The Essay Question (Aug. 6, 2015)

Every couple of weeks, the OFCS polls its members with a question related to movies. It can be serious or amusing, but each member is given the opportunity to submit a short response to the question, which we will then post on Thursday mornings. Here is this week’s query.

Essay Question #18:

Do you see changes in the way movies are delivered (online video-on-demand, downloads, etc.) affecting the way movies are made, and if so, how?

Question Submitted by: Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies


Robert Cashill @ Popdose
Let’s talk about the other issue: Way too many new movies for shrinking audiences that may or may not be seeing them on these new platforms. Too many for even the most diligent of reviewers to keep up with, to the extent that the New York Times threw in the towel on covering the dozen or more films that open every Friday in the city. That was a controversial decision on its part–but, really, the Times was just boarding a ship that sailed long ago for many outlets. The good news is that inexpensive movies, digitally filmed, have arrived–it wasn’t that long ago that Pieces of April and Personal Velocity, good scripts realized with inferior technology, were the norm.

But those were made for the traditional indie/arthouse crowd. Movies are being made so narrowly, for niche audiences more and more thinly sliced and likely to be in front of their device screen, that it’s hard to detect if they’re available at all–and at some point, their makers will have to ask if it’s worth the trouble to go panning for eyeballs.

Samuel Castro @
No veo que los cambios en su manera de distribuirlas cambie de alguna manera la forma en que se hacen las películas. Si acaso, le hace pensar a los creadores en las posibilidades de tener una audiencia global con mayor facilidad, lo que significa que a lo mejor van a tener más en cuenta la inclusión de subtítulos en inglés y en chino en sus cintas, cuando no estén habladas en esos idiomas.

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk Online
I do think that filmmakers are starting to explore other platforms to distribute their films and, as a result, they are presenting their films in a way that is catered to a millenial audience. Using technology, more affordable means of watching films and other methods will sustain online audiences, while big screen films need to work twice as hard to remain appealing.

Kristen Lopez @ Awards Circuit
I think the ease of availability would allow for more independent films to garner an audience. Of course, that could mean we seem more crap being dispensed, but considering a film like Tangerine was shot on an iPhone and is now getting huge critical attention, I think a wider distribution method will allow these movies, often ignored, to get a following.

Gregory J. Smalley @ 366 Weird Movies
Movies are easier to make and distribute than ever. This is good for the cinema consumer, obviously. The downside is, with the ease of getting your film out on a VOD platform—and the speed with which anything worth watching is pirated and distributed royalty-free by enthusiastic fans—comes increased competition and diminished revenue for everyone working at the lower-budget end of the spectrum. Although more voices would seem to be a good thing, I worry that the lack of barriers to entry in the bottom end of the industry means that it’s even harder for good, professionally made low-budget films to stand out amidst the flood of amateurs.

Furthermore, at the opposite end of the spectrum, I suspect that the increased competition from free entertainment is pushing Hollywood to distinguish itself by relying even more on expensive spectacles that lower budget films can’t match: superhero films and effects-driven action movies, in 3-D, that are simple-minded enough to appeal to international audiences. The end result, I fear, will be fewer intelligent mid-budget movies aimed at American adults.

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