Future Of Film - post 1
The New Creative Revolution in Filmmaking
The first wave of disruption was in distribution. Now the transformation is taking place in production… and it’s going to be incredible for creators.
It’s hard to believe but it wasn’t that long ago when DVDs were being posted through our letterboxes. I actually used to find it quite exciting getting that envelope through the door (sad I know!) but that kind of physical delivery now seems archaic and absurd.
On-demand entertainment is of course now the norm and we’ve become used to not just this but the sheer volume of content at our fingertips; myriad boxsets and high quality shows made available in dizzying numbers. Audiences have never had so much choice but how film fits into this mix is still uncertain. When you add into the mix UGC, games (a bigger industry than TV and Music combined!), E-Sports and Immersive all vying for our entertainment attention and £s, it becomes even less clear how to succeed in the business of filmmaking.
But now a second wave of disruption is coming, this time on the production side. And it has the potential to be equally transformative. Crucially, this disruption offers new models for how the business of filmmaking can thrive in the new media landscape.
If the overarching trend in media distribution is fragmentation, the new revolution in production is paradoxically more about convergence. Technologies and creative skillsets across different disciplines are now converging. Much of this is driven by the revolution in real-time filmmaking.
Unreal Engine (who by the way are a sponsor of [Future of Film] Summit) are chief among these realtime game platforms now being used in films and TV. Unreal and others are creating massive efficiencies in the production process powering an emerging suite of ‘virtual production’ tools including virtual scouting and cinematography. Amazing as these innovations are, however, the real revolutionary power of realtime is in how the technology transforms the creative and working process of filmmaking - to something almost unrecognisable from the film workflow of old and radically more collaborative.
Another transformational impact is that when film is captured on a game engine, it can be easily reformatted to other media such as immersive and games. Immediately, new possibilities arise for how a future-proofed production company might operate in the expanding media-verse. This is especially relevant with the emergence of interactive filmmaking that Black Mirror: Bandersnatch suggested could become an entirely new form of lean back/lean forward storytelling.
Another transformational shift is also happening as a result of the massive media fragmentation and associated challenge of 'cutting through' in today's Attention Economy. With ads offering diminishing returns, brands are increasingly turning to storytellers to find more effective and authentic ways to connect with their audience. Brand-funded filmmaking is not a new phenomenon but it has been gaining unprecedented levels of traction recently, as brands and filmmakers realise they can achieve their commercial and creative goals in partnership.
All of these phenomena have the potential to be transformational to the production process and offer pathways for filmmakers and businesses to establish future-proofed practices. The other characteristic they share is their massive potential to empower the creator - particular real time filmmaking which radically democratises the creative process.
Sharing these opportunities and pushing them forward is the driving mission behind [Future of Film] Summit.
If you want to discover how to incorporate these shifts into your work or business then join us on 26th November at BFI Southbank in shaping the future of film.
As author William Gibson famously put it, 'the future is already here — it's just not evenly distributed'.