Hollywood is a blood-sucking creative vampire. It might seem immortal but, trust me, somebody out there right now has a holly stake and mallet. They are contemplating driving it into the heart of the industry. And I'm going to sharpen that fucking stick for them.

Like most (normal) people, I feel like I'm stuck in an abusive relationship with the film industry in the U.S. It lies, takes my money, never gives me any say in what it does. It breaks my heart constantly. It talks shit about me. And then, maybe once a year, it finally shows up with something worth seeing.

The digital revolution was supposed to democratize the film industry. Remember that? The idea at the time was anyone with a Handycam could now make a movie and flood Hollywood with a wave of fresh talent.

Never happened. Turns out, cheap recording media is only one of about a million things necessary to make a movie anybody but your family will sit down to watch, much less pay to see. Hollywood is unmatched at the manufacturing of movies.

Let me provide just one example, and it ain't special effects.

At least 80% of the movie experience is the sound. Some say it's more and I have neither the interest nor data to argue. A low-to-no budget film works hard to control the sound it records while filming.

A Hollywood film only puts in the sounds it wants. Think about the distinction for a moment because it explains why you can hear the difference between a low budget indie film and a big budget one.

Nobody does film manufacturing better than Hollywood. However, the level of story quality and inventiveness has been on a downward trend for at least forty years.

These are some of the worst movies (based on ticket sales) from 1989:

Dead Ringers

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Mystic Pizza

Stand and Deliver

Gorillas in the Mist

Now, try to name any movie from 2014 besides Guardians of the Galaxy. I dare you. Here's a clue: the #10 movie is Big Hero 6. Six!!! Jesus, how does that not cause mass suicide among Hollywood execs? Beside the narcissism, I mean.

The signs are all out there: Hollywood is in deep shit. They have lots of excuses, of course, but the reality is they have no clue. Nobody does. Nobody with any influence or decision-making power, at least.

Let me suggest that the U.S. film industry is ripe for a coup but the people with the money and balls to make sure it happens, think it's a sinking ship. So, let me further state that the movie-viewing public is dying for top shelf product. Aching. Longing. It's just we've given up waiting for Hollywood to stop abusing us. We don't want to get beat up any longer.

I'm going to present the short list of how to establish a new studio that would completely hoover up the top box-office cream.

Move Out of California

You can’t break the rules, offend the elites and gatekeepers, and stay in LA. You can't because sooner or later you’ll cave to their cauterwalling. Then you'll be like Spielberg, who traded his genius for statues. I mean, it worked for him, if that's what makes him happy at night.

But to operate in a truly subversive manner against an entrenched industry you must be where they ain't. You have to close your ears to their whining and predictions of doom. Which leads directly to….

No Social Media

Keep the company completely off of social media. No PR bullshit. No strategic leaks. Participating in social media means paying attention to it, and once you do that you become a servant instead of the master.

No Politics

Fire anyone in the company that pushes a political agenda. Do your own research but I can tell you what an honest and unbiased survey will turn up: people are fucking tired of being preached at. Sick to death.

It's everywhere these days. When we shell out bucks for entertainment, the very last fucking thing we want is yet another sermon.

To put it another way, some people like to see politics pushed in movies but nobody doesn't like having it left out.

Eschew Awards

If you pursue awards then you will find yourself bending creative choices to appease the judges. Never surrender creativity to outsiders. Nevah!!


Screenwriting is the hardest writing in the world. Even writers who manage to create a solid script can't always reproduce that success because they often don't understand why one works and another doesn't.

Apprenticeships allow a studio to train writers (and other very difficult skills) so they have a steady supply of good-to-great scripts. Scripts are the key, of course. Much better for directors and producers to pick through a small stack of good shit than the tsunami of actual shit that washes up in every studio and agency today.

Apprenticeships worked great in the old "studio system" days for teaching and training writers. Bring it back.

Use Science

Studios know a lot of things that just ain't so. The entire industry is mired in dogmatic beliefs that have no backing in reality whatsoever. Flush all of that olde timey Hollywood religion down the crapper and replace it with actual numbers.

The point of these ideas, exemplified here, is to get out of the chicken-or-feathers mentality that crushes both studios and production companies like a runaway steamroller. Steady growth is only possible if you know what the fuck you're doing and why, and can back it up with numbers.

It's going to take a lot of super mathy people to figure this out because the methodologies to collect and analyze the data just don't exist yet. Somebody is going to step up and do it, though, and they will destroy everyone else.

Change the Incentives

I love to pick on execs but, to be fair, they work in a system that is basically trying to kill them, and I don't mean metaphorically.

"Studio executives are intelligent, brutally overworked men and women who share one thing in common with baseball managers: They wake up every morning of the world with the knowledge that sooner or later they're going to get fired." – William Goldman, "Adventures in the Screen Trade"

Things have changed in the film industry since Goldman wrote that in 1983 – they have gotten much worse.

There are a handful of companies that recognize the value of their people. It might be an urban legend, but 3M used to be touted as a place where employees got to share in the profits from the things they invented. If they don't, they damn well should because the guy who came up with Post-It Notes ought to be a billionaire.

Fear of being fired is a perverse incentive, meaning it ensures that the execs will make the safest fucking decisions every single time. Risk-taking, inventiveness, creativity have no place in such a mindset.

And not just the execs. Let everyone benefit from the films they help produce. Spread the wealth and you build loyalty. You can attract the best people. You can't make great films using mediocre minds, after all.

Boldness Wanted

It will take a person with extraordinary resources, influence, and mind to pull this off. I could name a few, the usual suspects, but others are out there who don't get the same headlines. One of them might be bold enough for this revolution.


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