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The Mission Statement

The MEIM thesis project should have a mission statement. Here goes:

The NoGoYo MEIM Thesis believes the entertainment business thrives on quality content delivered in a convenient fashion for a reasonable cost. To this end, the NoGoYO MEIM Thesis will provide a business plan for an organization that will enable those in The Industry to better achieve those criteria.

So now we have an end result - a business plan. This plan actually exists as part of the larger manifesto of NoGoYo, that being to do academic work that will be useful beyond its life in the world of academia.

I currently see the greatest opportunity for a feasible application of digital technology in the realm of data processing. What data will be available to the entertainment industry and how can it best be utilized? This idea applies mostly to the development and marketing of a movie. Or, is there a way to better test a script or idea before it is executed? Audience testing occurs after the fact and utilizes only a small sample of people, usually in Los Angeles, New York, or maybe Chicago. Peoria is left out in the cold. What if a system can be developed that gets a better feel for a project. Barring what we'll call the PSYCHO effect (where there's a big surprise that requires the audience not know the secret for film to be successful), many scripts or ideas could be passed before a larger community. Could the ideas of a site like www.threadless.com be applied to films, wherein the community provides the ideas and creative capital? Yes, it is being done through YouTube and whatever Al Gore's website was, but maybe it could be melded more to be a mix of threadless and something like the Movie Stock Exchange. The idea is to find a better way to harness the crowd affect to determine the feasibility of a project before it begins.

As far as the thesis goes, I'm not sure it will be necessary to actually come up with this formula. All that is a needed is to come up with proof of concept and business plan. This can then be used to raise funding for a business.


The Beginnings of the Thesis

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great article for The New Yorker on neural networks and predicting box office returns. Let's take this as the starting point for a Master's thesis.

I guess you could say that, per the article's descriptions, I'm a Kamesian. I like to think we could find a formula that could predict a film's profitability within an acceptable margin of error. Sure, it would be off occasionally, sometimes way off, but those discrepencies can only make the formula more accurate over time.

In terms of a thesis, though, I'm not sure it's enough to just study the idea of a formula to predict film profitability. The next step could be to actually develop my own formula to accurately predict a film's profitability.

A third option would be to consider other options for such a formula. What other applications are there for the entertainment industry for these formulas? Or, from another angle, what results will such information have on the film business? Could such formulas result in better films or a decrease in film variety?

In a larger sense, the thesis could be more about the coming changes that digital technology will bring in general. What will be the result of our access to more and more data and our ability to process this data in more powerful ways? What changes will occur and how will filmmakers and film distributors be affected by these changes? What opportunities will be created by these changes and what jobs will be eliminated?

The next few weeks will be spent refining the problem to be addressed by my thesis.


What matters most in the business


These aren't my words - they came from the mouth of some one with far more experience than I. I'm sure he'd argue the same order applies to movies, telvesion, video games - whatever. The business of any of these fields is the same as any other business, only the terms are changed. "A buying a used car could be called a negative pick-up . . . you buy the car, you pick it up!"


How an agent became an agent in 4 years

1. Start meeting everyone. Learn their names. Know their names. Remember their names.
2. Always balance TV and Features. Know how deals work in both.
3. The assistants know what is going on - network with them.
4. Know what agent at your agency does what.
5. Know why people are calling you before they tell you they're calling you.
6. Be able to answer for your boss.
7. Know the players.
8. You're boss is your client - take care of his/her needs.


The Details are Everything

The receptionist calls the office and says "Office, Mr. Client is here."

Super powerful agent says "Kid, go get the client!"

Kid goes to the reception area. There is the client and his entourage. Kid says "Mr. Client, Miss So-and-so, Mr. Such-and-such, please come with me."

As the kid turns the corner, there is fire in the eye of the agent.

What did the kid do wrong?