A word to Hollywood : In Recessionary Times, Smaller, Better Films, Please

Published on by The Inquirer

John Farr

Speculation abounds as to how various industries will weather and adapt to this deepening recession. The financial industry remains under a magnifying glass, as the word "bonus" gets swiftly erased from our collective lexicon. In the manufacturing realm, pundits speculate on how soon the big three auto manufacturers may dwindle down to two.In the media arena, print seems to be going the way of the dodo. As to television, the New York Times wonders whether network television is becoming irrelevant as tough economic times increasingly force them to offer little more than news, award shows, and reality-based dreck. That nimble upstart known as cable television now represents the pre-eminent source for original programming. Bill Paley must be spinning.But what about the movie business? Given the old studio bosses' success in adapting to the Great Depression, and the integral role movies played in the lives of struggling Americans desperate for escape, one would now expect more scrutiny on this industry that has contentedly wallowed in its own excesses for so long.I'm happy to lead off. Very often bad times offer silver linings, forcing both individuals and businesses to re-assess their strategies in light of new conditions, and in effect, reinvent themselves. Hollywood should seize this opportunity, and fast.My first piece of free advice: make smaller, better films, and more of them. Easier said than done, I know, but why not try? Why is bigger so often thought to be better?

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