X

Looks like you are a new visitor to this site. Hello!

Welcome to Hope For Film! Come participate in the discussion, and I encourage you to enter your email address in the sidebar and subscribe. It's free! And easy! If you have any suggestions on how to improve this website or suggestions for topics please don't hesitate to write in to any of the blogs.

You can also follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

(If you keep getting this message, you probably have cookies turned off.)

December 23 at 8:15am

10 Must Read Film Biz Articles Of 2014

By Ted Hope

A lot has gone on in 2014. Our world continues to change rapidly. It no longer will be what it once was and we have to move on from it. IMHO, few have a handle on where it is all heading. All the more reason why you should want to dig in deep and explore.  All the more reason why we need filters and curators to point us in one direction or the other.  All the more reason we need someone to approach it as a business, and stop relying on those who feel forced to do it as a hobby.

Here’s my quick survey on the year in film biz that was, as told by the articles that resonated for me (or at least ten of the subjects). Many thanks to my friends who helped pull this together by recommending reads along the way.

The “Too Many Films?” Debate. (Jan. 12)  The year got off with a splash, as Manohla Dargis dared asked if the abundance has runneth over.  Tim Wu rebutted.  Beanie Barnes and others chimed in with other perspectives.  Regardless of where you sit on the issue, the reality that must be reckoned with is that we have more films than we can consume. Our industry was established on the premise of scarcity of content, and we are now due for a profound pivot.

MediaREDEF’s 3-part “Future Of Film” (Feb, 2014) 1:”Why Summer 2013 Was Destined For Losses”  2:”Box Office Losses As The Price Of Admission”  3: “The Crash Of Film As A Platform” — Liam Boluk’s careful analysis demonstrating that the tentpole business is not about movies but about setting up platforms for lucrative additional revenues captures this moment we are in when the movie business is not about films, at least not on Hollywood’s global level.  Using graphs and careful analysis we get a clear picture.  For those of you/us driven by the art and the transformative power of film, this read is the equivalent recognition that someone else is from Mars or Venus. We just aren’t doing the same thing.  Perhaps the best thing is, if these three substantive posts did give you your fill, there is one more: “The Future Of Superhero Cinema“.”

The Paradox Of Art As Work“, AO Scott, NY Times, May 6. Personally, I can never think of anything more valuable to the world than the generation of distinct, ambitious art. Yes, I am pulled to the systems that allow for this production too, but for me, a beautiful story always shines the brightest. The lack of fair compensation for the creation of this has been one of those itches I obsess over. How I wish I could throw myself exclusively into birthing and aiding such gems — if only my collaborators could be compensated fairly for their contributions and risk. The nature of our times though, for most, this no longer matters.  As Scott puts it:

“A concentration of big stars, blockbusters and best sellers will sit at the top of the ladder. An army of striving self-starters will swarm at the bottom rungs, hoping that their homemade videos go viral, their self-published memoir catches fire or their MFA thesis show catches the eye of a wealthy buyer. The middle ranks are being squeezed out of existence.” 

It is those middle ranks where my own aesthetic and ambition reside. I could use such an article every year to help me in recognizing the “rub” within the dream. Scott sums it up with “Inexpensive goods carry hidden costs, and those costs are frequently borne by exploited, underpaid workers. This is true of our clothes and our food, and it is no less true of those products we turn to for meaning, pleasure and diversion.” We can’t let our consumption destroy the production of what we crave.

The Full NY Times Innovation Report“, Mashable, May 15.  To quote Sundance Artist Service’s Joseph Beyer “Just substitute whatever content type you are working on within the context of this document and you will be reading your own tea leaves!”

An Analysis Of Current Internet Trends For Independent Film” Marc Shiller, medium.com, May 30. There is so much more that can be done here. It is a necessary annual overview. It is the sort of thing that our film support organizations should release annually. I am glad that Marc has started this ball rolling, and help there is a collective effort to allow it to hit full momentum. Let’s face it, the shifts are fast and we all need perspective.

Mary Meeker’s Love Affair With Web Video“, Steve Rosenblum, Forbes, June 1. It’s not so much for the article but really for what is in it.  Mary Meeker makes a good case that we are in the early stages of TV 2.0: a trifecta of change, with devices, content, & monetization. And here are all the slides — they are the MUST READ but as they number 164 you might want to read a brief first to get hooked.

The Cinema Of Future” The Philosophers Mail, July. One day the Film Biz will wake up and recognize they have to make and market films that can REALLY do something useful — not just entertain and kill time (and that this utility is film’s most important attribute):

 ”Watching films has become so profoundly familiar in our society, we have lost sight of just how strange, remarkable and consequential this activity truly is. We have come to take cinema so for granted, we don’t wonder how we might use it to benefit our lives in a properly profound way. Ideally, we would get more ambitious about the role of cinema in the world. We would try to pin down more accurately what films can actually do for us, then make sure we’re reliably making, and finding our way to seeing, the best (that is, the most useful) kinds of films: the films that really do help us with our struggles and pains. We would, ideally, learn that film – like all the other art forms – best reveals its power when we conceive of it as a kind of therapy.”
 John Oliver on “Cable Industry Fuckery” (aka lack of Net Neutrality). Mr. Oliver did more to elevate the necessary than any white paper could of.
 
