Wednesday, November 4, 2009

60 Minutes Exposes the Soft-Focused World of Video Pirates

From a consumer standpoint, I've never really got the whole pirate DVD thing...just about every bootleg video I've ever seen looks and sounds like doody and didn't even come close to the real movie or even DVD experience. How anyone can sit through people munching popcorn and talking in the background over fuzzy-focused shaky images and crappy audio is beyond me.

As a filmmaker, of course I hate it. It affects us even as indies by sucking away money from studios that might've otherwise gone to help keep Studio indie divisions afloat longer. It also ultimately makes the studios more financially risk-averse which means less indies will even get a shot at financing and distribution and we'll keep seeing more and more mega-franchise films and sequels.

And from what I've observed, even if a film is an indie and it's a hit, it will be bootlegged just as quick as "Wolverine" or "Batman" taking away the few precious dollars that may have trickled back into the fimmaker's and investors' pockets. On top of all that, it's not just small-time crooks and street hustlers anymore, organized crime and terrorists networks worldwide are now getting in on this easy money. So the implications are more than just some already rich people in Hollywood complaining about being ripped off...the problem runs much deeper than many realize.

On the flip side, I think that the studios need to seriously rethink their domestic/international platform release model as well as their continued insistence on a long window between theatrical and DVD release dates. That model worked before the digital age, but just like the record companies, the Studios are going to have to evolve and find a way to change with the times or be run over by progress. The people want their movies now, and the studios best figure out a way to give it to them, or they WILL find a way to get what they want...even if it's a crappy illegal half-assed video fake.

No industry or individual has ever succeeded with a strategy of trying to cling to the past way of business and impede the inevitable changes in technology and consumer-demand. The digital age is scary. It is a new ball game. Our industry has to learn the new rules and keep playing or sit on the sidelines while the new kids take control of the field.

60 minutes ran a good story Saturday outlining the whole pirate DVD issue. What do YOU think...


1 comment:

chip brandstetter said...

You're absolutely correct. As a filmmaker I feel literal outrage when I see people passing around bootlegs, sometimes free, sometimes "for just five bucks". Just because Hollywood is laden with greed and short sightedness in terms of digital technology is NO reason THEFT should be condoned.