Sunday, January 04, 2009

My tips for saving the entertainment industry

The entertainment industry has acknowledged that there is a recession. And these are the people who have such a positive spin on everything they’ll tell you they’re satisfied with the results of AUSTRALIA. But the fallout from dwindling DVD sales, the downturn in local TV ad revenue, and fewer German dentists willing to finance projects have put the squeeze on Hollywood’s big studios. And last year they took a multi-billion dollar hit on the WGA strike, but that was their choice.

Studios say they are tightening operating budgets. Restricting travel, expense accounts, using temporary help, taking town cars instead of limos, that sort of hardship. Sony, in a sign of utter desperation, cancelled executive meetings in Latin America in December and Europe in June. And Warner Brothers discontinued giving holiday turkeys to key executives, major stars, and agents. Jesus, it’s like a scene out of Oliver Twist.

So, as a public service to my beloved industry, here are some suggestions to help you out in these dire times.

Green light fewer $200 million blockbusters and instead make more romantic comedies and smaller films. Even your home runs aren’t home runs when you offset them with SPEED RACER. A small successful comedy can you bring you huge rewards for relatively little risk. Make ten ROLE MODELS for every one BANGKOK DANGEROUS.

Eliminate all the middle-tier development people. Both in the feature and television world. Here’s why: They don’t DO ANYTHING. They give notes. They clog up the system. They homogenize things. For the most part they’re obstructionists. Proven screenwriters and showrunners don’t need some 2006 graduate of Sarah Lawrence telling them how to fix their projects.

In television: eliminate the “Pod Companies”. These are former executives who now have cushy producing deals with studios. Again, just another layer of interference. Since they still have to hire writers to create and execute ideas why not just eliminate the middle men? A few years ago I helped out on a pilot and between the studio, network, pod company, star’s management team, and standards & practices there were literally 25 people giving notes. How many executives do you need to say “raise the stakes” and “we don’t like her enough”?

Stop paying the Jim Carreys of the world $20 million a picture. Comedy stars in particular wear out their welcome long before studios stop giving them giant paydays. I have just four words: Eddie Murphy, Michael Myers? Develop new stars. Especially on television. Breakout shows generally feature breakout stars. I have just one word: FRIENDS.

Make better movies. 2005 was a horrible boxoffice year and we weren’t in a recession then. But you gave us BEWITCHED.

There are other subjects for motion pictures besides Superheroes. The only one left is the Teeny Little Super Guy.

Force theater chains to stop showing ads before the movies. They drive people away. Does the revenue from these annoying commercials offset the loss in admission tickets? Theater chains make their money on $6.95 buckets of popcorn that cost them three cents to make. Let Mountain Dew peddle their crap elsewhere.

Television networks – concentrate on ratings again and not just putting on your own shows because you own them. Yes, advertising money is shrinking, but not for hit shows.

Run fewer commercials. Charge more for them. But a sponsor’s ad would no longer be buried among ten in a single spot break. People might actually not fast forward through commercials if there was only one or two at a time. And it means more program content time so better audience retention.

People need entertainment, especially during hard times. It’s not like you’re in the mortgage broker business. Your audience is out there. Improve your business models and go get them. It’s something to think about on your private jet to Sundance.


Anonymous said...

Your tips and suggestions make too much sense, so of course they'll never be done!

Richard said...

"There are other subjects for motion pictures besides Superheroes. The only one left is the Teeny Little Super Guy."

Edgar Wright is already working on the Marvel Comics superhero Ant-Man so that's that. But there are plenty more.

Still...have a heart, Ken. We comic book nerds have suffered nothing but abuse and humiliation for decades. The Comic Shop Guy from The Simpsons is probably the most respectful depiction a comic fan has ever received in popular culture, and he's repulsive and obnoxious. It doesn't matter if I can hold forth on William Blake, Alexander Pope, the architectural history of New York, evolutionary biology, or molecular cuisine...if someone hears I like comic books, it's still "oh, you must not be smart enough to read grownup books." Imagine how you'd feel if baseball fans got that sort of treatment?

So just once, for this unbelievably brief and fleeting moment, superhero movies make a bit of cash and the folks who like comics get a tiny fraction of respect for that. For the money, mind you, not for any inherent value in the movies or the comics...but it's a shred of dignity for a put-upon group. It'll be over in the blink of an eye, I promise, and no one will ever speak of those mean old bullying comic book movies again. But geez, can't we have our little moment?

Richard said...

