Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A few (more) words on The Hobbit

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  • Jeremy Eade,

    Plenty of films are made on budgets of under $100k.

    Everyone works for free.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    He's right: the state has entered to meddle in the relationship between workers and capital on the side of capital (as evidenced by the overly broad, vague legislation being rammed through under urgency as I write).

    FFS, "the state" meddles in the "relationship between workers and capital" all the sodding time. You'd have to be a particularly unhinged Rand-droid to suggest New Zealand is a worse place for the lack of sweatshops filled with children.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    the industry has had bumper years for the last 3. Likewise the movie industry.
    Planning is good, but don't base it on false assumptions.

    The 'movie industry' may be having bumper years, but generally the film business is in deep, deep shit.

    'The industry' keeps its revenues up by making fewer and fewer bigger and bigger films (like, I dunno, The Hobbit or Avatar) and pays another hundred mill or so to instruct everyone on the planet to go and see them on the same weekend. In 3D. For an extra $3.00.

    Only Hollywood studios can afford to make films like this and, most importantly, have the networks to release them on the same weekend around the world.

    But for every other level of filmmaking beneath that news is very bad indeed. DVD is collapsing, there are $1 rentals in America (and versions of same here -- 6 for $10), no-one else can get into multiplexes, TV networks will pay f'all, other countries only want Hollywood films or their own. And, yeah, I hear people make them available for free online. (Disclosure: Despite being someone who makes stuff that is pirated I am NOT in favour of the copyright fascism)

    And people are just losing interest -- there's YouTube, a million channels on TV, the Internets, games, phones etc etc

    But there is no question that, like the music biz, revenue through traditional channels for filmmakers is dropping, dropping, dropping ... But, unlike music, films haven't yet cracked the alternative -- they can't play live, sell T-shirts ... or make it in your bedroom.

    It still costs a fortune to make most movies ... but the revenue we can get for them is steadily heading for down.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why actors* are worth less than ever before, not more.

    And why those Hollywood studios will do what ever it takes to get the best deal they can to make those mega-movies.


    *And directors, writers, producers, grips, gaffers, cinematographers etc etc


    EDIT: Sorry, hadn't refreshed and seen you'd all talked about this some more while I thought about my post!

    Since Sep 2010 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Moreover, people in the sector are self-employed; if there was a serious effort to give up the benefits of that and become employees, fine, but there seems to be a certain are of having the cake and eating it.

    No, even the actors showed no sign of wanting to give up contractor status. Which is why, even though I might despise the means by which the law is being amended, I don't expect its impact to be very broad at all.

    Idiot/Savant tweeted yesterday that the bill would make "slaves" of everyone in the film industry, which is an absurd claim. When I challenged him, he amended that to "serfs", which is still absurd.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Craig, I think you missed the "on the side of capital" part of that sentence.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Fair point Jonathan, which is why I said "if you can monetise it".

    @Jeremy

    Of course that would involve planning , something you told me off about.

    No, I told you off about planning based on false assumptions. There is a difference, which you appear to have missed. Try again.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    When I challenged him, he amended that to "serfs", which is still absurd.

    I swear the next person from my political camp (which is being rapidly depopulated as we speak) that uses the word "serf" is going to get punched right in their scurvy-riddled mouth.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    If you can monetise it (yes, I hate the word too, but it works), downloading offers more opportunity for small film-makers than threat.

    Indeed, filmmakers (and musicians) now have ways to move their thing around the world in ways that couldn't be imagined 15 years ago ... The conundrum is how to:

    a. Get money to make those expensive fuckers (and maybe pay yourself while you do).

    b. Pay that money back.

    (Answer to conundrum is not to wish really hard that that online digital copying doesn't happen and persecute / prosecute anyone who isn't wishing hard enough).

    No, I told you off about planning based on false assumptions.

    There's no question that we're still delaying the inevitable day when our film 'industry' collapses. Hollywood will -- despite what John Key has announced -- not keep coming here. And our domestic industry is nowhere near able to support the hundreds or thousands of people who currently see themselves as professional film crew (and we saw hanging out for The Hobbit).

    Since Sep 2010 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Idiot/Savant tweeted yesterday that the bill would make "slaves" of everyone in the film industry, which is an absurd claim. When I challenged him, he amended that to "serfs", which is still absurd.

    I've found most of his commentary on this issue bordering on the unhinged, myself. Like others mentioned above, "Solidarity uber alles" seems to be his theme.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, I think you missed the "on the side of capital" part of that sentence.

    No I didn't -- I just don't want to bore everyone else's tits off with a long, angry rant about everything that's wrong about it.

    Films are very expensive. Arthouse films are great but they just don't bring in the revenue. If you have a plan to get arthouse or smaller films better receptions I'd love to hear it, but it's all about those bums on seats.

    Up to a point. I think Pulp Fiction would qualify as "arthouse" by any measure -- but a US$212 million global theatrical gross off a US$15m budget is one hell of a return on investment. That's before you factor in the very long tail from ancillary media -- the soundtrack, the screenplay, DVDs and BluRay releases etc.

