The Future Of Film

April 11, 2023 at 8:05 am 2 comments

This is a talk that I gave at The Temple of Art and Music, Smithfield, on Thursday April 6th, 2023

I’m going to tell you about Dreambird, our revolutionary new online platform for film production. But first I’d like to give you a potted history of the film business to show you how we got here today.

Around the year 1900 films began to be made in Britain, France and the US. In the states, penny arcades or nickelodeons were stores where customers paid a penny or a nickel to look into a peep machine that showed them a short piece of moving pictures.

These store front sites later began to project 10 and 20 minute black and white silent shorts, and this became a thriving business.

1n 1912 a decisive moment came when Adolf Zukor, who co-owned a few of these store front cinemas, decided that the future of film lay in what he called features- 60-90 minute films -to be shown in theatres. Everyone thought this was foolish and wouldn’t work. To test his theory, Zukor bought the US rights to a long French film starring the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt and put it in a theatre on Broadway to fantastic results – it was a huge hit.

Now everyone jumped on the feature bandwagon, and Zukor set up Paramount Pictures, which became a studio to make films, had a distribution arm to send them around the world and theatres to show them in. This was the vertically organised structure that all the famous Hollywood studios copied- MGM, Universal, Warner Brothers, Columbia and Fox. These major companies dominated the industry and they staffed their companies with actors, writers directors and producers to make a slate of films to play every week in cinemas. Film became the 5th largest industry in the US.

The first World War destroyed European production so US made films dominated the world.

In 1927 sound was introduced and in 1939 colour made its debut. Except for a slight dip during the depression, the film industry in America was on an up ward curve.

Problems for the industry started 1n 1948 when the government forced the studios to divest themselves of their cinemas and in the 1950s Television began to take away their audience. The studios fought back with 3D, wide screen displays, epic productions and stereo sound but the end of the studio system was permanent.

Now independent companies, funded by the major distributors, who retained the sales rights, became more important.

Marshall McLuhan, a famous critic of media, made the point that it was the decline of the studio system and the advent of television, that created the art film. Television gave the audiences westerns, family drama and comedies, forcing the studios to make different productions. Gaining inspiration from European directors in the 1960s, American filmmakers like George Lucas and Francis Coppolla made better films in the last quarter of the 20th century.  

Studios also expanded into home viewing, with VHS and DVD, leading to Blockbuster stores, and a small DVD mail order service called Netflix.

The Covid lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 closed down cinemas and production and gave Netflix the chance to grow. These two years were financially the worst in cinema history – production shut down and distributors had no cinemas to supply so they had no income. This has had a strong knock-on effect to independent producers.

Almost all the majors now followed the Netflix model and set up streaming services of their own, fighting against themselves and television for paying audiences.

Cinemas have not yet returned to their pre-pandemic level, so there is a funding gap in film production. This has made it very hard for independent producers to fund their films, and once funded it is even harder to distribute them. If producers place their films on a streaming service, how will audiences even know they exist without promotion and marketing. Making a 2nd film becomes nearly impossible.

This is the serious problem Dreambird set out to solve.

So now we are in an age of streaming. Here is my view of what this means:

Most producers are now seeking funding from the streamers, but their economic model does not give producers any profit share. Producers have become hired guns, collecting handsome production fees but no profits.

Streamers also use algorithms to calculate which films have done well on their platforms, and they then make more of the same. This leads in my view to very unoriginal and poorer quality films and series. If producers know that they will be paid no matter how good the quality there is little incentive to create better productions.

The streamers gatekeepers also have a woke agenda, where the definition of a good film is a good issue. In these circumstances, entertaining films are not the norm, and audiences who are generally not woke, feel badly served by the streamers, searching for up to 30 minutes to find something they want to watch, and often not feeling satisfied.  

Someone said that the streamers seem to have a death wish. Can they survive making films that the majority of the audience don’t want to watch? We believe that the current state of cinema is slowly crumbling away.

So Dreambird has re-imagined the film industry and is going to build a new eco-system. In our system, creators such as writers, directors and producers are put in touch with fans, fansumers and prosumers. Together, they can communicate, collaborate, fund, create, market and distribute films they all want to make and view. Dreambird will have its own streaming service, open to all producers without gatekeepers.

This is a combination of a social media site, a streaming platform and a marketplace all in one location. Engagement and interactivity will be easy. In fact, we intend to make the first completely interactive film ever made.

We believe that Dreambird can rejuvenate the independent film sector. There will be a virtual film studio on the platform and films made and streamed on the platform can be sold to cinemas, TV, and other streamers.

New entrants to the film industry, who find it so difficult to get skills and employment, will be able to join the platform and find collaborators and mentors. Investors will be able to join the platform to get an early look at projects that are gaining traction with audiences.

Smart contracts via blockchain will protect peoples investments and producers are able to keep a large share of the profits of their films, in some cases up to 85%.

Dreambird aims to create trust in the platform and will not sell data or allow targeted advertising. Instead we plan to build a unique community that will en gender a tsunami of creativity.  

Dreambird is the future of cinema.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ely Shemer  |  April 14, 2023 at 11:26 am

    Nice one!.
    This is what I see in your post
    Great article! It’s interesting to see the history of the film industry and how it has evolved over time. I’m curious to know how Dreambird plans to reach out to potential producers and collaborators and how it plans to differentiate itself from other streaming platforms. Will Dreambird market itself solely as a platform for independent films or will it also feature big-budget productions?
    Thanks, Ely Shemer

    • 2. markforstater  |  April 14, 2023 at 2:25 pm

      Hi Ely, Dreambird has a marketing plan to
      Attract creatives and audiences to provide a marketplace for funding and streaming all kinds of films – shorts and features – high and low budget. If a producer wants to join the platform to stream a finished film he or she can set a price point and collect 85% of the revenue : dreambird is also creating a virtual film studio as well as AI tools for production . It will be a unique creative hub for collaboration . Regards Mark


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