P.S.: I should add that I agree with everything in your post, Ken. I just don't think superhero movies, good or bad, deserve blame here.

Tim W. said...

Can't disagree with anything, although...Bangkok Express?? I did a Google search and came up with nothing. Did you mean Bangkok Dangerous? I don't think it cost all that much money, but it may have made even less.

If there were fewer commercials on TV, I might actually start watching it again.

Verification word: Guido.

Ski said...

Hey ken,
I have a question. I have noticed that on some TV shows, some writers play characters on the shows they write. Do any of these writers ever swtich jobs and become actors? Or conversely, are there any actors who say "screw it I wanna write"?

Keep up the good work buddy.


Anonymous said...

Wise ideas, if insanely optimistic.

As if entertainment execs would take advice from a writer.

Cap'n Bob said...

Change we can believe in! Ooops, it's been said already.

Anonymous said...

"Warner Brothers discontinued giving holiday turkeys to key executives"

If they'd stop giving holiday turkeys to audiences, maybe they'd have something.

Anonymous said...

Love the list. Adding two more.

I'm all for eliminating limited releases and making everything a wide release. You could have seen 'Doubt' in any major theater two years ago. I had to wait until I flew back to New York for the holidays because the OC would rather have 'Australia' on five screens, 'Twilight' on four, and a bunch of other B-movie crap. I had to drive into the boondocks to see 'Milk' two weeks after the supposed release date. I've seen ads all over the place for 'Doubt', 'Milk', and 'Frost/Nixon', but then they don't screen them. What the hell? It seems worse lately as well.

And they can stop giving major projects to actors and directors who are untalented and unprofitable. Do Keanu and Ashton still pull respectable figures? And why is Shaymalan making the live-action (and totally white washed) 'Avatar' movie when everything since 'Unbreakable' has flopped?

Anonymous said...

Posting for no other reason than to comment on my word verification: "Shnitorg". Isn't that the Society for the Annoyed Lispers?

Trey Stokes said...

Eliminate all the middle-tier development people... They don’t DO ANYTHING.

I've only had a few encounters with that particular breed, but more than enough to give that suggestion a big ol' thumbs up.

In one encounter I gave my pitch and I got: Okay, it's interesting - but how do we make sure the audience keeps coming back every week to watch it?"

It was the last of a series of meaningless questions, so in a moment of weakness I said "I have NO IDEA how to guarantee an audience keeps coming back... do you? If there was an actual answer to that, then every show would be a hit. How about we create the most entertaining show we possibly can... it's pretty much out of our hands after that, right?

Shockingly, that was not the right answer...

Anonymous said...


These are wonderful ideas that are bound to be successful, which is why you'll never be a studio executive.

Studios are run by morons and that's the way they like it.

rob! said...

My gf and I were watching the DVDs extras for Forgetting Sarah Marshall last night, and while there is some extraordinarily funny stuff, i couldn't help but marvel at the sheer financial waste on display.

there was one moment where, as a gag, the whole cast and crew had t-shirts made, all with different sayings on the back, commenting on star Jason Segal's big nude scene.

it was cute and all, but all i could think of was, did they really have to spend all that money and time making funny t-shirts? if i was a studio boss i'd be pretty furious.

then of course i'd take my private jet from Los Angeles to Catalina, since i haven't had a vacation in over a week.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Al Franken can leave Minnesota now to save the movie studios...since he won't be saving Minnesota now...

By the way, who of you in Minnesota voted early and voted often for Al Franken? Al Franken? Even Elmer Fudd would be a cut above Al Franken..

Can we lump Al Franken in with Jim Carey from now on?

Mary Stella said...

Off topic, Ken, but did you watch the football playoffs on Saturday? Could the NBC-casters have pre-promoted the 3D stuff and more? I thought of you.

Will you be sad to miss the 3D version of the SoBe dancing lizard commercial?

wv+foechoke -- New wrestling hold

Chad said...

Friday question:

When some ad based cable stations show a movie or TV show they speed up or squeeze the end credits. Are any artist's unions upset and doing anything about this? Similarly, I don't think anyone but the network likes them but is anyone doing anything to get ad crawlers under control?

Rebecca said...

I may not be the best representative about this, because I'm not really an avid moviegoer...I'm very picky about what gets me to a cinema to watch. But I have to say that the ads before movies bother me not at all and I can't understand how they would bother anyone so much as to actually drive them away.

In fact, when I get to the theater early enough to see them, I kind of appreciate having something going on the screen instead of sitting there hearing other people talk or munch on their popcorn. And, lately, I've even enjoyed them because they've started playing the e-trade baby commercials! :)

Nat G said...

