Book Report: State of the Business. State of the Art/Oscars - 2014by David Brownstein
I just finished reading Lynda Obst's book "Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the NEW ABNORMAL in the Movie Business." I started it 6 months ago, at least, but finally finished it on an airplane back from Florida the day before the Oscars.
Years ago when I used to teach filmmaking at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, I used to have students read her first book "Hello He Lied" as the best book I knew that described the perspectives of the working producer in Hollywood films.
So it was fascinating to read her perspectives on how the film biz has changed. An extremely successful producer in the "Old Abnormal," she interviews many of her pals from the old days who have successfully transitioned into the "New Abnormal" of Hollywood, and who help her understand, in the words of Art Linson’s great book about producing "What Just Happened?"
AMONG THE TOPICS:
Why 3D films are so important to the finance and distribution of the big studio features; sequel-itis and the impact of the writer's strike on the crumbling "old abnormal."
She talks a lot about the death of the small movie, and challenges of indie movies etc. Not new news, but an interesting take and overview of the business trends contributing to this transition.
Of course, she slowly discovers the TV world, and because of her excellent contact and connections over years of being a top Hollywood film producer she stumbles into the TV game.
YEAH, BUT WHAT ABOUT INDIE FILMS?
I've personally found myself a bit removed from the film world these days. The big blockbusters action franchises don't interest me. Since I worked in the CG and animation world it's harder to watch animated films without engaging my "work/producer" brain.
And it was indie films and great small films that really inspired me to get into the film biz. OK, maybe Coppola’s films were made at Paramount, but they were not exactly “The Avengers.”
The past few years I've been doing the inner work to complete a screenplay of my own. Something I've written and rewritten many times over many years. I'm nearly done with the current draft of the current page-one rewrite. Well, if not nearly done then I can at least see it down the road.
But the film landscape has changed so much since I even started the last rewrite, let alone, my very first draft, which had a staged reading at “The Shooting Gallery” in NYC years ago.
In the past year I made an effort to go see more indie films in the theaters. To get away from the DVR filled with great stuff and the internet filled with . . . a lot of stuff, and email, and youtube and. . . and . . . and. Then there's finding the time to just listen to music. And make music! (Here's my latest work on Soundcloud)
So what I realized as I write this is obvious but worth stating: I've changed, the world has changed, Hollywood has changed, music, media, film, TV and the impact of media on our consciousness has changed.
My very first blog post was an article I’ve since come call my “Hollywood Coaching Manifesto.” Actually titled "The Cosmic Mission of Hollywood" for pop culture creators.
ART IS . . .
In it I quoted the poet David Whyte who once said “Art is the act of triggering deep memories of what it means to be fully human.”
You can read the whole article HERE. It's only two pages.
ANYHOW, THE OSCARS
I didn't see that many of the nominated films. I did see and love “American Hustle” and "Dallas Buyers Club" but did not see “12 Years a Slave” or “Wolf of Wall Street.”
Anyhow. Somehow in the procession of trailers and montages of old and new films I saw images and faces and shots that reminded me, of the original inspiration and impact of those amazing stories and songs and words and images and emotions that transform us all and inspire some of us to dream and create and imagine and stare into space or the blank screen struggling or waiting or transcribing or dancing with the words and images as they come.
Excited, inspired, joyful, terrified, overwhelmed, grateful to create and receive the breadcrumbs or pixels that connect us to our selves, our audience and our co-inhabitants of our strangely, quickly evolving world.
And feeling inspired to be part of the transformation. And amazed to meet and connect with other travelers and creative transformers on the journey.
And I swear I didn't know I was going here when I started to write this while eating breakfast out after a last minute cancelled breakfast meeting but I guess now it's time to do another schmooze event.
So lets meet and connect and inspire each other again at another informal schmooze at the literati. And celebrate what’s inspiring us creatively. And what’s confounding us creatively. And what amazes us as human traveling together.
Weds. March 26, 2014 – New Afternoon “Expresso Yourself” Edition– 4:00 – 7:00 pm. Order something up front, find us at big table in the back. Literati Cafe: 12081 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025.