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Has Technology Killed The Hollywood Story?

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Will the advent of technology and developments such as YouTube, reality shows and video games mean the end of business as usual for the Hollywood system as it exists?

In the March 2008 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, Michael Wolff describes what Hollywood would be like without its driving force of plot driven narratives. A world where legions of producers, directors, agents, executives and writers cease to operate as "business as usual", because the medium in which they were taught to write and operate no longer exists. When scores of writers are taught to write for a medium that no longer exists - and the Hollywood elite (fast approaching their 70's) have no idea how to adapt their business for radically different audiences and distribution systems - what happens to story as we know it?

The business of Hollywood is the business of story. Without a story, there is no film. Conventional storylines are plot driven with many replicating proven formulas that have a good chance of driving box office receipts.

But what happens when the formula changes? What happens when the new audience is radically different than the old one? What happens when the technology changes to include radically different new means of distribution? Will Hollywood as we know it, cease to exist?

Reading Wolff's article leaves me with mixed feelings of sorts. On the one hand, traditional storytelling faces potential extinction as video games continue to rival box office receipts. In 2007, video game receipts totalled $8.7 billion, while box office receipts came in at $9.7 billion. On the other hand, should the migration towards more interactive and mobile technology not trigger some sort of business opportunity for Hollywood's power elite?

If Hollywood players could find a way to incorporate story into the increasing demand for more interactive types of technology and network television, then perhaps story as we know it wouldn't be dead. Maybe the opportunity is just sitting there, waiting to be reborn.

It's time for Hollywood to take notice, and shift their way of thinking from being players in the entertainment business to being players in the technology business. Wake up Hollywood - a new world awaits!

How do you see Hollywood capitalizing on new technology? Is there some way to incorporate elements of moviemaking and storytelling into video games and reality shows? Is technology such as YouTube a threat or an opportunity to the traditional Hollywood establishment? What's the new form of story in the future?

   

Comments

Karen Hegmann

Hi Lewis

Thanks for your comment. I agree in that the old and new technology can co-exist.

As you suggest, Hollywood has to understand the needs, wants and desires of a whole new generation of movie goers. This understanding will have tremendous implications not only for the Hollywood system, but for their bottom-line as well.

Lewis Green

Karen,

I think there is room for co-existence. Young people still go the the movies, they continue to read and storylines remain important in their lives.

But with so many choices, market shares shrink as new forms of entertainment come on line. That's always been true. Movies will change. They already have. Just look at the technology used ot make Star Wars vs. what is available today.

The bottom line: Hollywood needs to understand the wants, needs and desires of movie-goers and exceed them.

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