It’s A White Industry. It Just Is.” by Chris Rock, The Hollywood Reporter, 12/6/14. Mr. Rock calls the Industry out on its lazy and ultimately racist behavior — and he’s right. And very, very funny. And things have to change. I have to be better on this front too. And as much has been said and written on this, it probably takes someone like Chris Rock, who came make us laugh at what is such a disgraceful situation to move it ahead. It is after all the role of art and culture, to show us both the world that we can aspire to and the world that we have truly made — and from that help us build the path forward.
 
The Sony Hacks brought some necessary issues into focus, but most importantly that we don’t know how to respond to such things. I found Vice’s “Reaction To The Sony Hacks “Beyond The Realm Of Stupid” (Dec 17, by Jason Koebler), quite sobering in the best way: we have to determine how to deal with future hacks now. Similarly, I found the NY Times’ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan’s plea for more F2F enlightening for its open discussion around the various issues and how little “policy” is in place anywhere.  Yes, I initially found it insightful to have the glimpse inside the studio vail that the Hacks afforded, but probably could have gained as much reading the New Yorker’s great parody. The key thing to me though is that now both as companies and as individuals we really are on our own right now in determining how to deal with the leak of both our own and others’ stolen information. As this incredible real time site demonstrates, America faces constant cyber attacks. We currently have no rule of law as how to respond to these attacks, personally, corporately, or industry wide. We need to determine our personal standards.  And yes, sometimes such illegal acts do release important newsworthy information, but there is a whole lot that we should just turn away from too. Action starts by determining for yourself, your interests, and your community, what would you do today if your were in those shoes.
 
Of course this list should include many articles from this blog (if I do say so myself!), including the comprehensive list of all that is bad (30 Things) and all that is good (32 Things) in 2014′s Film Biz.  Probably my predictions for the future too. Stay tuned for this year’s blog highlights — but I am getting tired and starting to fantasize putting this all down for a rest for awhile.  We will see….
 
And as a bonus, here are a few other morsels to gobble down:
 BOOKS:

VIDEOS:

(of course I have to do a little self-promotion!)

Thanks to those that gave me tips or reminded me of the year’s rich offerings (Joe Beyer, Sheri Chandler, Robin Harper).  Please be sure to share your recommendations below.
 


  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • Print

44 Comments

leave a comment
  1. Sheri Candler / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    If we’re going to talk self promotion….I will invite people to download our follow up to “Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul”, which is entitled “Selling Your Film Outside the US” with a particular emphasis on digital distribution of films in Europe. Downloads are free from sellingyourfilm.com/store.

  2. VoIP / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Its great as your other posts : D, thanks for posting . “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it” by Steven Wright.

  3. chalet / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Hey I am so happy I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was searching on Aol for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a incredible post and a all round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the fantastic work.|

  4. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Can I just say what a relief to find someone who genuinely knows what they’re discussing on the internet. You definitely realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people should look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you’re not more popular since you most certainly have the gift.

  5. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a top notch article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.

  6. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Excellent blog you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find high quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  7. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you should write more on this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people don’t discuss these subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!

  8. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!

  9. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I blog quite often and I genuinely appreciate your content. This great article has really peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  10. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Well written!

  11. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I’m hoping to view the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal blog now ;)

  12. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

  13. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I’m extremely pleased to find this website. I wanted to thank you for ones time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to see new things on your blog.

  14. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Excellent blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  15. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I quite like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  16. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Very good write-up. I certainly love this website. Thanks!

  17. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Very good information. Lucky me I found your website by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved it for later!

  18. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    It’s hard to come by well-informed people for this topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  19. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  20. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    After looking into a number of the blog posts on your blog, I honestly like your way of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site as well and let me know how you feel.

  21. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Can I just say what a relief to uncover a person that really understands what they are talking about on the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you aren’t more popular given that you surely have the gift.

  22. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I came across this in my search for something regarding this.

  23. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.

  24. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    There’s definately a lot to learn about this topic. I really like all of the points you have made.

  25. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a great article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  26. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe that this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info!

  27. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    After checking out a handful of the blog articles on your web site, I really appreciate your technique of blogging. I added it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site too and tell me your opinion.

  28. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    You need to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest websites on the web. I most certainly will recommend this site!

  29. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this blog.

  30. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Good article! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.

  31. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am encountering difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else having the same RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  32. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me lunch simply because I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this matter here on your blog.

  33. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

  34. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    It’s hard to come by well-informed people for this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  35. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

  36. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Great article! We will be linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.

  37. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I believe that you need to write more about this subject, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people don’t talk about such topics. To the next! Many thanks!!

  38. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I found this in my search for something concerning this.

  39. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I came across this in my search for something regarding this.

  40. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

  41. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Many thanks for sharing!

  42. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    Great info. Lucky me I came across your website by accident (stumbleupon). I have book-marked it for later!

  43. www / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    That is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very accurate information… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!

  44. helpful hints / Dec 23 at 8:15am

    whoah this weblog is fantastic i really like reading your posts. Keep up the great work! You realize, many people are looking around for this information, you could help them greatly. |

Leave a Comment

This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!