Monday, 9 December 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1097: We Have A Question...

Hello everyone, glad you could make it.

Sorry for the light blogging lately, a mix of slow news, Christmas duties & extreme sloth on my part.

Anyhoo… we have a question.
The author composing his answer

The question came up in reference to a piece someone did on the decline of movie poster art, and I mentioned that a lot of fan-made poster art was much more interesting than the professional graphics coming from the studios, who seem scared of doing anything more than just showing you the reason the movie got made.* 

That inspired this question:

Nate Winchester-  
Why can't studios utilize fans better?  Like getting fans to make better posters for the movie?  There's a lot of work out there being done for beloved properties that the studios could probably get for a song (win a contest, get your name in lights!) yet they don't bother with it.  Purely cliquish behavior or something more?

It's a bit of cliquish behaviour, but there is something more to it all. Let's break it down into easily edible chunks.

1. UNIONS: Most jobs in Hollywood are covered and regulated by various guilds, unions, and associations. Many are closed shops that required you to have qualified credits to become a member, but you can't get qualified credits without membership. Something that might result in someone who isn't already in the industry having the precious "in" to enter the industry without them making the final decision is simply not done. They have to protect their membership and their jobs.

2. WORK: Sorting through all the fan-made submissions, past the rip offs, the ones made from the artist's own faeces, the ones done in crayon, and the just plain bad ones, to find the real gems is a hell of a lot of work.

Everyone is Hollywood is way too busy to do that.

That's a fact because that's what they tell you. Time is money, and they don't have the time or the money, or the calories to burn doing that.

Then there's…

3. LEGAL: Let's imagine that you're doing a poster contest for fans of a specific franchise. Winner gets a nice cheque and their posters in theatres worldwide.

Fan A wins the grand prize. Hurray for Fan A, right?

Not if Fan B thinks that Fan A's work was a rip-off of his work.

It doesn't matter is Fan B's poster looked nothing like Fan A's because Fan B's lawyer has filed the $50 million lawsuit in Podunk County where juries are notorious for awarding fat judgements on behalf of the "little guy" whether they deserve it or not. This means that the studio has to either fight it, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and risk losing huge, or settle for hundreds of thousands of dollars to make Fan B go away.

Best to keep everything in house with people who are already in the industry and avoid that potential trap completely.


*Glamour shots of the movie's stars, shots of comic book heroes in dramatic poses, or the use of the same composition used in a dozen earlier posters.


  1. And so art continues to die because they're too afraid to risk it.

    So with the trend of losing art in posters, is it because the old guard are dying off and nobody's bringing in new blood? Or is it that they're all so lazy? I mean, busy!

  2. Nate - All of the above.