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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Open Brainstorm tonight

Tonight at 8 PM EST we will have an open Brainstorm session to discuss the current status of Arkhaven and Dark Legion, as well as the hypothetical possibility of creating a community-owned movie studio. I realize the latter sounds entirely crazy, but I don't think it's necessarily quite as insane as it sounds. It might not be possible yet, but a number of the necessary pieces are at least prospectively in place. And while it's not even a secondary or tertiary goal of mine, the utility of having a viable visual outlet for the stories we are creating in other formats does not escape me.

There are 500 seats available, and it is first come, first seated.

I have a request in for a feature that would permit reserved seating, but obviously they have not yet had time to implement it. I'm sorry about the double emailing to Brainstorm members, but DST hasn't changed here yet so I initially got the time there wrong.

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21 Comments:

Blogger Looking Glass March 15, 2018 11:17 AM  

Since I won't be able to be around for this, thoughts on Movie Studio stuff.

Beyond the financing, the biggest issue is the Incentive structures. Hollywood has so abused all of the accounting that contracts for movies cause all sorts of problems, but the biggest is, unless you're a title star that can get % on Gross, almost no one in the industry has any personal interest in a movie succeeding. Star Wars is notorious for never having made a "profit", yet, inflation adjusted, it's the 2nd highest grossing movie in US history.

To say this is corrosive on the entire process is an understatement. Only the financiers end up with "Skin in the Game", which is exactly why they, now, act so terrible to everyone. A community-owned approach would need a completely different approach from a Legal standpoint. My thought is that each Movie would be setup as an independent company, so all profits flow through that company with explicitly laid out payout systems. Each project ends up an independent company, but IP & Licensing rights have to be figured out in general for that to work.

Beyond that, Audio-Visual presentation is fairly "figured out". You're not going to find some new angle to radically change things. However, there are different approaches to take to produce consistent quality output. Script, Pre-planning and Editing. All 3 are, production wise, very cheap, however they get the shortest of shift from current production approaches. Those are the leverage points.

Blogger VD March 15, 2018 11:29 AM  

Beyond the financing, the biggest issue is the Incentive structures. Hollywood has so abused all of the accounting that contracts for movies cause all sorts of problems, but the biggest is, unless you're a title star that can get % on Gross, almost no one in the industry has any personal interest in a movie succeeding.

And that is by far the easiest problem to solve.

Blogger Looking Glass March 15, 2018 11:40 AM  

I'm not sure why I remembered this film, but I think it's a good example of the problem.

Sky Blue: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0353014/?ref_=nv_sr_2

It's a Korean animated work from 2003. Visuals still look good, but I remember when watching it that I was constantly struct by the reality that an animated work clearly needed several more passes at the script. (Early 2000s, so there's a ham-fisted eco message.) It's one thing not to get a good performance out of some actors, but it's wholly another thing when you have complete control of the script and presentation yet you cannot produce a logically cohesive story. Did no one layout the story before you started drawing the frames?

Since apparently I'm thinking in terms of Animation Production cycles...

Compare it to Redline: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1483797/?ref_=nv_sr_1

This title is notorious for having one of the roughest productions ever. Took 7 years to produce, but it also one of the most visually stunning, hand-drawn animation works you'll ever see. If you haven't seen it, though it carries a R-rating in the States, you really should. (Dub has swearing which isn't actually present in the Japanese track; random tits moment & a guy doing cocaine bumps this up the rating from PG-13 range.)

Beyond being one of the greatest love-letters to drive-in era car movies, it also shows what happens when you have to take a lot of time planning out even a simple story. (Even if it happened by accident due to lack of funding.) Shakespeare it ain't, but it is space racers with weaponry. And possibly a Dean Wormer stand-in.

The difference is story execution. Prettiest visuals in the world only works if you're James Cameron (and that might not work for Avatar 2), it always comes down to story execution. Breaking through the current issues, without spending gobs of money, requires getting everything aligned properly before any filming takes place. Live-action productions start looking a lot like Pixar's approach, but if everyone is clear what is needed from them -- and they have skin in the game -- you can get much better results than anyone else normally puts out.

Blogger Matt Robison March 15, 2018 11:42 AM  

The path has been cleared a bit by Christian studios that have been moderately successful, so it's not that crazy. The quality of "Christian" filmmaking has left a lot to be desired, though they have incrementally improved in their storytelling. Very, very incrementally.

If you can get the talent and experience...who knows?

Blogger Looking Glass March 15, 2018 11:49 AM  

@2 VD

Agreed. It's this glaring, low-hanging fruit, but no one wants to touch it. And, for the audience, it's normally the cause of Terrible Sequels, as the actors don't normally get paid much until the sequel. Unless they're Tom Cruise, because he has the best agents in the business. (And/or hit squads from his religion.)

Blogger FUBARwest March 15, 2018 11:55 AM  

Yes! I am definitely interested and will do my best to be available at 8. The current state of the movie industry is in a way more precarious situation than I think most people realize.

The studios and production companies have no idea how to utilize the internet and that alone is completely wrecking the business models. Throw in the massive bloat that is included with ALL of the unions and not to mention SJW convergence and the husk that is shuffling about is going to fall relatively soon.

Think about this for a second. Somebody on set gets paid a relatively decent wage to show up on set and sit there the entire day and wipe off water droplets and thats it. If anyone else does that particular task instead of the person hired just for that they get chewed out on set because you are "taking their job".

Blogger Jack Amok March 15, 2018 11:57 AM  

Hmmmm, some odd glitch with commenting on the post about the Clinton Foundation. Clearly more Russian hacking...