To answer someone's question - Jay Tarses would seem to be an example of a writer who did roles in things he wrote and went on to roles in things he didn't write (Duck Factory, Teen Wolf). And then you have non-TV writers who bridged to acting roles, like John Hodgeman and Salman Rushdie.

I don't care about what they show in terms of ads before the announced showtime of a movie. But please, get rid ofthe ads in the movies. When I pay $11 to see a film, I expect to be the customer. I expect the movie tobe made for me. When you take those dimes from Noia and Pepsi and BMW to turn the movie into an ad, you're turning me into the product. Not interested.

Nat G said...

Oooh, and the verification word is "Fansia" It's the CleanFilms version of Disney's Fantasia, with the T & A removed.

Unknown said...

I echo so many here - your advice is to make better stuff. Seems to me the industry is clogged with people who have no idea how to do that. Best advice is for those folks to get out of the way of the true creatives.

Pretty hard advice to follow, but we'll see whether they smarten up as the money noose tightens.

Anonymous said...

I have always wondered why all movies are sold to the public at the same price; the ultra-expensive block buster and the low-budget indie? Every other industry prices the product to maximise sales and discounts lemons when they don't sell.

Big Murr said...

I agree with the basic notion of many smaller projects over one superblockbuster. However, the flaw is that I've been trained over the last twenty years to dissociate the idea of paying the better part of a day's wages to see quiet little movies. The only reason to shell out the big prices for the big screen is big visuals (and sound).

When I see an intriguing advert for a smart little romantic comedy, my mind clicks "That's a good renter." My TV screen will supply all the sensurround I need.

Anonymous said...

Mr. L., I think by now you will recognize that the highest compliment one can receive from someone of this particular affliction this side of the Pecos is, “I have nothing to add.”

....... Fortunately, there were comments...

I’m honestly going for funny, not political here, but it’s all I got to work with. In my humble opinion, Al Franken may be one of the greatest semi-mesomorphic comedic talents of our or any other generation. And he’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and dog-gone it, Jewish enough to be senator from Minnesota. “Jewbetcha!”

I mean who would have thought there were so many Jews in Minnesota? Norm Coleman, Al Franken, Bob Dylan (well on again, off again, on again), Winona Ryder, Bobby Stein (Vikings, Timberwolves – OK, it’s not fair to count team owners and management, we’re everywhere), Paul Wellstone, Rudy Boschwitz... Four more and it’s a minyan. (Just look it up, ok?) The state hasn’t had a Republican senator since Gerald Ford was president (honest). There are so many Jews up there running things, they ought to change the name of the state to Dr.Brown’sCreamSota. Mindysota?

And who’s next door in Wisconsin? Feingold and Kohl (who, incidentally counts double because he’s in retail). Why did Sandy Koufax refuse to pitch the first game of the World Series? Because it was against the Twins, and they had a shul. That’s why. And then of course Gov. Yasha Ventura -- what, you didn’t know?

The AP just reported this morning that the state Supreme Court has denied the Coleman petition to add 650 absentee ballots, and Franken stays ahead by 225 votes. But the other Jew is suing. Go figure.

Both sides are going out of their way to schmooze the State Canvassing Board, “Nice material.” Seriously, nice material. When you’re the Gopher State, who could do more with that, a lawyer or a comedian? I’m for creating the position of Subcommittee Jester. He could open for Biden.

Both sides can feel great for the time being. Since nobody’s been officially seated as of Jan. 3, the correct title, at least for now is “former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota.” That's gotta sting. On the other hand the guy’s probably still hanging onto the office key.

In other developments, I’ve agreed with Ernie on ticket pricing for 40 years. Not quite the same thing, but apart from the, I guess, concert ticket/ Broadway show pricing model, I remember years ago, even after video stores, you were able to see a second-run flick is some less-than-posh venue for a buck. Now, I guess you can still see one for maybe $4 – but you need to speak Hindi. I'm sure it's not just an issue of convenience that some people are willing to rent a flick rather than pay full price at a theater. But I'd still like to get your take on the question

And extra credit for the holiday turkey qualification D.M., heh. Now let’s talk about Levin in Michigan. My God! WTF are they putting in the seltzer up there?

Anonymous said...

I'm really confused about these mid-level development execs. I'm sure they get paid good money. Why would the studios spend that kind of cash if those executives did no good?

There must be some kind of explanation, beyond the usual "They're stupid/evil."

