Exciting, enlightening, informative, and educational. That is my description of the MCA-I meeting that was held at Post Modern on October 18th. For those of you who have wondered about the changing face of technology and how the digital age is affecting the way business is done in our industry, Philip Hodgetts, our speaker for the evening, gave an excellent presentation on the subject. You had to be there!          

There was a lot of lively conversation and networking going on before the meeting began.  It was great to see familiar faces such as Marc Alexander as well as faces we had not seen in a while like Bill O’Neill and John McMahon. And we met some new people such as Eloy Quintana and David Florido.  We hope to see you again!

President John Coleman opened the meeting with a very brief announcement, reminding all of us that the November meeting would be conducted by a panel of independent film makers. Then he introduced our guest, Philip Hodgetts, technologist and journalist in the field of digital production.

Philip has spoken for many NAB conferences, and also has spoken on many radio programs, talking about digital and theatrical distribution, seeing changing patterns in our industry. He began the web site, Digital production buzz.com where you can find numerous articles about what he calls the expanding media universe and expanding production opportunities.

Hodgetts pointed out that since the onset of digital distribution, the cost of producing a film has dropped dramatically. Philip says that we are moving rapidly into the digital era, and the middle man needs to educate himself on the changing face of the industry.  An industry displaced by new technology has to re-invent itself or eventually face extinction.Tthere is no need for independent production companies to panic at this point, but that things are changing rapidly.  Here are a few of the important points Philip made:

Quoting George Lucas "For the same budget as a single major movie, "I can make 50-60 two-hour movies," he stressed." Lucas thinks that movie download services like iTunes are the future for moving picture entertainment distribution. He sees 'quantity' as the secret for future success.

Digital distribution means there is unlimited inventory and unlimited stock. In an expanding media universe there is no limit on the number of channels, because the traditional limitation of network or channel programmer simply won't exist.

Production will be impacted: There will be More production because of lower cost of production / Lower cost of digital distribution.  But the middleman will be out of business –Disintermediation.  Producers will distribute their own material and sell directly to their audiences: Finding Audiences: Social Networks, recommendation engines and filters.
More and more The Viewer is in Control.  All this requires New Financial models.

Content won’t look the same.  The 30 minute and 60 minute structure for TV is meaningless for cell phone and even web distribution.  Programming will be shorter and more fragmented. 

Pricing will be a new world. OF you pay $60 a month for satellite or digital cable with 24-7 programming for 30 days why would you pay more than 10 cents for an individual program?  New systems will be developed to handle micro-billing needed by the new paradigm.

Matt Baer of Rogue Scout Productions recorded a podcast of the meeting.  The October MCAI meeting was definitely a learning event that was enjoyed by everyone.

--Submitted by Tina Wilson, MCA-I/OC Secretary.