May 29, 2014

A Better Industry: Fandor CEO Ted Hope Launches New Web Series 'Reinvent Hollywood'

Reinvent HollywoodFandor CEO Ted Hope has been on a mission for quite some time to reinvent the way we do business in the film industry -- replacing antiquated business models with new ones that will not only give viewers what they want, when and how they want it, but put filmmakers in a position where they'll get what they need as artists. But what would this complete industry reboot look like? What would a better system be for artists, audiences, and the overall business? Well, that's what Hope, Fandor, and The Reinventors are aiming to explore with their new video series Reinvent Hollywood, which launched yesterday. Continue on to watch the first episode, as well as join in on this important conversation.

To get a better understanding of where Hope and The Reinventors are coming from, check out this video that introduces you to the series:

The great thing about Reinvent Hollywood is that it has opened up a dialog about something filmmakers have been thinking for a long, long time, that the current model just doesn't work for the vast majority of us, nor does it for our audiences. In fact, the way we do business often relegates artists, putting more value on the ticket sales a film brings in than anything else -- to the point that, now, we have a system driven by "what sells" rather than "what's good" -- or at least "what the artist/audience wants".

Furthermore, the way we tell stories in cinema has remained relatively unchanged for the last 120 years, and Hope believes that as audiences and artists change, so should the medium and the way we consume it. There are many, many possibilities out there -- cinema could potentially become a much more dynamic art form, but we may need to rethink the way we do things. Reinvent Hollywood has started that conversation.

The first episode, a roundtable discussion featuring Karim Ahmed, Michel Rielhac, Liz Rosenthal, Tiffany Shlain, and Lance Weiler, focuses on the form, both asking what is wanted from this cinematic art form, as well as exploring new, innovative ways of storytelling. Check it out below. (Be sure to also check out the episode's page in order to get more info, including an incredibly valuable reading list.)

The episodes of the Reinvent Hollywood series includes: The FormThe ArtistsThe AudienceThe BusinessThe Festivals, Schools, Non-Profits, and The Rules of the Game. They will take place every two weeks, so be sure to check out the website for more as it comes in.

Feel free to share your thoughts about Reinvent Hollywood, the current state of the film industry, or whatever else is on your mind down in the comments.

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22 Comments

Ted Hope is doing some cool things over at Fandor, thanks for posting this.

May 29, 2014 at 3:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Micah Van Hove
Writer
director, producer, dp

"Paris, already full of young people who possess a painting technique but do not do anything with it, has suddenly found itself invaded by thousands of cinephiles for whom the mere process of direction has taken the place of an act of creation. Their only desire is to make films without even asking themselves what they are going to say in them."
Robert Benayoun (July, 1962)

May 29, 2014 at 4:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Martial Miles

Warning: The quote above is from a guy who directed Jerry Lewis and thought the goofball comedian was all that and a bag of chips. So much for Tarkovsky or Kubrick...lol

May 29, 2014 at 6:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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RUSerious

Ha ha! But JL *is* all that and a bag of chips! The French were right. He was an auteur.

June 6, 2014 at 11:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Mimura

Some of the things in the pitch video kind of turned me off to this and scares me, some I agree with but I fell in love with movies because of the experience of going to a theater and sharing in escapism with a group of strangers -sitting down, and watching a film. I wouldn't want that to change. I don't want to watch a bunch of docs asking for donations to a great cause -it has it's place but that's not why I watch movies. I want to be entertained, drawn in and escape. The idea of people watching short-form content on their cell phones, the whole Vine or 5 min tops You tube style videos is not something I want. It's not really filmmaking and if that is the direction things are going we should stray away from it.

May 29, 2014 at 7:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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stephen

Well said stephen

May 29, 2014 at 8:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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The thing is Stephen, even if we don't want that stray away from cinema to happen, we have no control over it. We need to accept that content is all just content now and the end goal is we want audiences to watch our content and be willing to pay for it, whether it's at a cinema, on TV, on a tablet or a cellphone even. I'm fairly agnostic about how they watch it because I've released the need to control that end - the internet means we have no control anymore.

Most indie films never make it into the cinema now anyway, so these other platforms or means are the only way they get seen at all. The key is making it so easy to watch and pay for it, that filmmakers can make a living out of it.