Anonymous said...

ernie: re your question about all movie tickets being priced the same, whether big budget or low -- Seems to me the obvious answer is that the consumer is paying for the same thing each time -- a couple of hours of entertainment. The blockbuster will likely be better promoted and sell many more tickets than the indie. Not sure a lower price point on indie fare would help much.

And movie tickets, despite inevitable increases, are still a pretty good bargain (concessions are another story, and I realize the proverbial family of four has to raid the kids' college fund for a night out at the movies).

Jenius said...

I am SO booking Teeny Little Super Guy.

Agreed on every point.

Would also like to pile on regarding commercials before the films. I was in one of those commercials that showed before every major studio flick of the summer. '05: Fantastic Four, War of the Worlds, Wedding Crashers, Batman Begins...) I'd love to know what the audience size was for that. As I recall, it was about a $1200 buyout, so I netted a little over $600 from running all summer in front of those films.

Megalion said...

Fringe has been doing 60-90 sec commmercial breaks and that's worked very well :)

I don't bother skipping forward when watching Fringe :)

blogward said...

The only things that seem to be getting picked up for TV these days are based on things that have been hits in other formats, are twenty-year remakes, or that supposedly bankable stars are attached to; but so many movies are based on the same things it's going to become even more of a self-referencing homogeneous gloop. Personally I recommend the NigeriaMovies channel for a glimpse of what all TV could well be like in five years.

Mary Stella said...

When I went to see Frost-Nixon over the holidays, for 15 minutes before the movie previews, they ran trailers for The Beast and other television shows. All I could think of was if people liked what they saw, they'd stay home to watch it instead of going to the movies.

wv= bownerpy. That's funny in and of itself and needs no definition. LOL

Anonymous said...

From George Orwell's 1984: There was a whole chain of separate departments dealing with proletarian literature, music, drama, and entertainment generally. Here were produced rubbishy newspapers containing almost nothing except sport, crime and astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means on a special kind of kaleidoscope known as a versificator.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for the Turkey Farmers and people at the venues where the meeting were cancelled. They need the money too!

WV: Here' a good one: nogroggi. Too good to be wasted on me.

Anonymous said...

Message to Pat Paulsen upthread, from a former Minnesotan:

Franken WON! He beat out sleazebag Norm Coleman.

Hooray, I say.

Anonymous said...

OK, with this news, I guess now's as good a time as any to say, I meant Minnesota hasn't had a Non-Jewish senator since the Ford administration. As the Pat Paulsen I voted for in 68 and 72 might say, "Picky, picky, picky."

Cap'n Bob said...

The idea of selling movie tickets based on the scope of the movie is like a bald guy asking for a cheaper haircut because he has fewer follicles. You aren't buying entertainment value, which is subjective anyway, but a seat in which to set your butt. Same with the bald guy. And for no extra charge you get to listen to the dummies around you talk during the show.

Pamela Atherton said...

I've been on a Rockford Files kick, watching all 69 episodes on HULU. How many seasons is that? Only 3. And the shows were 50 minutes long.

Less commercials, more content, more shows. Ahhh... those were the good old days. Who had time to find the remote to skip through the few commercials?? Perhaps we can learn from the past.

Of course, James Garner had a lot to do with why the shows were so good....

I guess I'm just old and wricked (my wv)

Write Away said...

Brilliant ideas. At first I was hoping your "save the industry" material would be one giant laugh riot, but I'm glad I only had a few chuckles, as your ideas are spot on. Why not make smaller films? Why not have sponsored commercials on the air rather than two plus minutes of commercials that almost make you want to turn away from your favorite show and see what else is on? But let's also add more films that are written by writers and not executives huddles in a room. I find the "notes" sessions to be nothing more than pissing contests anyway, and how much faith can a writer have in an MBA giving him/her story advise anyway. Great post, Ken!

donna said...

Whenever I watch TV, I end up randomly flipping around til a Scrubs episode comes on. It ends up being pretty much the only thing I watch. Either that, or That 70s show, sometimes Two and a Half Men. My kids Tivo the Mythbusters and How Its Made episodes as their entertainment for the most part. We tried watching Heroes but geez, what a mess it became. Sigh.

Unbelievable amounts of crap, reality TV, and endless commercials. So tired of it..

Alan Coil said...

I think one of the ways to stop viewers from fast forwarding through commercials is to make them shorter. Run commercials more often, but limit them to 30 seconds of continual commercial. Many commercials could have the same impact if they were 10-15 seconds long. And if the total commercial time was 30 seconds, it would be too much trouble to fast forward.

