Seismic Shifts and The Strikeby David Brownstein
At a national coaching conference I attended last month, one of the speakers spoke of a major cultural shift going on in the world. He described it as the transition from hierarchy to personal responsibility. In many areas of our lives the established hierarchies of systems are crumbling, morphing and just plain falling apart. (Political systems, medicine, bridges, tunnels, roads etc.)
And so in Hollywood as well. On one level the superficial issues appear to be the $.04 DVD residuals and payment for internet viewings. But on a deeper level there are larger forces at work and huge established Hollywood systems that are buckling under pressure from more than just the strike writers.
High priced talent holding deals and force majeur. Pilot Season and the Upfronts. Tivo and DVR’s. Mobisodes and Myspace.
The networks and studios want to hold onto a position of power and exclusive supremacy that doesn’t exist anymore. The competition for eyeballs is fierce. The monopoly over the "means of production" is over. TV viewing habits are radically down and radically different than they were five years ago.
The pause that the strike is creating will no doubt accelerate the crumbling of some aspects of the previously firmly established Hollywood Hierarchy at a more rapid rate.
In the vacuum of momentum creates by the strike, people have more time to think about other stuff, and when struck with the fear and uncertainty about their careers, their lives and the industry, they start brainstorming quickly, and wonder aloud about their alternatives. And the alternatives are there, just waiting to be strung together like a necklace of technology forged pearls.
Soon we’ll see what happens when a few experienced TV writers and producers, newly freed from their golden handcuffs/development/holding deals, introduce them to a few cash infested hi-tech companies looking to create new "content" in new markets (Google, Yahoo, Myspace, Facebook) and pretty soon the real hollywood meets silicon valley is alive.
How has the strike affected you? Your life? Your career?
What shifts have occurred for you in the past two months, or past twelve months?
What changes are you making in your life and career to adjust to the shifting landscape?
How will you adjust to the changes as the hierarchies crumble and personal responsibility becomes the norm?