a decent story, something beyond technically competent cliches.

Re:Blender Foundation tangent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978802)

That doesn't make an argument. The last short of the blender foundation (sintel) was easily beyond the 200k dollar budget. Now, the blender foundation does not disclose exact numbers, so is hard to tell exactly where above those 200k. Big Buck Bunny was cheaper, although probably above the 100k dollar budget. A movie worth 10 thousand dollars the minute (100k/10 minutes) is by no means cheap.

Yes it is creative commons, yes it was done with open source, and yes the power of community and crowd sourcing can make projects like Sintel a reality.

Yes, the RED camera can lower your production costs, yes Final Cut Pro is cheaper than a Quantel, and yes you can make a decent movie for a million dollars, that can make a killing in the box office (think of SAW), and yes, making a movie for a million dollars is way less money than the 20 - 30 million a big studio will spend.

All that said, making a movie is still a very expensive enterprise (how many of you have a million dollars floating around... what about a hundred thousand?), making a movie is a project that requires a lot of people, even if they all worked for free, you would still spend thousands of dollars on things like catering and permits.

There have been people predicting the demise of the big studios for as long as there has been people saying that the world will end tomorrow.

A bunch of kids that make a short and put on youtube are not going to destroy the industry anymore than any other of the viral videos floating around, all that might happen is that somebody in the big studios might see their talent and put them on the payroll.

Sure. (2)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977824)

[C]ertain new technological advances, enabling systems and cost considerations will change the entertainment industry as we know it within 5 years.

Sure they will, provided the law doesn't get in the way.

Re:Sure. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978148)

[C]ertain new technological advances, enabling systems and cost considerations will change the entertainment industry as we know it within 5 years.

Sure they will, provided the law doesn't get in the way.

Sure they will. Just as simple as running an ISP business and throttling the access to content providers they don't like (that is: providers not paying the ransom).

BEWARE HANS !! THE BALLON WILL FALL WITHIN 6 YEARS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34977854)

Of course, in 5 years this WILL be long forgotten for its utter stupidity. What a crap board this is !!

Premature... (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977878)

Given the recent merger between NBC and Comcast, and the fact that record companies show no sign of disappearing. I think there will be no change for another 30 years...

Re:Premature... (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978026)

Given this, and how big the media conglomerates are, and how they can get basically any law they lobby for, I think there will be no change for at least thirty more years, unless the government shits itself.

what about sets cheap ones show as well as bad cgi (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34977996)

what about sets cheap ones show as well as bad cgi.

Re:what about sets cheap ones show as well as bad (2)

green1 (322787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978142)

but good cgi is getting both cheaper and easier.

I truly wonder how long until the majority of films use cgi instead of actors

Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (5, Interesting)

blarkon (1712194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978002)

The biggest difference in the short term will be the death of "Big TV Sci Fi" of the Galactica/Stargate/Trek variety. SGU was canceled recently due to poor ratings, yet several torrent tracker sites reported it consistently ranked in the top 5 shows downloaded. Say what you want about the quality of the show, but if it was consistently downloaded by that many people, it had an audience. The problem was, it had an audience that couldn't be monetized.

The reason why Big TV Sci-Fi is in trouble more than other genres is that the audience of Big TV Sci-Fi is the most likely to seek a method of viewing the product that can't be monetized. The SyFy channel isn't moving towards showing wrestling because they think that wrestling is cooler than space ships and time machines, it is just that the audience for wrestling will watch wrestling on the TV rather than downloading it and watching it in an alternate manner.

Perhaps, maybe, somehow there is a business model where you can make money out of hi-budget Sci-Fi that people download rather than watch, but other than George Lucas' "sell lots of toys" method of recouping expenses, no one seems to have found it yet.

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (4, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978038)

Any kind of media production that appeals more to the brainy folks will bring fewer advertising dollars than shows for morons who will buy anything they see on TV. Hence the downward spiral for commercial TV. American Idol, Glenn Beck, Big Brother... that's what the advertisers like. Fodder for consumers.

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978110)

"... it is just that the audience for wrestling will watch wrestling on the TV rather than downloading it and watching it in an alternate manner."

The wrestling viewers can't figure out downloading.

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978118)

The problem is that running TV shows on TV means that you're trying to monetize through advertising. Nerds aren't interested in that, partly because advertising is mostly geared toward the low-hanging fruit, i.e., stupid people. These shows can be monetized, but you have to monetize through DVD sales, Netflix, iTunes, etc. In other words, the consumer becomes the customer, and you're selling the TV show directly to them instead of to advertisers.

Yes, there are some nerds who will refuse to pay, instead downloading shared copies of them. But many nerds actually have money because they're intelligent and successful, and they understand that a TV show that is sold directly to them requires that they pay into it in order for it to remain viable. Is it enough to reach critical mass without first running the shows on regular TV? Who knows, as those sorts of sales/profit figures aren't easy to come by unless you're an industry insider.

