Killing Hollywood

"Chicago Starlets, Vivian Velvet , Sasha Darling, Fanny Tastic and Frenchy Kiss" by mikegoat via Flickr

"Chicago Starlets, Vivian Velvet , Sasha Darling, Fanny Tastic and Frenchy Kiss" by mikegoat via Flickr

Startup Speculator and Venture Capitol Fund Y-combinator has put out a call to Kill Hollywood.

Hollywood appears to have peaked. If it were an ordinary industry (film cameras, say, or typewriters), it could look forward to a couple decades of peaceful decline. But this is not an ordinary industry. The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise.

Incendiary words, worthy of a scrawled manifesto, however the source is one of the most well known and successful technology Venture Capitol companies ever. On average the companies they invest in and help end up worth $22.4 million and include among their number Scribd, reddit, Airbnb, Dropbox, Disqus, and Posterous.

That’s one reason we want to fund startups that will compete with movies and TV, but not the main reason. The main reason we want to fund such startups is not to protect the world from more SOPAs, but because SOPA brought it to our attention that Hollywood is dying. They must be dying if they’re resorting to such tactics. If movies and TV were growing rapidly, that growth would take up all their attention. When a striker is fouled in the penalty area, he doesn’t stop as long as he still has control of the ball; it’s only when he’s beaten that he turns to appeal to the ref. SOPA shows Hollywood is beaten. And yet the audiences to be captured from movies and TV are still huge. There is a lot of potential energy to be liberated there.

How do you kill the movie and TV industries? Or more precisely (since at this level, technological progress is probably predetermined) what is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What’s going to kill movies and TV is what’s already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now?

While this site wasn’t started with the intention of killing Hollywood, or even annoying it much, I do agree with the general idea. If the industry is trying to legislate themselves to be the incumbent and dominant force for entertainment they have outlived their usefulness to their consumers. It however does not invalidate those forms of media, we will always have both short and long form non-interactive media as a part of the possible entertainments available to humanity, and long after the “film” in filmmaking has disappeared from all but special usage.

For me the question is not how we will be entertained, but who will have control of that entertainment. While the people involved in this site have a great love for many different forms of entertainment, we are sick of the MPAA and RIAA attempting to legislate themselves back into relevance. We want to shift the power back into the hands of the creators, and not the copyright holding corporations milking the creative juices of artists until every franchise has been retread so many times that each generation gets their own “Batmania”, “Star Wars/Trek”, or “Harry Potter”.

Even the not so great franchises are being bought up for movie/film treatment, while the greats are being remade such as the anime classic Akira or the great director Akira Kurosawa’s body of work (I’ve got a draft about the two Akira situations I really need to finish). Even some works deemed to be next to impossible to take from book to screen, such as Ender’s Game, are fodder for the desperate money-grubbers in Hollywood. Thankfully at least some of the artistry makes it through the system, and the companies who allow the most creative control end up with the best works like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead.

So how are we going to be involved in taking down Hollywood? By staying the hell out of the system as long as possible, and not letting the system dictate terms when we do have to deal with it. There is a reason that George Lucas made enough from Star Wars to turn it into the largest creator owned studio in the world, he kept control of his creation. Yes it was an oversight on the part of Hollywood that they vowed would never be repeated, which is why you need to have a property developed outside the system with it’s own powerbase to negotiate from. This is the platform for our entries into the cruel world that is entertainment, and while it may not be perfect it is all ours.

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