Writers’ Strike, Internet, May Remake Hollywood
Imagine a return to moviemaking where storytelling as a craft mattered most, and a writer with a dream and some financial backing could do what once required a studio to accomplish.
Movie production and distribution making a sea change to the Internet won’t be as simple to pull off as it has with music. Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and Jay-Z have been the biggest names to embrace the online model as an alternative to the old world of the music labels.
The writers who craft screenplays for studios may be seeing today as the time to explore the Internet’s potential. Los Angeles Times scribe Patrick Goldstein called this dawning future the time of the writer-entrepreneur.
He cited some of the biggest names in film – George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, John Lasseter – as people who built filmmaking companies around themselves and their visions. Hollywood screenwriters could be the people who follow in those footsteps, as their strike continues.
One of those writers, Tony Gilroy, may be at the vanguard of those progressing from walking the picket lines to working as Writer Studio Inc. Goldstein cited Gilroy’s nod to the Internet as a way for writers to free themselves:
Gilroy is now a convert. “The studios have got to be hoping that this idea about being entrepreneurs doesn’t sweep over the TV show runners, because once you start seeing really good production values on the Internet, I mean, what does Larry David really need HBO for? This is all everybody is talking about on the line. They’re not talking about healthcare. They’re going, ‘Wow, is there a different way to get our movies and TV shows made?’ “
Before you, the aspiring screenwriter, go to your boss’s office and tell him you’re off to pursue your cinema dreams, keep in mind Gilroy has what you probably don’t: family contacts, a string of big name film credits (Gilroy penned the Bourne movies that star Matt Damon), and George Clooney’s phone number.
It could be the big names like Gilroy, writers who make six-figures for scripts, who crack Hollywood open like a steamed clam with the help of the Internet. Once they do it, and deliver suitable returns for their investors as Gilroy’s “Michael Clayton” seems likely to do, that’s when more investors will look for writers with ideas that will light up Cannes and Sundance like a marquee.
Then it will be ok to tell the boss to take a hike. Just don’t do it until the financing has been delivered.