Regarding movies... given Vox's background, maybe a cRPG instead, if you're going in for expensive but seductive artist endeavors. I'd love to see someone trying to play a waifu in a game where Vox designed the combat system.

Blogger freddie_mac March 15, 2018 12:08 PM  

@7 Jack Amok

Yes, I'd noticed that too. While I can open the post in Feedly and see it in my timeline, trying to go to the website brings up an error message from Blogger (i.e., file not found).

Movies: technology has improved enough that people can do just fine without big budget studios. What about distribution, or are you thinking about web-based? For that matter, who (demographics) goes to movie theaters anymore? I haven't been to one since 2005 (Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), but admittedly nearly all of the modern movies cause me to recoil in horror or disgust (or yawn in apathy).

Blogger Looking Glass March 15, 2018 12:08 PM  

@4 Matt Robison

It helps to leverage having NFL Films employees as part of your church. Having professionals do a job is kind of the point, but the biggest issues are away from what is on-screen. This has already done modern "Christian" films in. They keep trying to write message fiction, but they're a bunch of Churchians. It's horrible, and the fact they "mean well" makes it worse.

I was going to say CS Lewis had the best read on how to be Christian and create Fiction, then I realize the Space Trilogy would make an excellent longer form Mini-Series.

Anyway, this is still early stage discussion. By the time things get really rolling, the Streaming Wars will likely be over, which means the gobs of money being thrown at crap products will also likely be over. And, by that point, 2 hour movies might not make logical or financial sense.

Though Westerns, that don't involved gay cowboys, should still work. Cheap location shooting that looks good if you have a halfway decent DP, cheap costuming and it gives actors roles to sink their teeth into.

Blogger The Observer March 15, 2018 12:09 PM  

Have a great brainstorm! Won't be able to attend, but it does sound exciting.

Blogger pyrrhus March 15, 2018 12:12 PM  

Jumping the gun a little, I think the idea of a superhero type movie based on the comics is excellent, and would make money if you could get decent distribution. Maybe Mel Gibson would be interested?!

Blogger Jack Amok March 15, 2018 12:19 PM  

Yes, I'd noticed that too. While I can open the post in Feedly and see it in my timeline, trying to go to the website brings up an error message from Blogger (i.e., file not found).

Now the whole post is gone for me. Definitely Russian hackers. Or maybe a slightly inebriated Finn. Not sure.

Blogger Looking Glass March 15, 2018 12:38 PM  

@11 pyrrhus

It's not too early to discuss it. It's an area of complicated financial interactions & legal issues that's a 100+ year old industry. Learn from the God Emperor: spend years planning when you're going to jump into something people do for careers.

Further, depending on demographic, most Visual Media isn't even intended to be profitable on its own. Kids shows exist as advertisements for toys. Pokemon & Transformers are probably the best known, but that's what "media franchises" are about: not the art but pushing related branded products. It's hard to produce solid, creative work when it becomes extremely cynical, very quickly.

Blogger Killua March 15, 2018 12:55 PM  

I'm in!!!

Blogger Anne March 15, 2018 12:57 PM  

And yet kids enjoy them and are taught/brainwashed by them. We need nonconverged children's shows too, and if they are connected with decent toys, what's wrong with that?

Blogger Peaceful Poster March 15, 2018 1:06 PM  

Somebody on set gets paid a relatively decent wage to show up on set and sit there the entire day and wipe off water droplets and thats it.

Someone also gets paid to sit on a city street overnight, before the production trucks arrive, just to make sure nobody else parks there.

Sometimes I bring them snacks.

Blogger Looking Glass March 15, 2018 1:24 PM  

@15 Anne

Didn't say making children's entertainment is bad, but the entire entertainment industry runs on cynicism and ill-will. In the case of a lot of children's shows, they're given toy concepts and told to make stories around them. It's a great way for quality to drop and propaganda to be put in place of creativity.

Blogger Pax_Romana March 15, 2018 1:44 PM  

Well, if the studio gets to the casting phase, I know quite a few non-SJW actors (all of whom are ardent Trump supporters, a few of which are even VFM) here in LA, both Union, non-union, and Union willing to thumb their nose at the Union.

There are more of us than the media would let you believe...it's just that very few of us are A-Listers.

OpenID Micus Expectorus March 15, 2018 2:21 PM  

I'll be there. I did a quick and rough test or two recently for VFX over live plates, and Vox probably just laughed at it because it was pretty hokey. Being a software dev, my artistic skills are limited.

That said, I've got pipeline for assets, plates, etc all starting to slowly come together, and if at all possible I'll try to make something as portable as possible that others can use. With open source software and some documentation, we could probably make something work.

Blogger Thot March 15, 2018 3:34 PM  

Would like to have made it but don't think I can.

As to a movie studio, that would be amazing but difficult. Not that Vox let's difficulty be a deterrent in his life. I think animation would be an easier next step. Logistically it could be done by like mind creative folks from around the world. Meetings held through some sort of skype/face time. A secure server with the collective bits of production being stored for easy access for the layout artists, environment artist, character designers, animators, etc..

Anyway, just my 2 cents

Blogger freddie_mac March 15, 2018 4:35 PM  

@17 Looking Glass
[children's shows] a great way for quality to drop and propaganda to be put in place of creativity.

Can't believe I remembered this ... every now and then, it works the other way too
http://thefederalist.com/2015/04/08/my-little-pony-to-children-marxism-is-not-magic/

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