The New Way

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Posted by Charles on July 12, 1999 at 00:39:00:

So much change is about to take place in the entertainment business, it's head spinning.

Did anyone in the Los Angeles area read the front page of the Opinion section of the L.A. Times on Sunday, July 11? There was a major article dealing with the new home of the Lucasfilm Company and all of its subsidiaries.

The City Of San Francisco and George Lucas have struck a deal that will relocate and consolidate his operations from Skywalker Ranch and other areas around the Bay City to the former military base known as the Presidio. The implications of this move are enormous, especially since Dreamworks SKG's plans to build out the Playa Del Rey area for the same goal that Lucas has in mind fell through. Frisco is about to position itself as the undisputed center of digital entertainment technolgy.

While Hollywood's execs sit around feeding from their trough, they can sleep tonight resting assured that their autocratic days of cornering the entertainment market will soon be over. Their hold on the exclusive control of what gets made, how it gets made and who will see it are vanishing. They'll still be around, but they'd better make some good movies for the money they spend if they expect to compete with the new elite.

Why? Because twenty something years ago, a Hollywood hot shot let Mr. Lucas retain the merchandising rights to his Star Wars property. Lucas went from a wharehouse in Van Nuys to Marin County, where he slowly built an independent empire that grew to the point where it will allow San Francisco to establish itself as the king of the digital world and entertainment technolgies, displacing Hollywood.

The technologies that are currently being pioneered are tremendous. They are being tested and utilized as I write this. Innovations like digital film distribution which will elliminate the need for film processing and will allow anyone, major or minor production houses, the opportunity of distributing motion picture entertainment themselves by negotiating their own distribution deals directly with theaters. Movies shot on digital cameras, elliminating the need for celluloid altogether. Digital production which will completely free filmmakers from the need for on location shoots or building soundstage sets by creating a entirely digital environment that actors will be placed within.

In addition, companies like are preparing to offer motion picture entertainment for sale over the Internet by having trailers available for people to download and view as a sneak preview before they decide to buy.

Well informed friends are telling me that Hollywood agents are looking for the "new way" of producing animation without the traditional executive attached.

Yes, I can hear the words of evolution's love song whistling through the smog enshrouded palms - "adapt if you want to survive". Who will benefit the most from these changes? The public and independent producers, that's who.

Animation artists should be absolutely aware of these developments and the opportunities they will provide. This is the future. It's staring us right in the face.

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