Alan Coil said...

In the place I see many movies, the trailers start at the scheduled start of the movie. All the commercials are before the start time of the movie. If you time it carefully, you never have to see the pre-movie commercials.

Anonymous said...

"Pat Paulsen said...
Perhaps Al Franken can leave Minnesota now to save the movie studios...since he won't be saving Minnesota now...

By the way, who of you in Minnesota voted early and voted often for Al Franken? Al Franken? Even Elmer Fudd would be a cut above Al Franken..

Can we lump Al Franken in with Jim Carey from now on?"

The irony here is that the REAL Pat Paulson would be solidly supporting Al Franken, despite the fact that Al's Senatorial campaign was more successful than Pat's presidential runs.

Something is truely wrong with appropriating the name of a dead celebrity and then using it to espouse a point-of-view that would be the real person's polar opposite.

An I think Al will make a fine Senator.

Anonymous said...

"Nat G said...
Oooh, and the verification word is "Fansia" It's the CleanFilms version of Disney's Fantasia, with the T & A removed."

GENIUS! If that had been a contest finalist, I'd have voted for it!

Anonymous said...

I have a Friday Question about M*A*S*H.

In the movie, The Swamp had 4 residents, who were the primary characters: Hawkeye, Trapper, Frank Burns, and Duke Forrest, played by Tom Skerritt. Duke was as important a character as Hawkeye & Trapper John.

So why was Duke conspicious by his utter absence from the TV series? I've been curious about this for over 30 years.

Anonymous said...

I'm not even in the business, but your arguments are so well articulated that all I can say is: Amen to that, sir.

Several clarifications on the Minnesota Senate race:

1. Norm Coleman is not a Minnesotan. He grew up in Brooklyn and only went to the Midwest after law school. Senator Franken (kaynahora), whatever his virtues and faults, grew up in Minnesota.

2. A. B. Short wrote above, "Minnesota hasn't had a Non-Jewish senator since the Ford administration" - the intended meaning, I think, is "Minnesota has always had at least one Jewish senator since Ford"; not both at the same time, as was implied. And it's always been the currently contested seat: Franken succeeded Coleman, who in turn succeeded - sadly - Wellstone, who had defeated Rudy Boschwitz in 1990. So Rudy (elected in 1978) was the first of the line.

3. Coleman is vilified - and he should be - because he's been a Bush supporter who moreover had once been a Democrat (i.e., DFL mayor of St. Paul - he switched while in office).

Anonymous said...

Regarding the misappropriation of a dead celebrity's name to espouse a point of view that would be the real person's polar opposite
. . . . I never liked Norm Coleman.

Rob said...

Some more:

Extend the window from big screen to DVD beyond 48 hours. I'm not going to pay $40 for my wife,daughter, and I to see the movie if I can buy it two months later for $20.

Work out something so we can see our favorite network shows "on demand". I'd be willing to watch new shows if I didn't have to worry about clogging my TIVO up with them.

Find Judd Apatow an editor.

Refuse to hire Nicole Kidman until her face is capable of making an expression.

Quit starting your shows at odd times. That one minute over isn't going to make me stay with your network, it's just going to piss me off.

Learn from the cable networks and make shorter season runs of more shows.

Anonymous said...

Will Rogers, that was very funny.

As it happened, my grandfatehr was a friend of the real Will Rogers back in the 1920s. Grandpa worked on Will's silent movies with him. According to Grandpa, Will was lying. There were definitly people he didn't like, just not publically.

Anonymous said...


The cast of British children's series "Rainbow" used to write the scripts too until one day an order came down from on high that this was not to happen. Stanley Bates who played Bungle, a giant teddy bear, decided that he would rather be a writer, so hung up his fur, which was then filled by the actor who had been playing the role of the shy Hippo, The bear being, I guess, a far meatier role. Read his full story here

There's lots more gossip behind the Rod, Freddy and Jane story if anyone wants to take a little dig.

Anonymous said...

Captain Bob: Coincidentally enough, I just watched The Lonely Guy on cable tonight, and Charles Grodin and Steve Martin have a little debate about whether or not balding guys should get cheaper haircuts than, say, Michael Landon. Grodin, of course, thinks they should, but Martin points out that the payment is not related to the amount of hair involved, but rather to what the stylist does with it.

Anonymous said...

WV: harenits -- a condition for which rabbits wear hairnets.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I like commercials before the movie me more time to get my silo of popcorn and water tower of Coke.


Anonymous said...

