INTERVIEW WITH PETER DEKOM – PART 2

by Eric Sherman on September 29, 2011

We had an overwhelmingly positive response to the first part of the interview with Peter Dekom, entertainment attorney extraordinaire! Here’s Part 2.

DO PEOPLE STILL GO TO MOVIES BECAUSE OF AN ACTOR?

I think they have to fall in love with the character the actor’s playing. What you’re getting is people sitting in a movie theatre on opening day, texting their friends who are waiting outside as to whether or not the picture is worth seeing. Instant reviews! In fact, I think these “text reviews” blow all to hell the professional critics, especially for mass appeal movies. The audience doesn’t need light, nor even to see what their hands are doing, to send these text messages.

THERE’S BEEN A SHIFT IN THE WHOLE MOVIE-GOING PARADIGM. LOOK AT THE SUCCESS OF “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.” WHAT’S THE TIE-IN BETWEEN A MODESTLY-PRODUCED FILM LIKE THAT AND THE TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS SURROUNDING THE ENTIRE FILM INDUSTRY?

Anything that’s a cultural phenomenon has a technological development behind it. Think about storytellers sitting around a fire and…telling stories! The technology was fire! You cannot eschew the impact that technology has on art. So, regarding “mass appeal” art, you have to ask if a young audience today has the attention span to continue to embrace long-form entertainment? This is a BIG question that a lot of social thinkers are pondering.

In the 1960s, you didn’t have the

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“attention span” issue. An entertainment could be lyrical, emotional, a wonderful reality. But today, we’re time-impaired. Everything’s moving at warp speed. What you’ve got is really is an intolerance for “slow.” Something has to move, unless it’s so powerful that your emotions fill the moment. If your emotions fill the moment completely – suffering, crying, laughing, whatever – then that moment works BECAUSE you have filled it. It may be quiet time on the screen, but you’re filling it with emotional time in your heart.

Other than those extremely powerful experiences, younger audiences are looking for the “ride.” They’re looking for how quickly you get from point A to point B to point C, and what moves them forward. These would be the pivotal scenes that an audience member uses to describe the ride. “You’ve got to see this scene…it does A, B and C.” That’s a YouTube moment.

So, you’ve got the ride – that’s the kinetic energy of a movie. Then you’ve got the YouTube moments – those are the memory triggers.
Now we get to the traditional characters in a movie. But if you’re older, you want a good story with compelling characters first!
You know, the long pauses in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA made that movie work – but they wouldn’t today.

We’re approaching the world of technology and interactivity. Typically, when someone’s watching a screen today, it’s a computer screen or a mobile screen. You’re doing something to it. But if you have nothing, when you’re sitting there, it’s very hard for someone who’s used to doing something to wait for the next moment. That’s why you have freight trains disguised as movies!

[NOTE: if you haven’t read the 1st part of this interview, check it out at this link:
http://ericsherman.com/interview-with-peter-dekom-part-1.html]

I hope you enjoy this!

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