Long Tail & Who Needs Hollywood

kinnon —  June 13, 2005 — Leave a comment

PSFK points at an interesting article in Red Herring, Who Needs Hollywood. This is part of the continuing conversation regarding the Long Tail and the rapidly lowering cost of entry into "film" production. See my earlier post here.

With the cost of production tools rapidly approaching zero, the barrier to entry is only limited by talent. (To make my point let me use the illustration that my $200,000 Avid MC1000 that was purchased in the late 90’s, doesn’t compare to the latest release of Final Cut Pro that fully loaded with more drive space would probably come in in the $12 – 15,000 range. A standard definition Betacam camera was in the $40K+ range a few years ago – the Sony HDV HDR-FX1 HD camera can be had for $3,500 and the new HDR-HC1 is under $2K – the cameras may perhaps be Apples and Oranges – but you won’t be seeing too many HD projects being created from footage from a BVW400A.)

The article states:

Now, with a good PC, some video editing software, and a high-definition (HD) camera, quality movies are becoming easier to make. Unrestrained by legacy distribution systems, small-time filmmakers can easily post their work online for audiences of millions, proving that Tinseltown’s aversion to digital media isn’t due to technological shortcomings. And we all know that


is wearing thin these days from the demands of monopolizing our entertainment.


Filmmakers Robert Rodriguez and George Lucas are well-known for eschewing the confines of


in favor of private home studios with digital equipment. Mr. Rodriguez gained fame through El Mariachi, a $7,000 movie that grossed more than $2 million in the

United States

alone. His latest string of hits, including the Spy Kids series and



, were made far away from




with Sony HD cameras, soundstages, Avid digital editing machines, animation software, and a few other expensive toys.

Mr. Rodriguez’ advice for fledgling filmmakers is to borrow equipment or scrape by; he thinks striking out on your own is what’s most important. “Big productions can’t duplicate [the energy of an inexperienced filmmaker],” he says in Robert Rodriguez’s Ten Minute Film School, an extra feature on the El Mariachi/Desperado dual DVD. “They’ve got too good a stand and too much crew and everything is really smooth and polished and it’s lifeless.”

As a Christian, I want to see us get these tools into the hands of effective story tellers who won’t attempt to produce nonsense like the Left Behind movies – but instead, will produce films that will have an emotional impact on the audience – with stories that are authentic and real.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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