Just what has Al Franken ever done that was funny? Actually, what has Al Franken ever done? If it had been GARY Coleman running against him....

Until Franken is shot out of a cannon to celebrate his victory, it's not over till it's over.

Anonymous said...

Al Franken is a hack. So if he ever does get to sit in his highly contested Senate seat, he'll feel right at home.

Anonymous said...

So now "The Smothers Brothers" have joined "Pat Paulson" is espousing views the real men do not hold. Why are whoever you are maligning these men? Why not just use your own name? You're allowed to not like Al Franken you know.

Myself, I like Al. I have always found him funny. I have read all of his books, which are whip smart, informed, incisive, and very funny. I have met him a few times, and like him personally as well.

30 years ago I took a date to see Franken & Davis do a live stage show, which was hilarious. A heavy prop fell off the stage and hit my date in the leg. (We were in the front row.) She wasn't seriously injured; just a slight bruise.

Al came out to talk with us. He was very concerned, kind, and apologetic, even though it was an unforseeable accident and certainly not his fault. He went out of his way to make things right, refunding our admissions and givnig us free passes to a future performance to use or share. (We came back. It was a very funny show.)

Al is roughly a billion times more intelligent and informed than President Bush, and he will make a fine Senator. A hack he isn't.

That is MY name up top.

Anonymous said...

Being from New Hampshire, where we always have Republican Senators (I know, I know, but trust me, Shaheen is really a moderate Republican which, in NH, is like a Democrat) I have to find my heroes elsewhere. I never really liked Al's SNL stuff and found Stuart Smalley appalling, but I love his books, I love his attitude, I love his wife (GREAT lady!), and I look forward to having him in the Senate.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Crutnacker, there is indeed a CBS On Demand service available through some cable systems (mine is the otherwise dreadful Comcast). No commercials, or maybe one or two. So look around. Also I think NBC makes some shows available online.

I believe Joel and Ethan Coen are also Minnesotans. I wonder if you can get decent delicatessen in the Land of 1000 Lakes.

Rob said...

Ah, what it must be like to be in a state puts a smart guy like Franken in office.

My state's contributions to the hot 100? The senile HOF pitcher Jim Bunning, and the man we liberals love to hate, Mitch McConnell.

But hey, we got all the bourbon we can stand.

Anonymous said...

Another brilliant correspondent wrote "Al is roughly a billion times more intelligent and informed than President Bush"...

It's no wonder studios take you for all you're worth if you can't do basic math.

A billion times zero is still zero.

Anonymous said...

"Another anonymous wrote: A billion times zero is still zero."

True, but Bush, idiot though he is, can speak in disjointed sentence fragments, tie his own shoes, steal the presidency, bankrupt the United States, and convince Yale to give him a diploma. Plus he can read well enough to read simple books to small children while America is under attack. so small as his intellect is, it's not quite zero.

And 1,000,000,000 x 1 = 1,000,000,000.

But you did make me chuckle. And no studio has ever taken me, for all I'm worth, or even for less, although Spielberg did get the price of an admission to HOOK out of me, and I want it back!

Anonymous said...

"There are other subjects for motion pictures besides Superheroes. The only one left is the Teeny Little Super Guy." -- as in charlie chaplin's tramp fighting the goliaths of the 20s and 30s?

Anonymous said...

I hear that Al Franken has offered to give a refund to anyone who didn't like his SNL material..

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add....that'll be a billion x zero..

Anonymous said...

I think I now see why one would choose to be anonymous or use a phony name when posting comments on this blogsite...shortly after posting my opinions on Al Franken here some assbucket started signing me up for all kinds of crap using my email address..

Was that you, Al?

Anonymous said...

Having been in film development at the middle tier for almost 20 years I have to say that, in part, I agree. Most creative executives are glorified assistants who cobble together a generic set of "notes" from a variety of sources. Since everybody is reading massive amounts of material on a weekly basis this is considered a flawed but valuable service. So it's doubtful they'll do away with it.

What top level execs are doing now is eliminating the C.E.s and putting their names on another set of homogenized notes based on the story analyst's work and meetings with their 2-3 man team.

At the same time, in defense of story analysts (many of whom have advanced degrees and decades of experience) they are often able to pinpoint production issues the writer can't see because of access to the development slate and the general mindset of the company.

Streamlining the process is a great idea and, except in the case of Disney - which is heavily into in-house development - will most likely result in more development being done at the production house level not the studios.

Really enjoy your blog Ken. Congratulations on your recent nomination as Sportscaster!