New Year’s Resolutions for Media Industries
Annals of Creativity
We will work at the margins and the edges. Change never starts in the center, nor does it come from established players. Change starts at the outside and works inward. Then it becomes established and needs to change again.
We will stop thinking in terms of devices. A screen is a screen is a screen. We will start thinking in terms of transactions: Is our content free? Is it for sale? Is it for rent? That’s all that matters.
We will stop complaining that “nobody understands how to monetize digital media.” Of course we do; we’re already doing it. It’s just that the dollars will be lower, which will be balanced by more people having access to our work.
We won’t whine about how things used to be better. They weren’t, and it makes us look old. We won’t crow about how much better things are today. They aren’t better either, just different.
We will hold fast to our relationships. We can’t take our money or possessions with us, but our relationships will outlive us.
We will be truthful, because our audience wants truth, as do the artists with whom we work.
We will stop using complicated words to describe the world. We will say “How things look” instead of “optics.” We will say “direct” instead of “disintermediated.”
We will stop using the word “silos” and name them for what they are: corporate territorial ego-games. We will remember that our audience does not think in silos: they think in terms of the work. Their unit of transaction is not “a PPV” or “a download”—in the audience’s mind, the unit of transaction is the creative work itself.
We will upgrade our software.
We will become long-distance friends with the people to whom we have outsourced our work.
We will be fearless about expressing our opinions, because unless some people disagree with us, other cannot agree with us. But we will be kind, and remember we may be wrong.
We’ll acknowledge that dollars are important, but that dollars and aesthetics are not the same thing.
We’ll stop being arrogant about who the audience is and what they want. We’ll talk to them and let them tell us, and maybe we’ll buy ‘em a couple of beers. We may find ourselves surprised.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Adam Leipzig is the founder and CEO of MediaU, online career acceleration. MediaU opens the doors of access for content creation, filmmaking and television. Adam, Cultural Daily’s founder and publisher, has worked with more than 10,000 creatives in film, theatre, television, music, dance, poetry, literature, performance, photography, and design. He has been a producer, distributor or supervising executive on more than 30 films that have disrupted expectations, including A Plastic Ocean, March of the Penguins, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Dead Poets Society, Titus and A Plastic Ocean. His movies have won or been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, 11 BAFTA Awards, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmys, 2 Directors Guild Awards, 4 Sundance Awards and 4 Independent Spirit Awards. Adam teaches at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. Adam began his career in theatre; he was the first professional dramaturg in the United States outside of New York City, and he was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Theatre Center, where he produced more than 300 plays, music, dance, and other events. Adam is CEO of Entertainment Media Partners, a company that navigates creative entrepreneurs through the Hollywood system and beyond, and a keynote speaker. Adam is the former president of National Geographic Films and senior Walt Disney Studios executive. He has also served in senior capacities at CreativeFuture, a non-profit organization that advocates for the creative community. Adam is is the author of ‘Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers ’ and co-author of the all-in-one resource for college students and emerging filmmakers 'Filmmaking in Action: Your Guide to the Skills and Craft' (Macmillan). (Photo by Jordan Ancel)