Ryan Seacrest smiled as he began the panel with this fastball: "What is the future of entertainment?" But the group of industry innovators jumped right in.
Director Kathryn Bigelow began by questioning entertainment's purpose in our lives:
Is it there to enable us to escape, or is it there to inform us? I think of film as a place where the news leaves off. As the news becomes more entertaining, I think film needs to become more informative.
Matt Weiner, creator of Mad Men, ruefully brought up the fact that people were consuming his show on their phones:
I didn't design my work to be seen on a phone... that's three years of my life, and you watch it sort of disappear in ten seconds while you're sweating [on the treadmill].
Music composer T. Bone Burnett deadpanned, "I think that machines will replace human intelligence, and we'll all be part of a Pavlovian focus group." Seacrest quipped, "Thank you all for coming, the bar is open."
Creative minds huddled together at Bing's "Future Of Entertainment" dialogue at the SoHo House in West Hollywood yesterday evening to discuss the future of the Entertainment Industry, fan/consumer interaction across changing media platforms, and sources of inspiration. KIIS FM radio host (and E! News anchor, and American Idol host, and...) Ryan Seacrest moderated the panel of gamechangers while Bing Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi provided topics and asked questions.
The panelists included Matt Weiner (creator of Mad Men), Kathryn Bigelow (director of The Hurt Locker), Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter), Todd Philips (director of The Hangover), musical composer T. Bone Burnett (O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack), Microsoft Game Vice President Phil Spencer, and Joseph Gordon Levitt (starred in 500 Days of Summer).
After paying the obligatory homage to classic Hollywood traditions of filmmaking, the panel didn't mince words about what they thought could be replaced. Joseph Gordon-Levitt admitted, "HD video doesn't look the same as film, and I love the way that film looks. But I'll tell you what, I love is being able to make something with just me and two other people" without having to worry about lighting and hitting marks.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone joined in: "It's very expensive. There seems to be a lot of, frankly, bloat and expense involved in shooting something like film." Hangover director Todd Philips added: "You don't need an uncle in the movie business now to make a movie - you can do it at home... the access that technology across the board is providing is just unprecedented."
Mad Men creator Matt Weiner ruffled a few feathers when he blasted multi-screen viewing with a rant about fans tweeting during his show:
The idea that you would want to write your own version of things while it's going on, or talk about it while it's going on, and have your iChat on this side [of the screen] and your porn on this side [of the screen] and the Mad Men in the middle, it's just like, 'don't watch it!' I'm going to come to your house and take away your TV!
Microsoft super-gamer Phil Spencer's reaction: "I guess there is a fundamental question of who the entertainment is for. Is it for the creator or for the people being entertained?"