But if there is enough interest in direct-to-DVD/download/rental sci-fi that has the high production values of current TV sci-fi, it could work - the question becomes, how do you market those shows directly to the viewer if you don't have TV as a platform for doing so?

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (2)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978218)

Even Sci-Fi viewers who dont download are likely to have PVRs and other things which let them fast-forward the ads. Plus the things the sci-fi audience are interested in buying and the things the advertisers want to advertise dont tend to match up.

As for advertising a "direct-to-video" type sci-fi show (made and sold directly without being given TV airtime) one way would be to make a pilot and make it available for free. Then if the show is any good, people will download the pilot and watch it and want more (and buy the other episodes).

Kind of like the Shareware concept for computer games (which worked GREAT for games like Doom IIRC) except for a TV show.

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (2)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978292)

> one way would be to make a pilot and make it available for free.

A pilot is VERY expensive to make. A pilot is like a movie: all of the sets and costumes and such have to be made up front, before you've seen a single dollar in revenue. All that for "if they like it, they might deign to pay a buck for it; charge any more and they'll get it on BitTorrent."

Even if they start with a 5 minute short, there's a huge up-front expense in construction. The lighting and sound overhead will make it a good fraction of the price of a full pilot.

This is the new reality, and they'll have to find a way to cope. But there's still going to be a lot of big money involved that can front the costs and eat the losses.

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978458)

A pilot is VERY expensive to make. A pilot is like a movie: all of the sets and costumes and such have to be made up front, before you've seen a single dollar in revenue. All that for "if they like it, they might deign to pay a buck for it; charge any more and they'll get it on BitTorrent

If you're trying to charge anything for post-production, per-copy distribuition in the digital age, it seems like the physics of information says you're doing it wrong - short of going to a total iTunes / AppStore / Steam lockdown of the channel (which admittedly is working like gangbusters for Apple and Valve right now, but still seems fundamentally impossible to enforce in the long run).

As you say, the money is all spent up front. So why not do the charging up front? Raise $X from investors, where the investors are also the consumers, pay the talent $X, make the product, let it scatter to the four winds by BitTorrent. If it's enjoyed, the reputation of the production house is raised for the next cycle of investment and production.

It's possible that this wouldn't work, there might be not enough committed interest from the hardcore fans to sustain a show of the price we've come to expect from per-copy funded distribution. But isn't it worth a try?

Someone coined the word 'prosumers'; how about 'convesters'? Consumer-investors. Are we all too cheap to pay the going rate for our entertainment?

The trick is, you need to be seriously committed to the get-paid-once, work-for-hire model - licence it permissively (CC-BY-SA for preference), don't try to squirrel money twice out of the audience after the fact - and need to also have a product and some reputation to attract funding before the fact, which is a lot harder.

But we've got platforms like Kickstarter to do this now, so do we have any data points to check whether this model has been able to work?

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (2)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978416)

I'm a nerd and I'll watch ads. On one condition: The ads don't treat me like I'm an idiot, and they don't try to capitalize on the "captive audience" concept. Ads are content. Good ads are worth watching. Bad ads I skip, just like I skip bad shows.

It's not being a nerd. It's just the combination of having self-respect and the tools to deal with it.

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978264)

The reason why Big TV Sci-Fi is in trouble more than other genres is that the audience of Big TV Sci-Fi is the most likely to seek a method of viewing the product that can't be monetized. The SyFy channel isn't moving towards showing wrestling because they think that wrestling is cooler than space ships and time machines, it is just that the audience for wrestling will watch wrestling on the TV rather than downloading it and watching it in an alternate manner.

You are also neglecting cost, even if the ratings for wrestling and an original sci-fi series are the same, 99% of the time the wrestling is going to be cheaper to produce and thus be more profitable.

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978314)

Say what you want about the quality of the show, but if it was consistently downloaded by that many people, it had an audience. The problem was, it had an audience that couldn't be monetized.

How would you know? Nobody tried.

The audience just didn't want to wait until the network decided they could watch it at a particular time of the day. Much easier to download if you're into Sci-Fi and know how to use a computer.

And please leave out silly web 2.0 speak. "They couldn't find a way to make the audience pay"....not "The audience couldn't be monetized" which sounds like "The audience couldn't be milked".

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (2)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978340)

yet several torrent tracker sites reported it consistently ranked in the top 5 shows

I think that if studios released their shows via torrent with ads included they could monetize it. Of course (IMO) the real problem is probably that Nielson ratings were never right and so now that advertisers know exactly how many people are watching it's not worth as much. I went on CBS.com to watch something the other day and it said I couldn't play it on my device. No wonder the studios can't monetize new media when they refuse to show ads to some people. Watching commercials is my preferred method of payment, but they intentionally choose not to 'sell' me there product. So I can use another browser besides chrome, I can change the user agent id (which I did),I could just pirate the content sans ads, or not watch CBS shows at all. Content producers are their own worst enemy when it comes to monetizing their content on the internet. I would much rather hop online and watch shows/movies instantly with ads than look for torrents and wait for them to download but the Networks seem to want me to download torrents. It's quite idiotic.