May 29, 2014 at 10:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sam

I understand, that -I've bought films digitally and I like the ease of access as well as directly supporting the artist but it's definitely a different experience then a theatrical screening. There are films I will never ever forget and I think if I had seen them on a cell phone or laptop it would not have been the same. This will be an interesting series to watch -especially with the torrenting discussion -people want stuff fast and free but anyone willing to download a movie recorded off a camera rather than shelling out 12 bucks for something that cost millions is the root of the problem. Personally, I think a good idea would be a major studio attaching indie shorts in front of features or releasing shorter double features....or an all-indie studio making a deal with a company like Regal -stuff like that would be a cool change to the movie going experience -I'm all for shaking things up but theatrical really is huge in the movie going experience and it shouldn't be dismissed -the route to it may change but throwing it out altogether would be a mistake and a very sad day for cinema.

May 30, 2014 at 12:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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stephen

Stephen, I am with you. I love cinema. I love the theatrical experience. I love a lot of other things too and don't want to seem them languish just because the business structures don't exist yet for them (and the same holds true for artists). I don't know if you know my movies or not but I have always strived for emotional truth and advancement of form. I have also had to put food on the table so I tried to be practical too with what I made or tried to make. I got to make most of my movies because early on we recognized a business model that the industry had yet to adopt although it had already been proven. We are at a similar place now in the industry I believe.
During the ReInvent Hollywood discussion on The Form, we did not get into the question of the overt method of narrative storytelling that well funded films have to commit to (devoid of ambiguity or abstraction). Corporate backed storytelling, except for a few rare exceptions, now requires replicating what has gone before. I think audiences are much more wise and hungry than that.
We have opportunity to explore but most are stuck in ruts. In no way am I suggesting we all abandon the traditional route, but as a discerning viewer I know that I have so many movies I want to see I don't need any more -- and I believe that even if most have not identified the films that would make such a list for themselves, the films do exist. So as creators who want to reach and connect deeply with an audience, it isn't enough to just make something new. To get seen, to help deliver some form of transcendence, don't we have to do something more? It is not a question of abandoning. It is a need to enhance still further.

May 30, 2014 at 1:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I think you hit the nail on the head with that word: transcendence. I don't think anything you said is meant to take away from going to a cinema and having that amazing experience. It's about giving the audience something more, letting them know that seeing the movie isn't the end of the experience if you don't want it to be. That's part of what I love about the Criterion Collection, that I don't just get an incredible transfer of a film but a comprehensive set of special features and interesting booklets. There was an indie horror film that came out recently called Lord of Tears that created an interesting incentive for people to buy the DVD. They included things like photographs, had unique packaging and artwork, things that you wouldn't see on a regular DVD/Blu Ray release from a major studio. We're no longer in the age of "here's a movie, give me your money." We're living in the age where content creators have to give something more that they can connect. The theatrical experience is a huge part of that, but I like to think that the theater is the beginning of that commitment. Kevin Smith put it best: outside of the theater is where the movie's going to live forever.

May 30, 2014 at 3:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Coty

Ted, I do know your movies and appreciate your reply. With digital distribution I guess my reluctance comes with the picture of someone watching a classic for the first time on a cell phone or i-pad, it just scares me lol. When viewed from an indie stand point though, (as Sam stated) one does not simply walk into the industry. Distributing content really shouldn't be left to the select few who control the market. I agree that having people see your work is what's important, especially for the unestablished filmmakers and there are definitely benefits of giving the artist the control/profits. Coty, what you said about bonus content is also a great point -a more direct link between artist and creator is definitely a good thing -something I didn't really give much thought at first. Ted if your reading this, thanks for the Reinvent Hollywood series and taking the time to put this discussion together! It's an exciting time for filmmaking.

May 30, 2014 at 5:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stephen Herron

I've had some personal experience with an alternative model. My town has a film society that screens recent productions - generally NOT big-budget stuff, but thoughtful pieces that appeal to a mostly older audience. Some years ago, the Film Society's manager thought it would be a good idea to get some funding to kick-start local film-makers. I had a script almost ready at the time, and managed to get a share of the grant money - AUD$10,000 spread among 5 (initially), then 4 (one dropped out). She also got some funding for a film-maker's equipment kit to be hired out at low rates to local film-makers, i.e. trying to make it a little easier and cheaper for aspiring film makers to achieve thier dream. My short film cost about AUD$12,000 with half of that coming from grants and the rest from myself. The four films were premiered at the society's annual Australian Film Fest and it was an exciting time. Unfortunately for us, this little dynamo of management and organisation moved on, and we local film-makers were left with the gear (Sony Z1P, lowell lighting kit, some audio gear and accessories), and our next batch of scripts. The energy and enthusiasm worked for a while, with more local stories being told, but there's very little in either government or private funding for small indie productions these days, so not much has happened recently. Conclusion? We need people with the enthusiasm and skills to raise the funds needed for these productions, and connect them with film makers with the passion to tell their stories.

