So what exactly is Hollywood?
Sure, it’s a district within the City of Los Angeles, with its own ‘Honorary Mayor’, the Walk of Fame and other lovely sights. But in terms of the entertainment industry, ‘Hollywood’ refers to a certain type of product: big budget, big stars and big paydays; blockbusters generally aimed at the cineplex masses and massive DVD roll-outs.
In most cases, “Hollywood” pictures are financed by the major studios, or through media conglomerates with extraordinarily deep pockets. Some “Hollywood” projects have nothing to do with Los Angeles, California, or even the good ‘ol USA. There are a number of so-called ‘A-Listers’ that live in New York City and Austin and London , and they make big films with big studio money and big movie stars, yet never set foot on a movie lot out west.
On the other hand, there are hundreds (thousands?) of independent producers working in the greater LA area, scraping together budgets and hoping for that big ‘Blair Witch’ miracle. Most of these, it’s safe to say, would love to work on ‘Hollywood’ pictures in any capacity, but jobs are scarce, and the area saturated with gypsies, hustlers and buggerers.
I’ve worked on roughly twenty ‘Hollywood’ pictures, in capacities ranging from PA to grip to stunt performer. I even acted in a few big-budget shows early on, but we don’t discuss that around these parts. Of all of these, none were shot in LA. In fact, I’ve been to LA roughly half a dozen times, and during my first visit there, broke my nose on the bottom of a pool within ten minutes of arrival. Sweet.
My professional home has been Manhattan since 1991. I lived there for a decade, and still keep a small office (closet, really) in Midtown. I spend most of my time in a small college town near Washington, DC, and love every minute of it. Yet, I’m still considered a ‘Hollywood guy’ because of my experience and access to resources, talent and distribution. I’ve done one Hollywood picture in the past ten years, yet, the tag sticks.
Finally, technology is growing at a rapid rate, and distribution models are changing every day. Filmmakers are finding new ways to distribute product on their own , and are relying less on the big Hollywood distributors to stay alive. The real players of the next century will be those that harness technology and deliver the product to the masses in new and exciting ways. Sure, some of this will happen in LA, but you’ll see emerging markets in Seattle, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Punjab and beyond. And they will loosen Hollywood’s grip on things substantially.
There will always be a vibrant showbiz community in Los Angeles…hell, the sun, restaurants and plastic surgeons are there. But as money starts flowing to other areas, so shall the crews, talent and projects.