Hollywood is going to look very different when this is all over...
All I want to know is when we'll get back to work. Things in Hollywood have been dire and distressing. The last few months have raised dozens of questions and almost no answers. I feel like a lot of us are scared, worried, and frustrated with the current state of affairs. Hollywood is going to change after this, but how?
In a recent column in The Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg surveyed writers, actors, and directors to see what they thought was coming our way.
Here are some of the topics and people covered:
- Paranoid thrillers and body horror will come back | Stephany Folsom
- Kids will need reassurance that they aren’t alone in their anxieties | Zack Stentz
- Outsiders are going to be the new insiders | Aisha Tyler
- Audiences will have a new experience in common | Adam Pally
- Pop culture is going to get weird — and that’s great | Paul Scheer
I wanted to pull a quote from each and talk about what the future holds.
The future is...scary.
The first question we hear a lot is about what stories will be marketable after this is over. I think it's safe to say people will want limited cast and crowd scenes. But what about the varying genres? Writer Stephany Folsom has an opinion on that, saying, "I think we’re also going to see a lot of body horror because it’s a safe place to explore all this fear that we’re having about our health and our safety. I don’t think people are going to want to see on-the-nose plague dramas or anything like that, because we’ve lived through all of it... There will be a lot of haunted house movies, that sort of monster-in-the-house movies."
This is interesting. Horror is always accessible and marketable. We will have to see society's palette for scares after being cooped up, but body horror really plays into our subconscious with a pandemic. So, great bet.
Won't somebody think of the children?
We are in a difficult time explaining the way things work to the younger members of our world. From writer Zach Stentz, "My hope is that viewers, especially younger ones, will get to see their own emotional struggles reflected in the characters and realize they're not alone and that their feelings and challenges are real and important but also things that can be overcome or lived with, whether they're caused by an invisible virus or menacing aliens."
As E.T. was the best movie about divorce, I think we have the opportunity to find allegories here that can cover what happened and ease the anxiety for people.
Bring diverse voices forward!
Now, more than ever, we know we need to broaden the horizons of cinema. Director and star Aisha Tyler says, "Now, more than ever, we need diversity in storytelling and unflinching honesty from our storytellers. This global pause has provided a real opportunity for artists to create projects that are fully and singularly their own, outside the traditional system, and take them directly to viewers without the long development process they typically endure. And without the typical economic gatekeeping that filters out new voices, my fervent hope is that an army of underrepresented voices with new visions and perspectives will break through."
This has always been true, and hopefully, things are getting better as we move forward. But we need to see the breadth of America on the screen, we have an imperative for it.
We're all in this together.
One of the things I forget about while isolated is that other people care about me and will help... even if it's through something like comedy. Comedy star Adam Pally says, "...what’s funny to someone is offensive to someone else and sad to another. That’s what makes comedy so entertaining: the idea that someone may go over the line, say something you’ve been thinking, or crystallize a thought you haven’t had. That ability to evolve is why comedy will adapt to this time more quickly than other forms."
I think comedy has the power to save us all. We are in such trouble, and while laughing is not going to be a vaccine, I think it can be the remedy for the news and depression. It definitely helps me through the hardest times.
Embrace our weirdness.
Finally, out of an intense crisis, like WWII and even the Great Depression, we often get art that changes the world. I'm talking about movies like Casablanca and Sullivan's Travels. I'm not the only one who feels that way. Star Paul Scheer says, "There’s been so much negativity in all my conversations with people about “the changes” that are going to happen in Hollywood. But as someone who has been routinely forced to work under intense time and budget constraints on project after project, I can tell you that restriction is the mother of creativity."
Restrictions, like social distance shoots and the numbers of people who can be on set at different times, sound oppressive, but they may lead to stories we need to keep people entertained and make light of this situation.
Sum it all up...
These are all ideas, but it feels like a lot of them track. What do you think the future holds? Let us know in the comments.