Mind the (converging) gap...
The creative and business elements between TV and film appear to be growing ever closer.
Who could have predicted 10 years ago, or even five, that an A-list film director such as David Fincher would be helming a drama series starring Kevin Spacey for an internet-only service? And the resulting project - House of Cards - attracting more attention than most films or traditional TV shows receive?
That’s just one sign of the changing times, in a media world where Mad Men, Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and Girls are just as lauded as auteur work on the big screen. For further evidence that the snobbery about TV is being erased from the film world, the highly artistic International Film Festival Rotterdam this year included a programme of TV works; and Sundance and Berlin both screened Jane Campion’s New Zealand TV series Top of the Lake.
I was talking to Warp Films’ Mark Herbert this month about when that company moved into TV with Shane Meadows’ This is England TV show following his same-titled 2006 feature film. Herbert noted that TV in recent years has started to take up more attention in the Warp office among staffers, as well as in meetings with talent, who are happy to move between TV and film.
It’s also a financial consideration to work across both - TV projects can often be greenlit with financing from one or two companies, as opposed to the complicated patchwork of international film co-productions. And the regular income from TV can keep an indie production company buoyant when film financing can take years to piece together.
These are just a few reasons why Screen increasingly covers event-TV productions and other areas of overlap between the film and TV worlds - as content goes multi-platform, the old distinctions aren’t that important.
If you’re making quality stories that people want to see, does it matter if they were intended for the small screen or the big screen?
Those shifts in attitude are one challenge to exhibitors attending CinemaCon. They understandably want to protect the theatrical experience, and the economics of studio blockbusters necessitate they do, but nobody can afford to forget that consumers are also choosing to view on tablets, TV screens and even mobile phones.