(PART TWO OF TWO)
But ultimately who are the studios really afraid of? Not the writers. Making them strike proved that. And what is the big bone of contention in the discussions? Internet residual payments. Everyone knows that’s where the future of entertainment lies. Broadband on your television and your computer is soon to be one and the same. Again, I really don’t think the strike was about money. It’s about control. If it was just about money then a sliding scale percentage makes everyone happy. You make money then they make money. You don’t then they don’t. It would be very simple if it were just about money. But no, sadly, it’s a pissing contest and studios and networks were trying desperately to show that they are in charge.
So if not writers then who are the studios afraid of? Not directors and not actors. Not indie filmmakers. No, the person they are most afraid of is YOU. The person reading this right now. They’re afraid you’re going to go play “Call of Duty 4” instead of going to see the next Jamie Kennedy movie. They’re afraid you’re going to watch “Chad Vader” on YouTube instead of “Mind of Mencia”. And God, I hope you are. They are afraid you’re going to buy Doug Benson’s movie “Super High Me” instead of “Pirates of the Caribbean”. They are all afraid you may actually go out tonight to see Patton Oswalt perform somewhere because of hearing about his performance on a message board. Or you may even just play “Halo” online all night or “World of Warcraft”. Mainly the studios are afraid that you are going to take your money and go home. Or even take your money and go out.
Studios are afraid that you simply have more choices. Studios realize they are not just competing with each other anymore. They are competing with Nintendo, YouTube, Google, and Microsoft. They don’t like that one bit. Sony is the only one who covered their bases until they fucked up with the PS3. And if you follow the history, the Playstation only came into existence because of a Nintendo fuck up where they screwed Sony on a CD-Rom drive add-on. So Sony decided to do it themselves and the rest you know.
Interestingly, here is where the ruthlessness of the entertainment industry is beginning to work in the artist’s favor. Advertisers don’t give a shit who they give their money to if they are getting eyeballs. Why advertise on CBS’s horrible new sitcom when they can get more eyeballs advertising on YouTube or even sponsoring “Ask A Ninja”? Suddenly, artists are getting paid directly from advertisers without the network middle man. Scary. For them.
On a side note, to the guys who made Chad Vader, I would cut a deal with Lucas, get him to put out the DVD with exclusive Lucasfilm content on it like a preview of the forever in development Star Wars TV shows and make it a collector’s item. This way everyone wins.
Artists may soon be saying “no thank you” to studios and distributors because they will be doing it all themselves. They have their own distribution, and they don’t need the studios’ money. As horrible as the three new Star Wars movies where, they were independent films. Lucas even toyed with the idea of distributing them himself, but ultimately decided to go with FOX. But he pretty much wrote his own distribution ticket. A rarity only duplicated by Pixar until Disney said fuck it let’s just buy them and put them in charge.
So it’s an exciting time. And for once it’s exciting for all the right reasons. Even though studios will continue to try and either buy or copy what they don’t understand, like for instance FOX starting up their video game division again, you, the consumer will enjoy more choices than ever before. And the great thing is, you don’t care who you give your money to if you’re getting something good in return. Remember when people were afraid to buy things on the internet? It really wasn’t that long ago. Remember when we had to buy CDs just to hear music? Again, not that long ago. But the point is we’re way past that stage. People now stick money into the internet and get out what they want. Or they are enjoying ad supported content without complaining, except for those horrible pop up ads that the pop up blockers keeps missing. Damn them!
Remember, you vote with your dollars. Reward creativity and do not tolerate sub par and recycled entertainment. The second season of “Heroes” was simply boring. And a lot of us are not coming back to watch it. A lame released apology from the showrunner Tim Kring is no excuse. ’’We took too long to get to the big-picture story,” he said, among other things in the Entertainment Weekly “article”. Sorry, you had your chance and now we’re looking elsewhere because once again, now there are so many more choices.
But the future looks bright for both artists and for consumers. As the dust settles the important thing is that your voice WILL be heard. The good thing is that content will ultimately get better because it has to. You, the new digital age consumer will see to that.