In this blog post I will cover:
- Why this is the BEST TIME EVER to try to break in the film business
- What the box office results of 2012 tell us about what scripts will sell in 2013
- How the efforts of one famous movie studio affect your career
“Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot”
I’ve got a friend who works in development for a major movie studio.
He’s got a cool job, makes a ton of cash, drives an amazing car, and spends most of his weekends reading crappy scripts by middle-aged professional screenwriters who used to work on staff for Nash Bridges and , but gave up giving a shit what they wrote about years ago.
So I’m on the phone with him the other day. Partially, because I wanted to get an invite to his New Year’s party. (The amount of cosmetic surgery on display at that affair is astounding.)
The other: to get his thoughts on the state of the business.
Me: So, how are things looking for 2013?
Me: Oh. You mean for writers.
Him: Hell, no! For me. For writers, this is the best time EVER for an unknown to BREAK IN. And that scares the crap out of EVERYBODY in this building.
So here’s my top 3 reasons why 2013 is gonna be the YEAR you break through and sell that script…
#1-The (Distribution) King is Dead, Long Live the King
Remember that scene in The Road Warrior, when a slightly less bipolar Mel Gibson fought bands of outlaws in a post-apocalytpic desert for the precious, scarce resource of gas.
That’s exactly what the entertainment industry is like right now.
Only the scarce resource is viewer eyeballs.
And nobody knows where the hell they can find them anymore.
- People don’t watch commercials anymore (unless it’s sports)
- People don’t go to the movie theatre nearly as much (when they can stream Netflix or steal the movie off BitTorrent)
- People are even watching movies less and less on their big-screen TV anymore
Which means, “if you build it, and they come…” then you can make a hell of a lot of money right now.
So if you can prove that your script or concept will attract eyeballs…
…it DOES NOT MATTER if it’s based on a personal blog, Youtube channel, self published book an Amazon, twitter following, reality show, the back of a matchbox, written on the wall in grafitti….
You can get it made. Now!
#2-Rise of the Movies That Don’t Blow Shit Up
Couple months back I got a text from a guy I know who works in movie financing. It was just five words, but they might have been the best five most encouraging words a newbie screenwriter could ever hear.
“Battleship is officially a flop”
That’s because if there were any movie that was designed and manufactured to make money, Battleship was it.
It had built-in brand equity. It had that crappy Michael Bay Transformers feel.
It had Alexander Skarsgard and that unfairly beautiful Brooklyn Decker.
Unfortunatley it just didn’t have a story.
Conversely, small films made for adults who aren’t on Ritalin and need stuff to blow up eveyr three seconds, such as Lincoln; Life of Pi; Moonrise Kingdom; The Exotic Margigold Hotel; Argo — have done really well.
And tentpole action films are usually written by professional screenwriter who the studios trust.
But adult dramas, independent dramedies—these come writers on the outside of the system.
Writers like you.
#3- Even Disney is Making Movies (Sort of)
There’s a joke in the film industry.
That Disney produces really amazing merchandising, that have feature film tie-ins.
That is Disney makes movies, to sell action figures and lunchboxes and fill theme park passes.
They don’t make movies to just make movies.
And they hardly make movies at all, lately.
Except things are starting to open up.
And if Disney, the most conservative and risk-averse studio EVER, is starting to open up the development purse strings that can only mean one thing….
The (movie) economy is in much, much better shape than it was four years ago.
Combine that with the turbulent creative environment of Hollywood, and you find yourself, as a screenwriter just like Mel Gibson in the Road Warrior…
Holding the gas that everybody wants.