Hollywood in Crisis

Even in the information age, industries whose true workings are obscured by layers of glamorized PR abound. Whenever insiders pull back the curtain to offer a glimpse at how the sausage is made, their stories rarely fail to intrigue me.

One of the most highly romanticized and poorly understood industries is Hollywood. Max Landis, screenwriter for Chronicle, American Ultra, and Victor Frankenstein, recently sat down with Mike and Jay from Red Letter Media to give an inside look at conditions in Hollywood.

Those conditions are, in a word, dismal. See the interview for all the gory details. Like everything that RLM produces, it's worth watching.

My comment: in the process of defending his film from critics--an inadvisable move in almost any circumstance--Landis aptly illustrates the crisis facing Hollywood. He discusses how studios militate against any project not based on an established IP, and why skilled indie film makers aren't being given chances to break through to the next level.

The stagnation and creative micromanaging that Landis describes is the result of Hollywood fully embracing the blockbuster mentality to the point of complete unwillingness to take risks on original films. But as Landis points out, the problem with trying to build a business model on mega-hits alone is that blockbusters are unreproducible black swan events.

Hollywood producers are slowly realizing this fact. And as their old formulas for predicting box office success increasingly fail, studios are retreating into the presumed safety of known quantities.

I've said before that the only way out of this malaise is through. Expect more sequels, remakes, reboots, spinoffs, shared universes, and generally derivative product from Hollywood until someone figures out how to disintermediate the studios.

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