Lemme tell you something…


FilmProductionHey fellow filmmakers!

Most of us are old enough to feel it, even if we’re really not that old. By that I mean a 15 year-old understands what I mean when I say, “Five years of technology is like 100 years in real life.”

That’s how rapidly our lives, our culture, what we do and how we perceive the past, present, and future, actually changes.

It is 2013 as of this writing. Look at a movie from 2003.

“Oh! They have flip phones! How quaint!”

Look at a movie from 2004.

“Why isn’t everyone recording a video of that? Oh. They don’t have that.”

Look at a movie from 2005.

“Why don’t they just use their phone GPS to… oh. They don’t have that app yet.”

The first Smartphone was in 1997, 16 years ago.  It had a camera, and there was only one of them. American companies like Motorola didn’t see the value in it.

The technology existed but no one could have one because major companies weren’t convinced that it was a big enough selling feature.

The “Experts” didn’t see it coming, and the playing field leveled them.

It wasn’t until 1999 – 14 years ago – that people could buy one, and then only in Japan.

Baby’s arrival inspires birth of cellphone camera — and societal evolution

The radical change of putting millions of cameras that take instant pictures and, nearly as instant, send them world-wide, was a radical, world changing, watershed event. Just like in the early 1990s when Post Offices felt the nearly immediate punch of email to their sales of physical mail (soon dubbed Snail Mail), massive film manufacturing companies, with their billions of dollars in sales, felt the punch almost immediately from camera phones, and they went down fast.

Those “Experts” didn’t see it coming either, and the playing field leveled them.

The first global news event captured by video phone was the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake.
The 2005 London subway bombings were the second.
The 2006 performance of Seinfeld comic, Michael Richards, at The Laugh Factory in Hollywood, California, responding to hecklers with racist slurs was the third.
By the time someone recorded the 2006 execution of Saddam Hussein (a month after the Laugh Factor, phone videos were common.
Eventually, the following year, when the technological waters of smartphone, camera, and app use were warm enough, Apple released the very first iPhone.

And that’s a paper-thin sliver of a towering wall of change in an incredibly brief amount of time that has happened to us in the last 14 years.

Now think of 14 years ago when video rental was a multi-billion dollar annual force to be reckoned with: there was Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Jumbo Video, Movie Gallery, Ritz Video, Rogers Video, Video Library, West Coast Video, Family Video. For the last six years, since 2007, they are all dead or dying.

The “Experts” didn’t see it coming, and the playing field leveled them.

It was in 2007 that Redbox kiosks surpassed Blockbuster store locations. In 2008, Redbox surpassed 100 million in video rentals. In 2010 Redbox surpassed 1 billion rentals.

Think streaming video will take over kiosks like Redbox? Maybe. But why did the co-creator of Netflix, Mitch Lowe, leave in 2003 to helm Redbox? Why, 10 years later, is Netflix still stumbling while Redbox is flying?

Try this for a reference point.

At this speed, Redbox will have rented more movies in 10 years than McDonald’s will have sold burgers in 50.

Got that? Now get this, fellow filmmakers. Some people are pretty good at predicting bits and pieces of the future even while that can’t put those bits into an overall picture. But this is what author Greg Merritt said in 1998.

The Internet
The Onslaught of the information superhighway will be changing all the rules for video and television, and for theatrical distribution as well. With the click of a keystroke, consumers around the world will be able to activate state-of-the-art high-definition screens with digital sound, showing them any movie they wish to see, whenever they want to see it – right in their own living rooms. When this day arrives, video stores will be on their way out of business (DVD may help hasten their departure); television scheduling will be altered – or become obsolete; even theaters will be rocked to their foundations. How royalties will be paid when someone downloads your movie in Chicago or Bombay is a question yet to be answered. But one thing is for sure: independent distribution will never be the same.
– Greg Merritt, Film Production: The Complete UNCENSORED Guide to Independent Filmmaking

This week, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg admitted to the fall of the major studios.

Yet again, the playing field is leveling. 15 years ago, 300 years in technological terms, Greg Merritt called it. Are you ready to take advantage of it?


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