Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Indie Future: Mechanic Offers Answers

Always one of the smarter players in Hollywood, ex-Fox studio chairman Bill Mechanic (now owner of the production company Pandemonium LLC) gave a keynote speech Tuesday morning on the future of the indies at the Independent Film & Television Alliance Production Conference. Is he looking for a job (there’s a big opening at Disney, where he used to run home video)? Maybe.

In any case, his analysis of what’s going on is strong. As always, Mechanic fights for the interesting, challenging and original over standard-issue formula fare:

It’s disrespectful if not downright dumb to think audiences can’t tell the difference between the original, which occasionally might even have some fresh faces, and the copy, which almost always is populated with retreads. It’s like thinking you can sell yesterday’s news under a different banner.


While use of the internet and video games have dominated leisure time activities, movie consumption is down or flat over the same period. And, more to the point, you can see that there is a 21% drop in film going amongst the core target audience and a 24% drop in the next key category, 25-39 year olds.

And yes, these charts beg another question: if the audiences are shifting, why isn’t the product shifting as well. Name 5 mainstream films this year that successfully targeted an over-30 year audience. In that way, Hollywood in the broadest sense of the word is much like Detroit. It’s a manufacturer’s mentality that reigns, seemingly indifferent to the consumers it serves. Ignore whether the consumer likes our product as long as they buy it.

Market it and they will come.

and MY personal favorite (I've been saying it for years): "We have too many insignificant movies clogging our distribution channels."

read the rest on Thompson's Blog here:

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