Friday News: Disrupting the book, Netflix & theaters, short films, and the world turns through GoT
Disrupting the book: Serialization, new formats, and AR – We continue to see stories evolve, including their format, and as Ja Ja Liao points out in this post, technologies continue to evolve. Tablets and dedicated e-readers were not the end of the road, nor are smartphones. And now we’re seeing more serialized fiction (again), apps like Hooked, and even 3D models and interactive books. All of which will probably continue to produce flurries of stories about how PRINT IS KING AND TRADITIONAL BOOKS ARE HERE TO STAY.
Can texting be literature? Hooked is betting that it is. The app is popular among teenagers and presents short stories (mainly thriller and horror) in the format of text conversations. Hooked has skyrocketed through the App Store charts and is perhaps the most well-known challenger of the reading and literature status quo today. Instead of reading blocks of text, the user reads sentences or fragments in a back-and-forth text conversation format between characters. Like other reading startups, Hooked’s business model is also currently a freemium business model.
As newer formats like Hooked’s texting stories come into play, they challenge the traditional definition of literature. Typically, each Hooked story has 4–5 segments of around 1000 words each, so the average Hooked story comes out at 4000–5000 words, akin to the length of a short story. As a reference, Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven is 1170 words, and O. Henry’s The Gift of Magi is 2163. – Venture Beat
Theater Group President: No, Netflix Isn’t Killing the Multiplex (Guest Column) – A potential challenge to the zero sum logic that often pervades the digital/print discussion in John Fithian’s column about how traditional movie theaters are actually thriving in the Netflix generation. He starts with a quote from 1955, which predicted that television would kill movies and then goes on to talk about the complex societal factors that affect entertainment choices (e.g. employment levels, recession) and the shifting fortunes of home entertainment options as compared to traditional moviegoing. It’s interesting to see these changes all across the entertainment landscape.
A weak economy and cheap home entertainment options have eroded theatrical admissions at the margins — people watching their pennies and already paying for cable and a video subscription service might take a pass on movies they don’t consider “must see” (while sometimes opting for a sure thing; admissions to $100 million-grossing movies have grown from 704 million in 2004 to 750 million in 2016 — up 6.5 percent). But continual investment and a sharp attention to evolving customer demands not only have seen movie theaters through tough times but also have allowed them to thrive. Box office has topped $10 billion domestically for seven straight years, $11 billion for two straight years, and set records in five of the past seven. The entertainment industry might be in the midst of disruption, but it’s not happening at the movie theater. – Hollywood Reporter
Are Short Films the Future of Young Hollywood? Josh Hutcherson Thinks So – And speaking of traditional films, they are apparently in transition, as well. Collaborative initiative The Big Script takes popular but unproduced scripts and makes them into short films, and one of its partners is Turkeyfoot Productions, of which Hunger Games actor John Hutcherson is a principal. One of his films is part of this year’s batch, as well, and it appears that the format is particularly appealing to a new generation of movie fans.
For Dawn Ostroff, the president of Conde Nast Entertainment, The Big Script isn’t just about finding new kinds of content to feature on the award-winning video platform—it’s about reaching out to new audiences. “You don’t always have the freedom to speak to a different generation when selling a film to a studio,” Ostroff, a veteran of The CW and Lifetime, said by phone on Wednesday. “You think about the generations who grew up, and there was everything from Sixteen Candles to Fast Times at Ridgemont High. There were so many different films made for a younger generation who would spend a lot of time in the movie theaters on the weekend. Where are those people migrating to? They’re migrating to these new platforms.” – Vanity Fair
A lot Has Happened Since ‘Game of Thrones’ First Aired – Petr Nava makes a pretty jaw-dropping list of many things that have happened in the world since “Game of Thrones” first aired in 2011. In the context of the other posts above, I found it an especially poignant list, because I think we often turn to entertainment for a more fixed sense of reality, especially during tumultuous times. As Nava puts it:
I guess it’s probably the turbulent times we’re living in. Making me yearn for the comfort of a fictional narrative of death and destruction and fire and unravelling, at the end of which I can turn the TV off, open the curtains and see birds chirping and life passing by reassuringly uneventfully as it has up until now.
Except it obviously hasn’t been doing that at all. Got me thinking though: Game of Thrones has been part of our lives now for quite some time. A lot of shit has happened since that stirring theme score first flooded from our screens on April 17, 2011. A lot of shit. – Pajiba