May 30, 2014 at 11:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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dwywit

Going to theater it's not fun any more,
the cinematography quality decrease a lot, only the sound it's better, and music it's sometime only noise
early this week i watch Indiana Jones on my 42 inches flat tv
and i wish to see this in theater in film 35mm ?
So i realized for this you need a 35mm Print and a 35mm projector
so it's impossible to see Indiana the way it's look when it's getting on screen now.( the special look desapear )
Now watching a film became the same experience watching your kid play with a game
it's so much no realistic you unhook from the storytelling.

June 7, 2014 at 11:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pierre Samuel Rioux

Re-inventing Hollywood is almost impossible. Bypassing Hollywood is a lot easier.

May 30, 2014 at 4:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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c.d.embrey

I think that businessmen (and women) have to concentrate on bringing the "bang for the buck" closer to the independent filmmakers of all stripes. That means affordable shooting gear (OK, that conversation is pretty much finished, as the low priced quality gear is already out in the market) and studio/soundstage rental fees (no idea on the prices for a quick 1-2 week shoot personally but it seems that is being bypassed by the independents entirely) on the production end and the establishment of a "go to" streaming service for digital distribution. I'd let the content take care of itself (and I do agree with Ted that "conventional story" telling is what Hollywood is after ... I've experienced this myself over the last few weeks/months ... on the other hand, formulas will create their own demise at some point).
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I'd also suggested a "portable" movie theater, akin to a drive in. I have mentioned before witnessing an outdoor film presentation at the nearby park, attended by over 200 people. Of course, it was a children's animation and the admission was free but the technology of an inexpensive projector, a Blu-Ray and a screen mounted onto an inflatable backing is very simple, mobile and affordable.

May 30, 2014 at 11:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

The current model that brutally relegates filmmakers, who dare to challenge the established (profitable) narrative norms of their craft, reveals that we’ve collectively surrendered to the idea of economics dictating our artistic expressions. Like any other capitalist enterprises, the big studios have always done their best to maximize their profits. This is a predictable model. No surprises there. I’m personally more disturbed by the fact that we haven’t been able to create a viable, functional alternative to this corporate behemoth that’s been increasingly occupying and manipulating our public sphere of reason, as Kant first called it. This development not only deprives us of quality films but also undermines the very foundation of our culture without which we could lose our centuries-old and hard-earned privilege to creatively imagine our existence in institutional settings. I’m pessimistic about our ability to meaningfully reverse this trend without our first pulling our society out of the mud of plutocracy and corporatocracy. In other words, we need to change our present sociopolitical conditions that perpetuate the atmosphere in which money largely determines our creative decisions. Until then, we’ll eat the crumbs from the floor while the beast enjoys a feast at the table.

May 30, 2014 at 4:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Bojan S.

Big Hollywood is not an example of capitalism. It's, in many ways, a cartel protected by the government.

May 30, 2014 at 10:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Welcome to the real world, Neo. Your precious textbook pure capitalism is nowhere to be found in this very reality. What you fail to understand, this model is rotten, but people are taught to support the old ways, afraid to look around for something that requires change in human behavior and the way we do business.

June 1, 2014 at 11:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Natt

It strikes me as ironic that in all this talk about new media, new technology by informed users that every one speaking here is out of focus and unlit.

May 30, 2014 at 7:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Im glad this video exists. It shows that everyone is in the same boat as me. No idea really where to go with the ideas in my head. I cant say anything new about form really came out of this video. But it taught me to not watch anymore, just go and keep creating.

