Hollywood “Clicks” on the Works of Internet Filmmakers
Even when David Lehre’s “MySpace: The Movie,” an 11-minute parody of the “uber-popular” social-networking website, triggered a high-profile feeding frenzy, some of the Hollywood agents, managers and lawyers who were clamoring to represent him knew hardly anything about who he was, what he did or even what they would do if they managed to land him. But they wanted him anyway.
An article by John Clark in the New York Times reported that David Lehre’s manager observed:
“It’s their fear of not being a part of it,” said Scott Vener, Mr. Lehre’s manager, who first discovered him on the video-sharing Web site YouTube, where “MySpace” became an Internet phenomenon.
Their fears were justified in at least one respect. Calls about Mr. Lehre didn’t start really rolling in to Mr. Vener’s office in Beverly Hills until reports about “MySpace: The Movie” hand already begun to appear in the Mainstream Media, and talent agents don’t get rich chasing artists who are already being widely celebrated. If Mr. Lehre’s story proves to be a omen of things to come, agents will have to become highly internet literate, or else hire people who are.
Some people say that the film industry has more to fear than just being late to the party. As the internet begins generating films (as it already has), and is no longer limited to serving in its traditional role of simply marketing or delivering them, the major motion picture studios’ grip on the business of putting pictures on screens may be challenged. “MySpace: The Movie” debuted on YouTube on Jan. 31; since that time it has had millions of hits (now, more than 7,000,000), enough viewers to rival big-budget films or TV shows. This development and distribution process makes even independent films, with their retinue of maxed-out credit cards and frenzied film festivals, look positively mainstream in comparison.
Recently, Carson Daly Productions signed Brooke Brodack, a 20-year-old receptionist who lives in Massachusetts, to a production deal after her video diaries, comic shorts and music parodies attracted a wide following on YouTube. Mike Rizzo, an agent with International Creative Management (ICM), which represents Mr. Lehre, said that even established comedians are taking a hard look now at what’s available on the internet.
In addition to a television contract, Mr. Lehre has a film deal in the works with Fox , Mr. Vener said. What makes the internet so attractive as a creative medium for new filmmakers is that there are no gatekeepers, managers, agents, studio executives, or film-festival programmers to get past. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has already purchased MySpace in order to get in on the action, and other media businesses are aligning themselves with popular websites.
This recent development in the increased popularity of internet filmakers parallels the current success of bloggers having their writings published as books, which have gone on to achieve notable popularity within the general reading public. One outstanding example of this is Glenn Reynold’s book, An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower the Little Guy to beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths. Mr. Reynold, who is a faculty member at the University of Tennessee, is the blogger responsible for one of the internet’s most popular, widely-read blogs, InstaPundit.com.
Link to the original YouTube version: MySpace: The Movie
Link to a clearer version on Lehre’s website: MySpace: The Movie
The Official 2006 Et Cetera David Lehre Movie Festival
Link To A New Film (Spoof on HBO’s Entourage): Vendetta Entourage
Link To: MySpace: The Movie
Link To : The Happy Chef
Link To: Punk’d: Enrique
Link To: Cruel Streets
Link To: Cyborg Zombies
Link To: The Matrix Scrubber
Link To: Disease Island
TV Interview With Lehre (Not A Shy Guy): TV Interview with Lehre