The Beginning Of The End
OP/ED By The Colonel
I don’t believe in American dreams. To me, they’re a mixture of wishful thinking, idiotic optimism and 1950’s anti-communism propaganda. So I don’t believe in them, but I know they have the strong potential to turn into nightmares; and that’s what’s happening all around us and in every aspect of our lives right now. For example think about Playboy crisis. For close to half a century, Playboy was the avatar, the resemblance, the symbol of sexual freedom, luxury living and lavish excess. “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero: seize the day and place no trust in tomorrow”. But then the inevitable happened: tomorrow came.
Today, Playboy is a punch line rather than an avatar, and all signs indicate a dark, gloomy future for the company who committed the greatest sin in the entertainment industry: losing touch with consumers and living in the past. The same sin that porn industry, knowingly or unknowingly, is committing. The same sin that Hollywood committed time and again. The difference is Hollywood eventually redeemed itself, reconnected with consumers and moved on, the question is will we do that, too, or will we wait until it’s too late?
Let’s take a closer look at one of Hollywood’s many deaths and resurrections as an example of how to find the right pattern, evolve and reconnect with the masses:
The 1970’s opened with Hollywood experiencing a financial depression. The earlier studio system had collapsed, all American charismatic movie stars like Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne and James Stewart were either dead or too old. On the other hand, the hippie movement, the civil rights movement, sexual revolution, the growth of rock and roll and drug use had deep impacts. It all paved way for a new generation of experimental film makers, nicknamed Movie Brats, who emerged in the late 60’s and at the beginning of the 70’s became a dominating, influential force: Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider), George Romero (Night of the Living Dead), Mike Nichols (The Graduate), etc.
Motion picture art seemed to flourish at the same time that the defeat in the Vietnam war, the Watergate scandal, President Nixon’s fall, increasing drug use and a growing energy crisis showed tremendous disillusion, a questioning politicized spirit among the public and a lack of faith in institutions; a comment upon the lunacy of war and the dark side of American dreams (showcased, for instance, in Three Days of the Condor directed by Sydney Pollack). However, this artistic flourish came with a grave cost for Hollywood studios: the increasing lack of profit. The movie industry was in its death bed and in desperate need for renovation and profitability; and finally two young film makers found the solution: 27 year old Steven Spielberg and 33 year old George Lucas who made Jaws and Star Wars respectively.
The key to their financial success was their ability to tap into the current mood, events and technology and elaborate their movies with bigger than life adventures and monsters and special effects and create an irresistible urge in consumers to rush to theaters. In other words, to make them an offer they can’t refuse. So once again movie making became a profitable business, and Hollywood started a new beginning.
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As I discussed in my previous article, we need to reconnect with consumers and provide them with something more and beyond what is currently available to them for free on file sharing and tube sites. We have to attract them and bring them back. Hollywood’s key to survival and longevity was creating grand adventures, humongous monsters and bombastic special effects; ours is interactivity and engaging consumers in the action through live shows, touring, etc. Despite the crippling economy, we have a unique opportunity provided for us by advanced technology and modern communication tools, and if we don’t take the best advantage of this opportunity, the porn industry as we know it will not and cannot exist. We’re at the beginning of the end. The opportunity is at hand, but time is running out.