Basically it seems all of you are waiting for the paradigm to shift or for the other shoe to drop as far as more media being accepted to the mass forms of distribution. I dont recall who it was but I remember a clip from some public access show talking about super 8 and home video market. They were looking for ways of showing their films and having to deal with people who were saying that the models of the time didnt fit for this type of media and they were being ignored by the people with money and power. Yet movies were still made that inspired us all from that era and forward. History is funny like that I guess.

Whats really funny to me is twice in the comments already theater is brought up. Theater as a means of future not obstacle, which seems to be opposite in the video. Rooftop films and several other organizations are doing outdoor film showings, getting strong response too. Theaters if made smaller and allowed to be smaller would probably succeed and would probably spread like wildfire. But that requires big hollywood to decrease their prices for theatrical release film showings and for us the filmmakers to say no to distribution that would charge that insane fee and perhaps do it personally. So we have to bypass our payday so that our film can be seen (with the added benefit of not being focused grouped to death), the film we created. Which to many people I know doing this fulltime and have made a good amount of money making movies this just sounds horrid. Theyd give away one of their films that went no where but something truly good, all would choose the money. Theater is a place of tangible ways to interact with your audience. Experimentation can be done here and have instant result. I think transmedia of all sorts is becoming less of a tool and more of the main attraction. Which has its place, but to reinvent hollywood is not to utilize the cheaper of the same tools they do.

I dont know if this is a thing but I feel alittle more holistic about the art I love so dearly. I completely agree with transmedia and its uses. But the same kind of convenience has happened in almost every other realm of existence and it has not made the quality any better or any more nutritious. Eating an apple and eating apple sauce are completely different, no matter the likeness in makeup or lack thereof due to manufacturing being what it is. I feel like the wrong question is being asked. Or maybe its in the title but expressed differently. We should be driving people out of their homes to the theater. Or out of their homes to a place where they all could watch the same film and discuss it. Going to the audience is great and seems rather nice as far as knowing exactly how and where your piece is getting seen but would you want to have seen any great film that inspired you for the first time on a 5.6" screen cramped in a subway car with headphones on?

Sadly there wont be anything new to really happen with hollywood. Just people with little to lose and alittle bit of resourcefulness will have to do something to get it right, then get grooved into the hollywood shuffle. We dont need to reinvent it as much as take it. There are thousands of people cameras rolling as I write this. They as one could overtake hollywood and its money. If the money werent tempting. There are so many safeguards on film now with ratings and test screening that need to be taken off. I get that the easy win for indies is for online streaming to be the place where indie lives but we can do better than that. Our audience deserves better than that.

Ive been thinking about deleting this whole thing, because behind it all I dont want to piss anyone off that Id want to work with. Ive spent time between writing a few words of this and researched each of the speakers and Im vastly humbled by the work they put into their respective pieces and platforms. But hollywood lives and dies by the theater, if we can take that even in part Im sure much would follow. If we begin an ecosystem where a something like the Angelika Theater in NYC could exist in more places or perhaps something totally different then maybe hollywood would reinvent itself to fit our idea. The how is just another way of being creative.

May 31, 2014 at 11:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Interesting. Is it too much to ask people to stop making garbage they would never want their own kids to see? Might not sound all that intelligent, but do unto others as you would have them do unto you would pretty much cause a massive cultural revolution. While I have heard many claim they live by the "golden" rule, I would ask, really? Have you truly looked closely at what is being demanded by- "as you would have them do unto you"? Better to form alliances with like-minded special interest groups and exert your collective will over others to enact changes that are likely to benefit you. That is, unless the term "better" is defined by a transcendent being who can take everything we think, say and do into account. Love your neighbor as you love yourself? Ah C'mon now that's just crazy religious talk. It's off point and irritating! No proselytizing. This is a forum for constructive criticism and we don't need to go all religious here in a discussion about how to improve the entire entertainment industry!
But you have to admit "Love your neighbor as you love yourself" would reinvent Hollywood.

June 6, 2014 at 4:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Russell Steen

I was wondering where this trend of "democratization" of media would finally grind to a halt, and I think we've finally hit that stopping point.

It's interesting that, although about everyone now has the tools to make a professional quality, feature lenght production, very few do because the basic requirements of solid storycraft, technical compentence and determination remain unchanged and are not being met at any increased rate with the access gained to high quality equipment.

The barrier to high-quality, traditional narrative, feature length cinema remains just as high as it has ever been; this changes nothing.

June 9, 2014 at 8:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Frank