Wednesday, August 17, 2011

31 Questions for New Filmmakers - Part V

Today I answer Ted Hope's questions regarding The Changing Film World.

When I got started, if your film got into Sundance, it meant people would see it in America, and maybe the world. I used to be confident that my partners and I could get two or more major distribution slots a year. Now that control and scarcity don’t define the Entertainment Economy, but superabundance & access do, how does that change things for creators? There are 45,000 films generated globally annually, and the largest consumption market in the world – the US – currently consumes only 1% of the output. Recognizing that, are you changing the way you work, changing what you create? How? Why? Or why not?

In regard to the stories I’m interested in telling – no.  In the way I tell them, yes, slightly.  With that in mind we have to be more conscious of our budgets.  With more choices and platforms, things are more easily digested and therefore more disposable.  There are very few ‘classic’ films made nowadays (and if they are, they are coming from oversees).  It is harder and harder to recoup your budget, so the way we make films must change. Also, it pays to tell your story over a few mediums (this stupid word ‘transmedia’ comes to mind).  I just happened to love comics/graphic novels, so was getting into this field anyway – but I think I could be doing a much better job branching off and telling more stories within that same world (Harbor Moon comes to mind, as does REM – my second graphic novel and what will be my first feature film).  Just telling the same story in a different medium is boring.  What excites me, and what I wish I caught onto sooner, is using each medium to tell a different story within that world.

I am a big believer in the importance of social media in many aspects of the film process.  Are you on social media and do you use it in your work? Why or why not?

I am on social media.  
  • I keep a blog (you’re probably reading it right now:
  • Twitter @spokelane
  • Facebook: Spoke Lane Entertainment
  • Digg: citydoglax
  • LinkedIn:

I use my Ryan Colucci facebook account for actual friends and family.  I don’t do business on there. Same goes for my personal twitter account @ryancolucci, where I post more personal updates.

I think social media is a great way to stay connected to your audience (or if you are the audience – filmmakers you respect), and more importantly stay current with what they are doing.  I get more of my news from Twitter feeds than anywhere else nowadays.  The key is being selective with who you follow so your feed doesn’t get overrun with nonsense.  That said, if you follow me at @spokelane – I will follow you back.  I’m good like that. 
When I got started there were two screens: the movie screen and the television screen.  Now there are also computers, tablets, and phones. And screens are everywhere: the home, the bus stop, the elevator, the taxi cab. As a creator how does this effect the stories you tell and how you tell them?

I find this exciting.  Of course, I think that as a whole – I would love to have been coming up in a time when movies were actually made on film and appreciated, rather than digested and forgotten.  But I think having all of these ‘screens’ opens the world of storytelling up.  I’m not a big fan of the term transmedia, but I love what it stands for.  I have always been captivated by the world of Star Wars, how it started as three films and quickly grew to encompass books, comics, toys, video games and animated series – all telling different stories within that universe.  There are so many projects I think benefit from that – I think the danger is believing that every project can benefit from that kind of storytelling. 

I guess my one gripe with all of these screens, and ease of access is how easily forgotten digested media is. And with that comes a lack of production value.  Because it is cheaper to spit these things out – knowing they have a short shelf life.  I wish we would care more about how things looked overall.  It’s not just about telling a story sometimes – it’s about providing people with a visual experience.

If there is one or more thing you think would make the film industry better, what would it be?

Regulate managers like agencies are regulated.  They are, I believe, the cause of a lot of problems within the ‘system’.  It would also make agents actually do their job (trying to secure work for their clients), rather than just being a screening service. 

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