    As indie producer Christine Vachon said on Kim Hill's show a few months back, if there was some fool-proof formula for making commercially successful movies everyone would be doing it. Instead, she's had her share of films that (on paper) should have been slam dunk hits but failed to connect for all kinds of reasons. Then, she had others that were marginal prospects but broke out.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Sigh ...

    I've just had an email that includes the phrase "your treachery will not be forgotten".

    People are kinda stupid sometimes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    If one, just out of interest, wanted to read this, so-called, 'Thread of Dooooom', where would one find it?

    Since Sep 2010 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    I've just had an email that includes the phrase "your treachery will not be forgotten".

    Hahahaha -- you'll be getting a piece of paper with a black spot on it next!

    Since Sep 2010 • 174 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    If one, just out of interest, wanted to read this, so-called, 'Thread of Dooooom', where would one find it?

    Here be Dragons!

    It's all Matthew Poole's fault. He started it, mum!

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    There's no question that we're still delaying the inevitable day when our film 'industry' collapses.

    In cinephile France such a giant of the industry as Alain Resnais pulls audiences of 4-500,000. The numbers make for no profit.

    Goddard gets about 20,000 (but he's hoping for less).

    Woody Allen the same, he seems to survive by having generous funders.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    I've just had an email that includes the phrase "your treachery will not be forgotten".

    I guess this makes you "damaged goods" as well... *ducks*

    [edit]
    "You'll never act in this town again, Russell Brown!"

    I jest, but with a sour taste.Fortunately, I think the actors, producers and techs will get over it a lot more quickly than the dyed in the wool Trotterites.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2173 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ho hum. Drinnan doesn't really seem to have grasped the key elements of the story very well either:

    The hope among some in the production industry is that Actors' Equity has crashed and burned with its mishandling of The Hobbit dispute. It would be game over and the labour law change would keep unions out ...

    But others in the industry point a finger at the Screen Production and Development Association (Spada) and a wish to maintain the non-unionised status as long as possible.

    The lack of formal structure apparent in other countries was holding back New Zealand.

    "This was always going to explode. It will go away now, but it will be back again," said a well-placed insider who would not be named.

    Quite a degree of confusion over, like, the words you call things by ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    If one, just out of interest, wanted to read this, so-called, 'Thread of Dooooom', where would one find it?

    Don't thank me. In fact, I apologise right now.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Woody Allen the same, he seems to survive by having generous funders.

    For those convinced Warner Brothers is a pack of rapacious vulgarians, I have a two word response.

    Stanley Kubrick.

    Ho hum. Drinnan doesn't really seem to have grasped the key elements of the story very well either.

    Jeebus - that was like going on a Sunday drive with George Michael and a trash bag of weed.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I've just had an email that includes the phrase "your treachery will not be forgotten".

    Ah, they're all talk. After the revolution they'll offer you a mansion and the Order of Lenin as long as you blog nice things about their gulags.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Ah, they're all talk. After the revolution they'll offer you a mansion and the Order of Lenin as long as you blog nice things about their gulags.

    Word. I expect they will not remember in a few years anything about their strangely primitive tribal display.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    1. It's very hard to move a coalmine offshore.

    Nah. It's all down to where you start digging.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6208 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    @Russell

    I don't say we shouldn't be proud of Sir Peter and his internationally acclaimed movies - I personally am not particularly proud of his recent behaviour. I think I was trying to say that we (led by a pack media) may be going overboard. I also think we should be worried about the quality of jobs that we create in this country - and the effect that getting them may have on the quality of other jobs - maybe take a longer-sighted look at things.

    @ Craig

    BTW, Jan, planning to tell Elizabeth Knox & Lloyd Jones to dump their "enormous international" publishers and stop writing effete un-Kiwi bullshit about bisexual angels in France and a Dickens-obsessed teacher in war-torn Bougainville?

    If you think that, Craig, then probably you should tell them. I think their books are wonderful.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 394 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    :)) Lighter....[ (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10683747|here])

    Hope this works. First time I've tried a link

    (Edit) Ah no. Bugger. Anyone tell me what I've done wrong by looking at the above? I'd be very grateful.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But the most delicious nugget of #Drinnanfail has to be:

    As the media-induced hysteria over The Hobbit dies away...

    I hope Toni Collette is available for the movie version, because the way the Herald acts as if it's above and beyond "the media" is sooo United States of Tara.

    If Drinnan is Alice, the prissy 50's housewife alter, and Chris Trotter is Buck, the crass manly-man one would that make Rudman T. or Gimmie?

    Jeebus - that was like going on a Sunday drive with George Michael and a trash bag of weed.

    Correction: Reading Drinnan's column is always like going on a Sunday drive with George Michael and a trash bag of weed.

    If you think that, Craig, then probably you should tell them. I think their books are wonderful.

    Despite their connections with evil foreign multinationals and unpatriotic subject matter? Good on you.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12040 posts Report Reply

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