Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Conservative Opportunity In Hollywood?

I’m wondering about the future of the film industry. In particular, I am wondering if there isn’t an opening developing for conservatives? I don’t mean that Hollywood is about to open its doors to conservatives. What I mean instead is that Hollywood failed to lock the door and its audience is escaping. Maybe conservatives should think about offering them a new home? Consider this.

The entertainment industry has become an oligopoly (though groupthink basically makes it a monopoly). Six companies control 90% of all viewing hours on television: Disney, News Corp, NBC Universal, Time Warner, CBS and Discovery. These companies decide what you get to watch. They also own either in whole or in part, the major studios, who dominate the theater chains. Thus, a handful of companies are responsible for all the films and television you see. Even independent companies like Netflix or Blockbuster rely on these companies to provide them with content.

Ok, so why is that important? Because these companies have fallen into the same trap that all monopoly/oligopoly companies have fallen into before them.

When a company has “market power,” i.e. the power to exclude competitors and dictate to consumers, they get lazy and greedy. Specifically, they realize that it makes no sense for them to innovate or embrace change because their current business model gets them much higher profits than they could otherwise obtain in a free market. Thus, they put their energy into maintaining their monopoly rather than improving their products. This results in: (1) high prices which consumers see as unfair, (2) lack of innovation in the product, (3) an unwillingness to embrace technology, and (4) poor customer service.

The entertainment industry is beset by this. Films are generic so they can be marketed to the broadest possible market. No risks are taken. To make foreign sales, the film companies now strip out anything from films that would harm the films in any region, rather than customizing them by region. Hollywood also forces theaters into a destructive business model. And they fight any technological change which would give consumers greater choice. This is the exact course the music industry charted to its near death.

All of this results in falling box office attendance, falling numbers for cable subscribers, and an increase in pirating.

But here’s the thing. This isn’t 1950. Technology is giving people a way around the entertainment monopoly. The web has made it ridiculously easy to self-publish a book, a record, or even a film. Indeed, you no longer need a distribution network or a chain of theaters to get your film shown. Similarly, modern technology has made it incredibly cheap to shoot movies as you no longer need million dollar cameras and miles of film or a multimillion dollar studio backing you. All you need is a solid digital camera, an eye for using it and editing software.

My point is this. Hollywood is pricing itself out of the market right now at the exact time that technology has opened up avenues for alternatives. Moreover, Hollywood has chosen this moment to start turning out corporate computer-generated crappola for product and is busy stripping out the great dialog (too complex for foreign audiences), the cool humor (too many people might not get it), and the cool patriotic and pro-human themes audiences love (won’t play in China or Berkley).

This creates an opportunity. If conservatives are smart, they can create a new Hollywood, picking up the opportunities Hollywood won’t touch and selling them to audience over the net, either through the creation of a new film site, eHollywood, or in partnerships with the likes of Blockbuster and Netflix. This is an historic opportunity to get ahead of the curve and conservatives should seize it.

Am I right or wrong? What would it take for you to start watching truly independent films?


Tennessee Jed said...

that's what it would take, Andrew. People willing to risk capital and do things differently. Look what has happened to the large blue chip behemoths vs. the new smaller nimble companies. It is incredibly hard, but it could be done. People need to understand the difference between profitable and blockbuster. Still, the product has to be good. It sure would be nice though.

tryanmax said...

Awareness. That's it. I'm sure there are plenty of high-quality backyard and basement features out there that could rival, nay, trounce the pablum Hollywood puts out in both storytelling and technical terms. But I don't know about them.

Technology has really leveled the production playing field, but Hollywood still holds most of the cards when it comes to marketing. The internet remains a tricky and treacherous place for promotion. Viral marketing isn't what it was originally trumpeted as because it is highly unpredictable and almost certainly untamable.

This irks me because I'm a marketing guy with experimental tendencies. If I just knew about a couple films like these--quality, entertaining films from outside the Hollywood plantation--I could see me devoting my free time simply to finding ways of getting the word out on a zero budget. I have a name that I'd like to make for myself, too, y'know.

Tennessee Jed said...

tryanmax - there has to be capital to raise the awareness as you say. It is true that good marketing can certainly maximize one's bang for the buck, but you still need money to market, even at a time where word of mouth internet visibility is on the rise (not to mentin youtube stuff that "goes viral."

tryanmax said...

FYI, I use "zero budget" not to mean a budget of literally zero, but rather a very scant budget.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Investment of capital is right. But in this case, much of that is being done by internet companies already.