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (2)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978412)

Put good-quality versions on a legit website, and people will watch (especially if it's free). I am in Canada, and I make good use of the CTV and Space websites (both show a selection of their shows that is growing). With every day that passes by, there is less reason to need a broadcast system for television programming. All people want is their favourite shows with availability like any youtube video, and it sounds like SG-U is yet another show to fall to "phantom viewers."

Exec 1: "Well, it looks like SG-U is popular, but only in torrents."

Exec 2: "Yeah, too bad there's no way to make money through some kind of on-line ad-supported video."

Exec 1: "Yes. Better scrap it."

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (1)

winwar (114053) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978600)

"Say what you want about the quality of the show, but if it was consistently downloaded by that many people, it had an audience. The problem was, it had an audience that couldn't be monetized."

That's a fancy way of saying that the show sucked. It had an audience that wasn't willing to pay to watch.

Re:Death of Big TV Sci-Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978660)

Mark Pesce solved this in his talk "Piracy is Good?"

Google for it. Im surprised it hasnt started a TV revolution already.

A queston for the young people (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978134)

Where do you get your new music? Back in my days, it was the radio - top40, alternative, rock+pop+R&B, etc. And MTV came up and actually played music videos then, instead of whatever they have on now.

Re:A queston for the young people (2)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978284)

Mostly word of mouth - often just in conversation, but a non-trivial amount is posted on Facebook just to say "Guys, awesome new song, you'll probably like this" or whatever; that's an advertisers wet dream, I'm sure: distribution to a few hundred people with the added impact of it being from a 'friend' whose opinion you actually respect, but it's a win-win since I actually do tend to like my friends' recommendations. Obviously the chain needs to start somewhere, and that may well be traditional advertising, but it's just as likely to be an unheard-of support band at a gig, or a song played in a club, or even something kicked up by a "you might also like..." algorithm. A small start goes a long way when everyone can broadcast their opinion to an (admittedly somewhat overlapping) group of several hundred mates.

I'd also add that the only reason this works at all is instant, 'free' music - nothing invested, nothing to get round to later, just see a link, click, and listen. I don't download illegally, but the industry seems to have finally caught on and offers it either ad-supported or subscription based through Spotify; everybody I know uses it, and for an awful lot of us it's the primary source of music - it contains the vast majority of what I look for if I'm in the mood to listen to 'X', and I personally use my friends' shared playlists just like you probably used the radio, too. Come to think of it, YouTube links are fairly prevalent too, but they're only really useful if you're linking someone to a single, specific song.

Re:A queston for the young people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978366)

21 here. (anon because I've already modded)

I started listening to many musicians because of someone I know (their music collection or their suggestion).

From there, I often branch out into related/similar artists (Often, I remain most interested in the first one.) - there isn't really one particular outside individual involved in that process.

Here are a few separate examples:
Much classic music came to me courtesy of my dad or my uncle's CD collection.
When following up on a cousin's suggestion of MC Lars, I also started to listen to K.Flay, mc chris, YTCracker, et cetera.
I was really impressed with Flogging Molly, so I also started listening to various other Irish/Rock bands.
Liking Lady Gaga also got me somewhat interested in various other pop stars.

~KingAlanI

Re:A queston for the young people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978392)

Where do you get your new music? Back in my days, it was the radio - top40, alternative, rock+pop+R&B, etc. And MTV came up and actually played music videos then, instead of whatever they have on now.

often times i will visit message boards for record labels i like, or boards hosted by specific bands i listen to. i know the other posters and i already listen to some of the same music, so their recommendations are good more often than not.

The problem is (5, Insightful)

snookiex (1814614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978244)

We no longer live in the era of 'plantation-type' movie studios or recording houses

The problem is that they won't die without fighting, doing as much damage as they can in the process. We still have years of DRM and its mutations to witness in the next years.

Change (2)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978276)

With powerful technology and the constant downward pressure of the prices of technology, the barrier of entry to filmmaking is coming down. You could now, in theory, use VP8 and make an independent film without worrying about royalties.

The first distributed computer animation film? (1, Troll)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978376)

I had the idea several years ago of doing a computer animated movie using a voluntary distributed computing model, like distributed.net or [distributed.net] SETI@Home [berkeley.edu] . Once it was scripted and storyboarded and the animation plan was complete, individual frames (or even portions or layers of frames) would be farmed out to folks to run on their computers. The complicated part would be that folks would almost certainly be able to assemble parts of the film prior to release, but that might be OK. Multiple scenes could be produced, so the plot could have multiple possible endings. If I were to produce part of the film on my home machine, I'd want to go to the theater and see how it all works.

