ATLFF Creative Conference: Disrupting Hollywood

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By Rebecca Daniel, Senior Editor

Hollywood has long been the entertainment capitol of America.  However, in the last few years’ things have started to change.

Due to tax credits, many of Hollywood’s productions have moved to Georgia, Louisiana, and Canada. A rise in streaming entertainment companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu pose a threat to Hollywood’s typical business structure. And Virtual Reality technology seems to be more accessible than ever.

The Disrupting Hollywood Panel at the Atlanta Film Festival sought to answer how new technology is currently disrupting Hollywood’s typical business structure and what the future of entertainment looks like.

Derek Woodgate (a Futurist and consultant) explained his belief, “Hollywood is all about blockbusters. As a business model, I see it as being the place where the very large movies are still made. I still see it where the money is. Going forward, I think that model is still going to be very strong. I think that opens up considerable opportunity for other areas and different types of movie makers. If you look back at what Hollywood was 30 years ago, it was predominant in every aspect of what movies were about. I don’t think that needs to be the case. I think it will play a part in the future landscape, but it won’t necessarily be the main part.”

William Davis (senior video specialist at PR Team) had a lot of insightful information about the Hollywood structure vs. a more creative approach saying, “with new emerging distribution channels there’s a completely different mindset than traditional Hollywood studio executives. It seems like with this new technology there’s a chance to express yourself creatively. I think we’re at a crossroads on whether or not we want to continue perpetuating the traditional Hollywood method of creation and distribution or do we want to embrace new technology and make it our own in terms of distribution and content creation? It’s almost a new frontier”

Elizabeth Stricker (Communication Director at Georgia State University) believes Television disrupts Hollywood because the overall format is a better business model than film. She goes on to explain the process, “People can take a small gamble on a pilot of a TV show or on a season and then make it better and see if you get a fan following. That’s basically coming from the engineering business model which is to come up with an idea, make a physical prototype, test it with an audience, go back to the lab, and make it a little bit better, and keep cycling through. That’s what we’re seeing with TV and I think that’s why we’re getting this Golden Age of Television right now.”  

The panel went on to discuss how Tyler Perry’s Georgia based Production Company proves this model. It is currently disrupting Hollywood by putting out an episode of TV every day.

A huge topic of conversation at the conference was the expansion of Virtual Reality. Instead of telling a story like a 2D film, it is ‘story enabling.’ With the use of Virtual Reality, there are opportunities to try things that Hollywood cannot do. Elizabeth Stricker called it “a whole new world and a new space.” Instead of sitting in a theater watching a flat screen, VR allows the viewers to immerse themselves in the event.

Hollywood may be a giant in film and television production, but it is not the only possibility. Virtual Reality, streaming services, and Television models prove this fact. For content creators, this is great news because more and more opportunities become readily available to create entertainment.

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