Greetings, from behind the "Tinseltown Curtain!" This is a series about life in the media capital of the world, Hollywould'vecould'veshould've. Today's no different from most, I just came out of a meeting with some entertainment executives on how to program to the new American cultural and demographic shift. A woman who I hope to meet someday, named Virginia Tooper once said, "When the mouth is open with laughter, that's the best time to insert food for thought." As I live by her words, I decided the first slide of my power point presentation should be comedic, yet poignant. My slide read, "America Has Changed... If You Don't Believe Me, Ask Mitt Romney." It had data on how Latino, Blacks and Asians in the top American population centers where a "majority" of revenue is generated, are over 65 percent (a super majority) of everyone under 30 years old. The data validated how this new "Cross Cultural General Market" is the financial driver for any brand (including the movie industry) to have success. I closed by stating, "Continuing to ignore the massive change in the market, is the equivalent of someone telling you, 'Your house is on fire!' and you responding 'Don't bother me, I'm watching a movie.'" The response in the room... crickets. Oh well, I thought it was funny and poignant, Virginia would have still been proud.
As I leave the meeting, outside I notice a billboard for a new movie called Jack The Giant Slayer. "Jack And The Beanstalk?" Really? I live in the creative and intellectual property capital of the world and that's the best that we can do? I have never been shy about advocating the need for movies and television to expand beyond the singular story that Hollywood has become, but this was a bit much.
Then I realized, this wasn't the first time in the past few years that Hollywood decided to make a movie about a fairy tale, but was actually the fourth. Previous literary and cinematic innovations included Snow White And The Huntsman, Red Riding Hood, Beware The Wolf, and of course my favorite Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters, which was even rated R! I'm guessing, "Humpty Dumpty Rises, Return Of The Egg" and "Hangover 4 featuring The Three Billy Goats Gruff," must currently be in development. Can you imagine if Hollywood ever did Goldilocks and the Three Bears? I'm guessing they would figure out some justification to cast the brown or black bears as white polar bears.
Collectively the above three movies (not counting Jack) cost over a quarter of a billion dollars. In two years, the studios have invested more in these films, than probably the history of films that could resonate specifically with a Latino audience. Yet a common statement in this town is that Latinos don't go see stories about them! To date this statement holds some truths, but needs slight modification, "Latinos won't go see "Bad" movies about them." My father, who was poor and had a 6th grade education, was even wise enough to know, as he often groused, "It takes money, to make money."
Oh well, as they say, "If you can't beat em', join em'. I have decided to write a pitch for a new fairy tale movie, that I want Hollywood to make. Let me know what you think.
Once upon a time, there was a very curious executive. One day he decided to go on an adventure in the kingdom known as La La Land. He dared to travel out of his comfort zone to the forbidden north, far beyond Ventura Boulevard, all the way to the San Fernando Valley. "Yay, though I walk through the Valley of the shadow of multi-culturalism, I shall fear no differences," he thought to himself. As he journeyed into the valley, he saw colors and heard sounds and stories that were very different from what he had ever experienced before. But they were wonderful and refreshing. Suddenly his eyes grew wide like the cappuccino saucers at Spago's, when he spotted a sleeping giant. It was huge! And more importantly it was lying on a pile of gold, worth over one trillion dollars. He drew a deep breath and then carefully tapped the giant on the shoulder. The executive trembled with fear, but the giant smiled and looked down at him and said, "Thanks for waking me, I have waited a long time, muchas gracias." The executive said he wanted to tell stories of the giant and this new land that he had discovered. The giant was very happy to hear this news. Then the executive asked if he could have the giant's gold. The giant smiled and said, "Yes, but not all of it. There will be plenty for you and plenty for me and we will all live happily ever after." Whadda' ya think? If they buy this, everyone that reads and shares this story is invited to the premier ☺