My script idea was of three or four young kids, who fly in virtual fighter planes over a landscape that is based on the real structure of the net as a geographic metaphor. Of course cities and other facilities in the virtual landscape would match up fairly well with the real landscape, since the net does that already. I think the father of one of the kids is the one who invented the visual metaphor immersion system. They would discover one guy who was a bully or hood at school IRL flying his own plane (as a result of hacking into the father's system and stealing an early copy, that has some flaw the bad guy doesn't know about), and dropping 'bombs' (metaphorical visualization of inserting hacks) onto websites around the net. (I came up with the idea when most hacking was recreational, not commercial or political.) So these kids would have to use their own skills and tools to fight the hacker guy in virtual space, and also deal with him and his gang in real life.

IMHO that would be a great movie, and I'll bet a large number of slashdotters would love to participate. Heck, the profits could even go to support open source. And now it's possible to do it in 3D.

I even toyed with the idea of setting up a website where folks could work together to build the script and the story board. This could be the first 'open source movie'. I do own meatspace.us ... hmmm.

Yeah, sure.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978474)

(posting AC because I've already modded) ~ KingAlanI

Sure, the majors are entrenched beyond a 5-year timespan, but I never figured they're going completely away.

The increasing viability of indie production/distribution is a very good thing don't get me wrong. However, it isn't just shifting market share away from the majors, but rather complementing the industry as a whole.

Even the majors shift with the changing market, albeit not the ways you'd like as quickly as you'd like.

Synthetic Performers (3, Interesting)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978482)

Actors, musicians and vocal artists are about to be replaced with computer generated synthetic entertainers which will reduce the cost of film and music production. It will also generate a legal crises in that one might be able to blend say John Wayne and Elvis Presley into a new synthetic being. People who own rights to various characters will all clamor that they see their image or property rights portrayed in a synthetic entertainer. The litigation will be endless.

They already know it (1)

TX297 (861307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978626)

What do you think the DMCA, ACTA, COICA, etc are all for? Going after petty downloaders? No. The media companies already know that they can use the same laws passed under the guise of "combating piracy" to shut down and irreparably harm indie and upstart companies. "Whoops, we accidentally flagged your band's website for copyright violations on recordings we don't own the rights to. No problem, just submit an appeal to the Attorney General's office and it'll be removed in a few weeks/months/years. Oh you were actually making money? I'm sure we can work something out..." With all this legislation pretty much working off the DMCA, there will be fuck all punishment for false allegations, thanks to our friend "in good faith" (in hastily-written antipiracy algorithms). You think the courts have been made a mockery of so far? You haven't seen anything yet.

Consuming Entertainment (1)

rusl (1255318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978672)

Is it just me or is "consuming entertainment" not your idea of living a meaningful single lifespan, too?

Article does not supports its thesis (2)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34978926)

First off, the article doesn't say anything about five years. Inaccurate summary.

Secondly, the examples given in the article aren't that great. Namely:

* A "feature film", which is machinima of GTA IV. In other words, a movie totally dependent on a game produced by a traditional content studio.
* A short film with impressive special effects and not much else.
* A demo of a game engine that was created by a traditional content house and modified by another traditional content house.
* A music video that was apparently made on an iPhone 4. Arguably the best example.
* And a couple fun facts about Netflix streaming being cheaper than mail, social networking allowing for free ads, and analogies to reality TV.

Not exactly a compelling case. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me at all if low-budget films start to displace studio productions eventually. But not in five years. Although everyone loves to speculate about movies (probably because of the file-sharing aspect), I suspect that e-books are going to be the first big displacer. The production model is basically the same (one writer or a small team), the costs are the same (one writer's spare time plus a keyboard) -- the only difference is publishing. So when indie e-books kill off all the big publishers, *then* you can start telling me that Hollywood will die any day now. Meanwhile, how about some better articles and not just blog fluff?

Remember MP3.COM ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34978956)

Hi -

Not too many years ago people were saying similar things about the music biz, and how (then) new sites like MP3.COM would allow any musician to have their music discovered without having to struggle through the traditional restricted channels. Well, before too long (as I recall) there were over one million songs available for download from MP3.COM As I recall one act, a duo called Fisher, was "discovered" via MP3.COM and made some news. And some others (like The Cynic Project) made decent money selling their homemade CD's via MP3.COM or their own sites. But in no way did MP3.COM and similar sites destroy the traditional record labels and related methods of distribution.

(Yes, a few years later the Apple iTunes store put a big dent into CD sales, but I think the great majority of music sold there is still from the traditional large label conglomerates.)

- TWR
Redondo Beach, California

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