Look at publishing. Amazon and a half dozen self-publishers have made it so you can go around the "professional publishers," who are acting like monopolists in the middle of death throws.

Some of these same companies now let you press CDs for music and films. Video cameras are getting to the point that they are as good as what you see in many films. Editing software lets you create much of what Hollywood does dirt cheap.

Right now there is no way to make something like Lord of the Rings but it would be very easy to make the next Pulp Fiction.

The key is to get an audience. That's where people like Netflix come in because they are looking for content. Some big name actor (name escapes me at the moment) is actually releasing his next big action film direct to DirectTv.

The world is changing and conservatives should hop on that change, especially as Hollywood is giving an opening by abandoning the very things Americans want to see in films.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, You are right that awareness is the key. And that's where I think the money needs to be invested.

What would be ideal would be for a group of conservative actors/producers/directors to create a new site for the distribution of films to the public. Not necessarily a conservative site, but a film site in the generic sense where people can find independent film information and maybe even download/stream some content.

I think the key would be to offer a broad variety of content and get people who know what they are doing to sort through them and promote the good ones.

Exactly how to spread the word is a good question. That's where the marketing people need to wrack their brains.

I've been trying to figure out how to market books and I've come up with a lot of ideas, but nothing firm yet and nothing that I can say I know will work. Any thoughts you have would be appreciated. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed and tryanmax, I think fairly good marketing campaigns can be put together on the internet, but you need to find your target market and I think its takes time rather than money to be successful.

For example, we get a lot of requests from people to review books or pimp their websites. But if we don't even know who these people are, we just ignore them. But when people who post or visit regularly ask, then we take those requests seriously.

Also, there seem to be some ready-made places that have a lot of power to get people to take a look at your product -- IMDB, BH. The question is whether you can get them to pay attention to you?

Anonymous said...

(This is one of my meandering posts.) :-)

Gee, Andrew, from reading the article, it would appear that politics are actually pretty low (but not the lowest) on the grievance list and that simple lack of innovation is the big problem. Fix that and the political stuff will fix itself since more people of more political persuasions will be compelled to start creating content.

Of course, this is a gross oversimplification and this issue is one that has many facets.

Re: politics, I don't think that Pandora's Box can be closed again. But even Adam Baldwin admitted Hollywood is more center-right than people think... but all of those people simply wake up, go to work, go home, and spend time with their families like normal people. They're not busy writing for HuffPo and appearing on Bill Maher. And those people aren't the ones that hold the levers of power.

Whenever the subject of a "conservative Hollywood" has been brought up, I always have to wonder, "Yeah, and what's to stop it from tilting left over time?" And what would a conservative Hollywood look like? Would it look like what Hollywood should look like, where movies of all political stripes are welcomed, or would it simply be the right-wing mirror image of the Hollywood we have now?

Re: technology, I totally agree. There were two articles I sent to Nolte just the other day: one asking if Apple should "buy" Hollywood, and the other claiming it'd be a terrible idea. It would appear that no one company can do it all: innovate and create compelling content. Netflix and Amazon are slowly changing that but it's gonna take a while.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, time (ie relationships) really is the currency of the web more than money--not to knock the importance of money in the offline world. I actually bought an e-book just because 1) it was discussed on BH and 2) the author was smart enough to release a large enough segment to draw me in and leave me wanting more. My rule of thumb is this: if it works on a jaded cynic like me, it's good marketing.

Scott, no one company can do it all How true. This is why it is a mistake for government to favor big business at the expense of small business--or any derivation thereof. Different companies bring different strengths to the marketplace and, ultimately, all will benefit as a result. (I also happen to think that the overgrown multi-market corporate behemoth is an error, but as long as it is not artificially propped up, I say let it be, I may be wrong.)

AndrewPrice said...



Tech first. The thing is that companies do different things. Amazon doesn't create content because that's not their business. They just give others a place to sell their content. What they have done, which is so critical, is they have opened the door through technology to outsiders.

Look at books. In the past, you had to get an agent, who had to find a publisher. They decided if your book got printed and how it got sold if it did. The gatekeepers were all liberals -- liberal agents, liberal publishers. So conservatives had no way in except to hide their beliefs. And even putting politics aside, average people didn't get in unless these two gatekeepers decided to let you in.

That model is now all but dead and publishers are trying to suck out the last few drops of blood from their big names before the end. (This deserves its own post sometime.)

