"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Million Dollar Movie

Steven Soderbergh on the state of the art:

I’ve stopped being embarrassed about being in the film business, I really have. I’m not spending my days trying to make a weapon that kills people more efficiently—it’s an interesting business. But again, taking the 30,000 foot view, maybe nothing’s wrong, and maybe my feeling that the studios are kind of like Detroit before the bailout is totally insupportable. I mean, I’m wrong a lot. I’m wrong so much, it doesn’t even raise my blood pressure anymore. [laughter] Maybe everything is just fine. …But. Admissions, this is the number of bodies that go through the turnstile, tenyears ago: 1.52 billion. Last year: 1.36 billion. That’s a ten and a half percent drop. Why are admissions dropping? Nobody knows, not even Nate Silver. [laughter] Probably a combination of things: ticket prices, maybe, a lot of competition for eyeballs. There’s a lot of good TV out there. Theft is a big problem. Now I know this is a really controversial subject, but for people who think everything on the internet should just be totally free all I can say is “good luck.” When you try to have a life and raise a family living off something that you create… There’s a great quote from Steve Jobs:

“From the earliest days of Apple I realized that we thrived when we created intellectual property. If people copied or stole our software we’d be out of business. If it weren’t protected there’d be no incentive for us to make new software or product designs. If protection of intellectual property begins to disappear creative companies will disappear or never get started. But there’s a simpler reason: it’s wrong to steal. It hurts other people, and it hurts your own character.”

I do think… [applause] I agree. I agree with him. I think that what people go to the movies for has changed since 9/11. I still think the country is in some form of PTSD aboutthat event, and that we haven’t really healed in any sort of complete way, and that people are, as a result, looking more toward escapist entertainment. And look—I get it. There’s a very good argument to be made that only somebody who has it really good would want to make a movie that makes you feel really bad. People are working longer hours for less money these days, and maybe when they get in a movie, they want a break. I get it.



1 bp1   ~  May 3, 2013 12:51 pm

Hey AB, have you checked out Owen King's book "Double Feature"? I got to reading it and thought of you seeing as how it is set in the world of movie making.

2 Alex Belth   ~  May 3, 2013 12:57 pm

No. Do tell. What's it all about?

3 bp1   ~  May 3, 2013 1:12 pm

A college age kid is making a movie. His father is a former B-movie star. Their relationship is a little strained (to say the least). The story revolves around the kid, his friends and actors in his movie, and his father - so far, at least. I'm not quite a quarter through it. The movie making stuff is a bit over my head, but the characters seem well constructed. I haven't quite gotten the comedy yet - maybe it just doesn't resonate with me who knows.

Owen is Stephen King's son, which is how I got wind of the book. I'm one of his dad's Constant Readers.

If anyone would get the insider-movie jargon - I thought it would be you.

4 Matt Blankman   ~  May 3, 2013 3:29 pm

I'm reading "Double Feature" as well. I'm digging it. Oddly enough, I ordered the book before I knew Owen was Stephen's son. Then when it arrived, I found out his editor is a friend of mine. Small world.

5 Matt Blankman   ~  May 3, 2013 3:33 pm

[3] I'm farther along than you, so I don't think I'm spoiling anything to say the book jumps around from different moments in the lives of the characters. The second half is mainly set in 2011, about 8 years after the movie-making section.

6 Alex Belth   ~  May 3, 2013 3:53 pm

Sounds cool. I've never read anything by Stephen King but that's only because I don't dig getting scared. For a someone who ascares ease, what would you recommend by him?

7 Matt Blankman   ~  May 3, 2013 5:43 pm

Nice piece here on Owen, his brother Joe, their new novels and being the son of famous writers.


8 bp1   ~  May 3, 2013 8:02 pm

[6] Not all of his books are horror. I thought 11/22/63 was a terrific book. It requires that you suspend disbelief about time travel, but if you can the book has a great story, terrific characters, and a sense of time and place that is pretty damn amazing. Really good stuff. I've always found his books to be more about people and place than freaky weird scary things. There was a period where some of his stuff was a little frenzied - during his drug and booze days - and he admits that - but I've yet to find anyone who can create living characters like he does. They talk and act like real people and he draws the reader into their world.

Sorry for the lecture. :-)

9 bp1   ~  May 3, 2013 8:10 pm

[7] Yeah that's cool. They seem pretty well adjusted all things considered. I can't imagine it is easy to build their own identify given their situation - but good for them for trying.

10 Matt Blankman   ~  May 3, 2013 8:12 pm

[8] I've read his short story collections, but I have actually never read a full Stephen King novel. I keep meaning to.

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