What Do Movie Producers Do?

In a Nov. 3rd, 2011 post to Grantland.com, movie producer Rick Schwartz attempted to answer the question that almost everyone must have asked themselves at least once as a virtual army of producer credits marched across the screen before (and then after?) a Hollywood movie: "Who are all those people, and what the hell do they do?"

1 comment:

Jeff Gomez said...

From a transmedia perspective Randy:

I've said before that Marvel scores a perfect 10 in terms of its overall approach to transmedia storytelling, but the Netflix deal exceeds even my expectations. While Netflix will retain rights to the various shows themselves, I don't believe that the actual characters will be forced to remain exclusively on the network. This means that Marvel has negotiated the optimal way to introduce a set of unfamiliar or marginalized characters to the world, priming each of them for later appearances in their theatrical films or on network TV shows like Marvel's Agents of SHIELD.

It's almost surreal how any kid's fantasy of a fully integrated super hero universe that provides you with fresh content whether you're watching cable, going to the movies or clicking up Netflix, is now being realized. That's the very definition of a fully concerted, transmedia story world.

The strategy of building toward a Defenders superteam miniseries after introducing four separate superhero shows is genius, and I don't just mean in a geeky fanboy way (though it's that, too). In a way it is both a microcosm and the inverse of Marvel's strategy behind the movies. Build up each of your heroes, well known or not, then mash them together in a giant blowout against a common foe.

The unique spin here is that Netflix is offering the luxury of time and scope. We are focusing on a more down-to-Earth aspect of the Marvel story world in the Hell's Kitchen, New York City setting, but the canvas is far more sprawling, because we're being given dozens of hours to get to know these characters.

It's funny, Disney CEO Bob Iger recently said, "Netflix hasn't cornered the market yet" as an Internet TV provider, but this deal is certainly going to push them a few steps in that direction. But ultimately Disney wins, because Marvel wins. Netflix will not retain the rights to these characters the way that Sony does with Spider-Man or Fox does with the X-Men. Netflix is simply a super-accessible launch platform for them, and that's great for Marvel.

At the same time, Netflix will also benefit tremendously. What superhero fan wouldn't sign up for Netflix with these shows right around the corner? Netflix will be on Xbox and PlayStation, including their next generations. Signing up is a snap, and everyone will want to stick around right through Defenders, even if they're not crazy about one of the interim shows. Truly this is the financial realization of transmedia's potential.

Randy Finch's Film Blog:

Thoughts from a film producer about making and distributing films.