Amazon has given everyone the ability to go around the gatekeepers and put out their own material at much higher profit margins.

What Amazon wasn't able to give was credibility and all of the services publishers supposedly gave. Only, it turns out that publishers no longer give those. And as for credibility, self-publishing is exploding. You might not be able to get reviewed by the NYT, but that hasn't stopped people from selling millions of books through self-publishing.

Moreover, the different in margins is extreme. It's pennies out of $20 books compared to 75% for all book over $3. That's a HUGE difference.

I don't know if you remember MC Hammer, but he was the first to point out the problem with the music industry. He got this mega contract, but he later admitted that he made more money selling CDs out of the trunk of his car at bars before he became famous than he did from the record contract because the percentages were so skewed. It's the same thing here.

These industries were monopolies and technology has broken the monopoly. They haven't innovated and now they are failing as people move beyond them.

Hollywood uses the exact same model and faces the same problem. And it's Hollywood's failure to serve it's customers combined with people now being willing to see movies in places other than theaters which opens this door.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott (continued)

On politics. I haven't really gotten into the politics of this issue. But here are some points.

1. Most of what Hollywood makes is largely apolitical. BUT the politics they do include are so one-sided and so noxious that it actually has turned off vast swaths of the public.

2. That said, the biggest problem, i.e. the big new opportunity, is that Hollywood has made a decision for political and marketing reasons to exclude the very things American audiences want from their entertainment -- proAmerican themes, patriotism, complex characters to care about, interesting plots, and humor that appeals to Americans and our culture.

3. What a conservative Hollywood would be like depends on which strain of conservatism controls. If it's general conservatism, then you would basically see more "apolitical" and patriotic films, with a dramatic drop in the number of liberal boogeymen and knee-jerk liberal sucker punches. If it's a more strident form, then you could see a Hollywood that mirrors the left.

My guess is that a conservative Hollywood would be much like if you took Branson, Missouri and moved it into the heart of Vegas. You'd have much more Americana, but you would still have all the other stuff as well.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Large is bad in the business world, they just don't realize it because large appears safe. The problem with large is that it's unfocused and inflexible. That's why it's better not to have these massive conglomerates. But the thing about the conglomerates is that they appear to promise safety from the market because the success of one division can offset the failure of another, and they appear to offer "synergy," which seems to be a myth.

On the marketing, how long was the sample? I know a lot of people release 1-3 chapters.

I agree that relationships are the currency of the web. But I don't think too many marketing companies want to hear that because that means they really need to spend their time trying to make friends rather than just posting ads.

I've found it interesting watching the companies that tried to create web "buzz" and how it's almost always failed miserably.

Anonymous said...

I agree about which "strain" of conservatism would control things. I remember when Bill Whittle announced Declaration Entertainment, my first thought was, "The millisecond they announce a feature that is rated R or is otherwise unsuitable for family viewing, some folks are gonna have a conniption fit: 'I thought this was supposed to be a conservative company?!'"

And I do remember MC Hammer - I'm not that young!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'm just feeling old today.

Yeah, one of the problems with creating a specifically "conservative" film company is that people will get bent out of shape the moment it diverges from Leave It To Beaver. That's why I think it would be better for conservatives to just create "a film company".

The idea would be to give people from outside Hollywood a place to showcase their stuff -- kind of like film festivals were supposed to be before they started declaring things like Pirates of the Caribbean as "foreign films" or "independent films."

tryanmax said...

This one was four chapters, but the chapters were a little shorter than most novels. The book was Nine-Tenths by Meira Pentermann, BTW. Overall, it was a little lighter than I was hoping it would be, but for the Kindle price, I was quite satisfied.

I love my Kindle, ebooks really take a lot of the risk out of buying a new title or author. I'm guessing since you have a few BH articles under your belt, you'll be able to promo there. You might even be able to contact Ms. Pentermann to see if she got a boost.

AndrewPrice said...

I'm kind of struggling with the question of pricing right now. There seem to be very different theories on that and I'm not sure which is better. Some say $0.99 is "the new price" whereas others are selling for $2.99 or $3.99 or even $7.99.

One problem, however, is that to get the 75% rate, you need to price it above $2.99. Otherwise it's a 35% rate.

AndrewPrice said...

Mel Gibson -- that's the guy who's promoting his next film straight through DirecTV.

tryanmax said...

