Why most of Hollywood’s output is useless

From Steve Safran at Lost Remote — which has quickly become one of my favourite media blogs — comes a link to a piece of commentary at the Hollywood Reporter, written by Steve Bryant. The headline is “Hollywood too often misses the moment,” but I think Steve Safran’s headline at Lost Remote captures the point much better: taking a line from the HR commentary, he says “Media that can’t be manipulated is almost useless.”

borat.jpgAn exaggeration, perhaps, but the more I read of Steve Bryant’s piece the more I found myself nodding my head in agreement. He describes how, having written about, blogged about, seen mashups of and otherwise consumed content related to the Borat movie, he has virtually no interest whatsoever in buying or watching the DVD. “Media is changing from entertainment into utility,” he says. “Media that can’t be manipulated is almost useless.” When listening to the radio, he says he wants to freeze the broadcast so he can pull a link from it and email it to someone. Likewise when he watches TV or goes to the movies.

All of the chatting and blogging and linking and YouTube-watching, he says:

“make a greater imprint on my psyche than any single media event inside a theater — or inside a DVD — could have. It’s simple reward/response psychology. Online, I can track who watches my clips, who reads my posts, who liked my mash-up. The Internet flatters us with attention in a way Hollywood no longer can.”

The solution? “Join the gabfest while the gabbing is good,” Bryant says. “Get rid of distribution windows, or shorten them dramatically. Between the theatrical release and the DVD, seed the Web with deleted scenes. When the DVD comes out, include shareable clips and tell people to upload them. And put the entire movie online. Allow people to stream it, download it, whatever.”

Good advice.

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