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Listen: At SXSW, Jim Cummings on the Dangers of a Hollywood that Caters Exclusively to the Young Adult

Yesterday at SXSW, ornana producer Jim Cummings gave a 15 minute extrapolative talk on his Medium article, “We’re the Bad Guys.” In an impassioned plea for better popular content, Cummings explains how Hollywood has reduced their output to a derivative franchises, geared towards a young adult age bracket that are somehow consumed by mass demographics. There isn’t the symbiotic relationship between creator and audience that should, and often does, exist in independent film. His mini keynote is available online, and well worth listening to in full, but I’ve outlined a few of his points below.

  1. Traditional film advertising is obsolete, so the viewer has become a pawn in movie studio’s marketing schemes. You are 200 times more likely to go see a film if a friend of yours likes it on Facebook than if you see a billboard for it.
  2. Blockbusters are based off of young adult novels, but adults are still going to see them. Hollywood has stopped creating for a higher age bracket, so older generations are forced to regress to the tastes of their early teens.
  3. Do we need to be reviewing franchises like Madagascar? Won’t a parent take their children to see it regardless?
  4. Hollywood doesn’t care about movies or the content, they care about the toys and additional lucrative opportunities they spawn.
  5. Pointing towards the Russo brothers, who scored the Captain America 2 gig after You Me and Dupree, Cummings wagers: “If you’re looking to succeed in Hollywood, talent and quality have nothing to do with it.”
  6. Blame the people in charge, not a lack of American creativity.
  7. “Disguise great content as stuff that is popular.”
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