E-Mail Of The Day

From: Matthew Milam
Subject: Poker

As someone that works in the movie business, this email hit close to home.  I often wonder why TV has eclipsed movies in terms of great content and you basically lay it out in the below email.

In the 80s, you had 15 – 20 movie studios each putting out 20 pictures a year.  When you need to produce 400 films, you’ve sometimes just got to give a kid 10 million bucks and tell him to come back with something great.  At the same time, you had 3 (4 if you count Fox) TV networks who had to play it safe.  They were the only game in town and they were putting out content that had to attract advertisers.

Cut to 2013 and the roles have been flipped.  You’ve got 10 studios each putting out a diminishing number of pictures every year.  They’ve got to play it safe because they’re taking fewer bites at the apple.  Innovation has ceased in the pursuit of the sure dollar – an oxymoron if there ever was one.

Then, in TV, you’ve got God knows how many channels all clamoring for content.  A day doesn’t pass where you don’t hear about some network jumping into the scripted TV game.

THEY NEED CONTENT!  It’s amazing because they’ll give anyone the cash to do it just to try to put something on screen.  I know you hate the show, but look at the model of what FX did for Louis CK.  That’s how you get innovation – give talented people money and let them do their thing.  Don’t dictate.  There isn’t a formula, at least not one that’s going to stay fresh.

If you want eyeballs, let people press the envelope and try crazy, scary shit.

Matthew Milam

Skydance Productions
Los Angeles, CA



Read the article “Can We Please Stop Talking About TV” in today’s “Wall Street Journal”

Forget the snark, it’s just utterly fascinating that in my lifetime television has evolved from a vast wasteland to the go-to storytelling medium. It’s all about chances and innovation, something sorely lacking in the music business. Oh, everybody gets a chance, but there’s very little innovation. I love Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” but it’s so reminiscent of the seventies I expect the Hues Corporation to come on next. Unfortunately, music is mature, and nobody involved will admit it. Jazz was a breakthrough. Rock and roll was a breakthrough. Hip-hop was a breakthrough. And now all we’ve got is imitation and wannabe music. Except for electronic music. Like the foregoing breakthroughs, it’s divisive. Younger people not wed to past forms embrace it. It doesn’t fit the previous model, one based on airplay and record sales. And that’s one of the main reasons EDM is burgeoning.

At some point in the future, the slate will be wiped clean and music will return. But that could be decades. The baby boomers have to die, the major labels have to fade, we need artists and businessmen employing their own money who are first and foremost following their own passion. Then again, that’s one thing EDM delivers today, it’s just like rock and roll in that the attendance is staggering and so are the paydays. The way out is risk, but corporations, which run the music business, abhor risk. Hell, they’ve got stockholders and quarterly reports and their employees all have bonuses tied to results. And what makes me scratch my head is the desire of young people to hook up with these dinosaurs. It illustrates to me you’ve got no shame, you’re as decrepit and soulless and averse to change as your grandparents.

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