I can definitely tell you not to go 99¢ because that is the price for Amazon "singles" which are basically short stories, vignettes, long-form journalism, and essays. I'm not saying the items in that category aren't worthwhile, but you would underselling yourself to put anything larger format in that category.

All those other prices seem fairly common in the Amazon store, so I guess it really comes down to what you think you can get.

AndrewPrice said...

That's an issue that I'm struggling with -- pricing. I see that some of the pro-publishers are even pricing books in the $20 range and that seems like just too much.

I just don't know how much people would be comfortable spending on an e-book or a self-published paperback?

This is one area where it would be helpful to have some research, but I just don't.

Ed said...

This is an interesting idea. I wonder how much is already out there in the way of independent films and if there's anywhere that acts like a clearinghouse or search engine for what's already out there?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, There's a lot of independent stuff out there, but I'm not aware of any place you can go to really get an overview of it. I think it's still at the phase where you have to know what you're looking for.

rlaWTX said...

this is a discussion that could be interesting over at BH...

I think that the Sherwood Pictures successes alone, let alone added to Captain America, Battle: Los Angeles, etc, show a desire for other stuff.

rlaWTX said...

another thought: I think y'all hit on this, but I don't think conservatives want a "Right-only" Hollywood - we want an American Hollywood.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I'm thinking about sending this one to BH. It seems like an idea that should be kicked around over there. Maybe it would even lead to something?

I agree, by the way, that the success of a whole host of conservative films which Hollywood didn't want to make are strong proof that the public would happily support more conservative films.

I also agree that most conservatives don't want "conservative Hollywood" so much as "mostly apolitical Hollywood." I don't need to hear Bush-bashing in the middle of a horror movie, nor do I want Obama-bashing in the middle of the sequel. I just want a good film!

T-Rav said...

Is this going to be a chapter in your book? :-)

I suspect that a conservative Hollywood would make movies like Serenity. Not really Bible Belt stuff, but emphasizing liberty, personal responsibility, and all that.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I have been debating adding it to the end of the book. I think that might make a good "recommendation" for the future.

I think you're right that a conservative Hollywood would probably make a variety of things. Conservatism (unlike liberalism) is a rather big tent.

ScyFyterry said...

It's an intriquing idea and I think technology makes it possible. I wonder if the other things you need for production are available outside of the studios? Costumes, actors, sets, etc.? Or more importantly, I wonder if there's a way to make these things available?

ScyFyterry said...

That's a good analogy to film festivals. Those were supposed to be ways to highlight independent work, but those days seem to be over.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, Good question... all questions that could lead to market opportunities.

Thanks. I agree about the film festivals. They definitely no longer do the purpose for which they were created. I think that's all part of the studios buying up all the independent studios and distribution channels.

ScyFyterry said...

Andrew, This could actually lead to a whole new industry, couldn't it?

tryanmax said...

Actually, most cities of appreciable size already have such an industry servicing stage productions. But this could lead to a boom in that industry. Plus, there aren't many places anymore without videographers who do weddings, sound guys who do concerts, musicians who do anything, and actors who who'll do even more. Frankly, I'm stumped as to why this industry isn't more prominent already.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I've actually been thinking the same thing myself for the last few minutes. I think it must be the sense that there's no way to distribute these things to make money on them?

tryanmax said...

I think that is what it comes down to. If nothing else, movie making is an enormous investment of time and energy. One wants some idea of how to recoup that investment before starting out.

Actually, I just remembered that Hulu is actively pulling together web series from all over the net to increase its own stable of offerings. Many of the short and episodic subjects are very good in terms of production quality. So perhaps the industry is working its way up to feature length. In fact, many of the episodic works when taken as a whole equal feature length.

AndrewPrice said...

I suspect it is largely about trying to be profitable. There's only so much you can do for the love of a project.

I need to spend some time looking around the net to see what's out there in the way of an true independent films infrastructure.

Individualist said...

Funny you should mention thgis Andrew...

In my Strategic management class at JU we are learning about paradigm changes in industry.

The example was a swiss engineer who developed an electronic watch that was accurate to 1 / 30,000th a second and tried to sell it to Swiss wrist watch makers. They refused it since it had no gears.

He sold the idea to the Japanee and they took over the market.

Evidently the time to switch to a new paradigm is as the old one has become established and halfway until the problems the old paradigm can resolve are found. Problem is that the old guard does not usually start accepting that they need to look at a new paradigm until the old one has become saturated and the number of problems resolved take much more time.

