Kill Hollywood, Not Movies

The fallout from the failure of SOPA and PIPA is just as interesting as the main topics themselves. First, many on the web with loud voices are finally waking up to how corrupt the lobbying/political system is in this country. Second, directly-related, there’s a quickly growing anti-Hollywood sentiment.

The most forceful stance has to be Y Combinator putting out a new RFS (Request for Startups) will one goal: Kill Hollywood

It’s an important statement and message given the bullshit the MPAA is up to. But it’s also important to separate film, the artform, from Hollywood, the industry.

As Sarah Lacy notes:

Hollywood isn’t on the ropes because of content, it’s on the ropes because of lame, outdated business practices.

I’ve seen a number of people jump on the “Hollywood movies are shit” bandwagon in the past week. But that’s not entirely true. In many ways, film, from a pure creative and quality perspective, is in a better place than it has been in a long time. 

Sure, many big-budget Hollywood movies blow. But again, that’s just as much about the business problems. Films that the major studios don’t preside over with a iron fist — in other words, “independent” films — remain excellent. You might even argue they’re better than ever thanks to the collapsing costs of actually making a film. 

Right now, while there is a ton of video-based content online, very little of it is anywhere near feature film caliber, as Lacy notes. There are a number of reasons for this, and it may in fact be that the web as a browsing platform isn’t best suited to replace something like a movie theater for viewing long-form video-based art (film).

On the other hand, it’s a mistake to think of the Internet as only being the web. The Internet powers things like Apple TV and Roku and Boxee and Google TV, etc, etc. We’re getting closer to the point where the Internet as a distribution method can actually provide a viable alternative to the Hollywood studio system.

This has to scare the shit out of Hollywood. It’s not just about piracy, it’s about losing total control of film, the artform. (And television, for that matter)

If Hollywood was smart, they would get in front of this change. They would use the Internet as the most effective way to distribute their killer content. Every day they don’t do this, they risk the content flowing to consumers through other means. 

Unfortunately, Hollywood isn’t smart. We’ve seen examples of this time and time again. They seem to view the Internet as the ultimate catch 22. But it doesn’t have to be. 

It really doesn’t have to be.

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