Since the start of the writers strike, there’s been lots of hopeful talk about creating new companies that match Hollywood talent with Silicon Valley tech and money from…somewhere. Newest announcement: Writer Aaron Mendelsohn (“Air Bud”) wants to start his own company, and is looking for a mere $30 million to get it going. NewTeeVee has his pitch — lots of talk about community, technology, etc — and notes several other startups looking to do the same thing.
Do-it-yourself movies are an old notion, by the way. Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W Griffith formed United Artists in 1919 so they could make their own films and keep the profits. That didn’t work out, but some of Hollywood’s biggest successes have come from entertainers who bankrolled and controlled their own work: Think of George Lucas and “Star Wars”, or Mel Gibson and “The Passion Of Christ”.
In any case, we’re all for new, nimble media companies that use the Internet for distribution, but we’re still worried about the economics of Web video: We have yet to see a model where video creators can make enough money to quit their day jobs. And that’s for short, cheaply made stuff. The hurdle will be even higher for talent trying to create “real” movies and TV shows.
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