At this point those with the new paradigm are in a better position to take over the market.

Sounds to me like the industry of hip chic and avant guard ideas (HollyWood if she could) has become a dinosaur clinging to a paradigm that no longer works.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That's an excellent point and it seems to be true across industries. Right at the point where the industry becomes mature, something comes along to replace it. And if the industry is smart, then they embrace that and move forward. If they don't, then they die.

Hollywood is at a point right now where technology has overtaken their distribution and production system. They, like the record industry, have chosen to fight rather than adapt. And that creates an opportunity if someone is ready and willing to grab it.

It will be interesting to see if someone does.

Outlaw13 said...

There is an opportunity for "conservatives" to make a mark in this field. But people who make a point about the first "conservative" who makes an "R" rated film at a "conservative" film company will catch holy hell from "conservatives". Look at the comments on Big Hollywood, "conservatives" eat their own, at least most of the ones who take the time to comment do. There are a lot of people who make big money on the "conservative" side of things that bitch about the culture war and the coarseness of our society, it's almost guaranteed that they would squeal loud and long if any "conservative" film were to present a film that was let's say more libertarian in it's view of nudity, or swearing or any number of things. Part of the problem or not a problem so much as an issue (people are free to believe what they want to believe...for now anyway) is the mixing of religious and moral beliefs with belief in what the Constitution says and just being a believer in the pursuit of happiness and liberty for all.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, That's a very good and very true point.

It ticks me off how many "conservatives" mistake religion for conservatism and how intolerant, angry, and myopic those people are. Indeed, they seem to think that anything other than presenting Bible stories is Godless, liberal communism. That's BS. It also amazes me that they actually bother to go to a place like BH just to comment with things like "I ain't nevr seen this and I ain't never goneto because its commie garbage and you ain't conserfative if you watch this." Assholes.

That said, those people are a very small (though sadly vocal) minority. I think the key would be for the conservatives who don't live in a fantasy world to sponsor a project like this with the idea being to create a neutral site, i.e. one that is not run by liberal gatekeepers. With the idea being to build a new Hollywood from scratch only without the ideological conformity of Hollywood. And the key to that would be to offer all kinds of products regardless of ideology, so long as it was good quality.

Individualist said...


In my marketing class we had to come up with a product idea and take it from the idea stage to establishing an IPO. Just for fun I thought I'd share the idea with you because the paper will be buried in JU's library (so that other professors can tell if someone were to plagerise it.

Essentially interACT (TM) is a program that streams video. The trick to it was that we would take four eight or 16 different cameras of an event and stream each one live. The user would log on with an account and could pull up windows to watch whatever camera he liked. For a play think up close, best view sides, back stage. directly above, outside in the lobby (where there could be things going on as well etc.)

For a rock concert at a night club you could have cams that pan the crowd including areas marked so that club goers know if they stand or dance there they are being streamed.

User could also have accounts that allow for comments, blogs, online chat rooms and even a sign bar posted say at the nioght club that allowed user to post comments. comments would stay up for 5 to 10 seconds etc. with 30 minute waits to direct traffic etc.

We had to research the technical part iof it and come up with ideas to make the streaming less bandwidth intensive. I am not sure if it would work but it was fun doing the paper.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That's an interesting idea and I think it's actually something that is starting. I've watched several of the NFL Sunday night games on NBC in the past two years and they offer multiple views. To a degree it's just a gimmick because the regular production is so good. But it is interesting and I like having the other views where I can switch to them.

Joel Bocko said...

Great piece, great comments. As I said on BH, I'm 100% in agreement. It's an idea I want to pursue myself in the coming year. Personally, I don't define myself as conservative at all (I did once, but am now probably more liberal than conservative though I don't generally like labels or ideologies). But as many here have noted, this transcends political boundaries.

At the same time, the fact that it has political APPLICATIONS (which apply to both left and right - many conservatives would be surprised how many left-wingers feel alienated from Hollywood) is great news, because it widens the net and also keeps this potential development from becoming too linked to one small niche.

Like whenever I think of filmmakers pursuing low-budget films and streaming or distributing them over the internet, I see them falling into certain stylistic traps and being dismissed as "hipsters" or "indie" or "too white" or whatever. The more different types of people and groups of people pursue this aim, the harder for it to be written off as just some "indie" development (a word I've hated for a long time for its twee connotations).

Great ideas here. I will try to keep track of how this conversation develops and where else it has been addressed. I see 2012 and the upcoming years as being potential breakthroughs for a new way of making and seeing movies. Bring on the future...

