All too true...
An Interesting article in The New York Times on Sunday
opens the door to an entirely new realm of DIY TV.
The article is actually a profile of Peter Principato, an agent for aspiring comics, but the insight that the piece offers actually is far more interesting:
In today’s Hollywood, he told me, trying to find decent-paying work for even the most talented clients had become almost impossible. A few numbers told a sad and weird tale: the 1983 season finale of “MASH” drew an audience of 106 million. In 1987, “The Cosby Show” drew audiences of 30 million. A network show can still draw 15 million, but a cable show like “Children’s Hospital,” starring the comedian Rob Corddry, a client of Principato’s, which is broadcast on the Adult Swim channel, is considered a success with an audience of 1 or 2 million. Where were all the viewers? The Web? Niche programming? The question has no satisfactory answer. What is clear is that the business of getting anyone in Hollywood to pull the trigger on any decision whatsoever has frozen into a Kabuki-like pantomime.
well, one result might be Kabuki-like pantomime, but another result is that the need for high volume / low cost content has never been greater, and it only looks likely to continue.
Where is this content going to come from?
Apparently it isn't going to come from OWN, the new Oprah Winfrey Channel.. but more on that another day.
Where is the new, inexpensive, creative and compelling content going to come from?
Take a look at your video camera.
Now look in the mirror.
One person who has done this (and there are many, but here's one for today) is MIke Stoklasa.
Mike owns Red Letter Media, It's a Milwaukee based indy production company.
Mike makes wedding videos and corporate videos, but I think he's found his true metier in the realm of film review videos.
This is an almost entirely new metier, and a far step from the Siskal and Ebert At The Movies (you remember these - thumbs up, thumbs down).
What Stoklasa has done is combine home video production, film review and mashup.
And it works.
He's also created a 'character' to 'star' in his film reviews - Mr. Plinkett, who claims to be 100 years old, psychotic and somewhat deviant.
Doesn't matter. They still work.
Roger Ebert tweeted “Pretty much the final, exhaustive, brutal, merciless, savage revenge on Revenge of the Sith.”
I am not much of a Star Wars fanatic, but if you are, Mr. Plinkett does a devastating 7-part desruction of the whole Star Wars thing.
The reviews seem to resonate. His numbers on Youtube are in the millions - which is a whole lot better than most movie reviews on TV these days - and they're funny and honest - another thing you don't see too much in TV movie reviews.
I was recently in the back of a taxi watching a movie review by Sandy Kenyon on Channel 7 (which is the local ABC affiliate in NY). Kenyon was reviewing some piece of crap which he noted was produced by The Disney Company, the same company that also own WABC (and signs his pay checks).
I think Stoklasa is on to something here.
It's cheap to make, it's interesting, it's engaging and it's brutally honest.
Which is a lot more than you're going to find on the new OWN Oprah Channel, apparently.