I'll also say it's really heartening to see this developing from a conservative standpoint. Just the other idea I was despairing of the possibility of conservatives catching on to this potential, since the conversation on BH and elsewhere seems to be so focused on complaining about Hollywood and talking about box office and wanting a way "in."

But then that's hardly limited to conservatives - I knew leftie, avant-garde anti-Hollywood types who still have misconceptions about writing a screenplay and getting it "sold." Stop dreaming and start acting, I say. Hope to follow my own advice soon...

(a/k/a MovieMan0283)

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Joel! That's interesting that people on the left are just as alienated by Hollywood. I can actually understand that because Hollywood isn't really serving anyone in particular, they are making generic, focus-grouped films with the occasional center-left message.

The problem with Hollywood, IMO, is that they have become horribly "corporate" and simply won't change so long as they keep making money by turning out formula films. In other words, they have no incentive to take risks if they can keep doing what they are doing and make money.

And it's interesting that whenever we've discussed the question here, most people don't want "conservative" films per se, they just want greater variety and fewer films that hit them with sucker punches.

I'm hoping the internet really does reach its potential and opens the door to a whole new level of creativity and freedom. Because it's there if people can just grasp it.

Unfortunately, as you note, too many would rather just complain about the current state of things rather than come up with a solution.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Great ideas Andrew!

Many good comments too!

I have seen lots of individual and small group efforts (like the annual military film festival, which is a great idea) but nothing like what you decribe on a large scale.

I had hoped BH would more proactive in that regard but for various reasons it hasn't.

However, BH has had some contributors who have addressed many of the issues you have raised and some contributors have gone as far as to help folks out as much as they are able besides providing great insights and teaching about their craft, be it film making or writing.

But again, not to take away from their excellent work, there's been no centralized place that incorporates everything you're talking about.

Not that you're advocating a specific centralized place per se.
I'm thinking your mostly advocating centralized ideas where conservatives and anyone who likes quality films and wants to make them can have opportunities that don't exist in Hollywood.

We know what the problems are but what can we do about it?

Even folks like me who love watching quality films but ain't necessarily interested in making them could help by spreading the word.

Awhile back someone at BH mentioned City Island and since I like Andy Garcia as an actor I watched it recently and it is a good quality film.

I've also watched films based on your and many commenter recommendations.

Thus, even those of us who just wanna watch good films and see artists make authentic works of art can play a role.

Perhaps an association of like minded individuals, blogs and other groups that have mutual contacts?

The emphasis being on quality of course, although mindless fun and entertainment wouldn't necessarily be ignored if it is good enough.

Perhaps also a breakdown of specific genres and info on whether or not a particular film is family friendly or not.

I think reviews like yours would cover this. I don't put faith in the rating system currently used because they're mostly unreliable.

Before our kids grew up and left home there was some R films they could watch and some PG or G films they couldn't watch.

Obviously, their maturity played a huge factor in our decisions to let them watch, but again, the MPAA rating system is not a good guide for individuals or families that may be concerned about content.

Unfortunately, there are some who follow the letter of the law but not the spirit and would howl all day over an R rated film without ever bothering to see what it's about.

Personally, I can care less if some folks don't wanna ever see anything rated above G but I take issue with the ones that wanna impose mindless morality on others or who think that an f word, violence and some nudity makes films automatically evil.

Anyway, good reviews help folks who wanna avoid the garbage or films that have something they may consider objectionable (within reason, I mean), and that's a good start as well as essential. :^)

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Thanks for the thoughts! :)

I think what it would take would be a combination of (1) some people with a genuine interest in independent film who could create a centralized website where people could go to get an overview of everything, (2) some people with knowledge of the financial aspect of the independent film industry, who would know how to convert part of the website into a "finding funding" platform, and who had the vision to expand the services offered as needed, and (3) some money people behind the scenes who could pay to make this all a full time project.

My idea would look like this.

1. An open website where you could get links and eventually streaming copies of all kinds of independent films.

2. Reviews of these independent films, both by a recognized professional name or two and then viewer reviews.

3. An education side where people can share techniques and ideas and talk to each other.

4. A services side where filmmakers and service providers can meet.

5. A services side where people can discuss/propose financing.

Basically, the idea would be to combine Netflix with Rotten TomatoesMagazine with eHollywoodUniversity, with Film-services-ebay, with BankofFilm.

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