But there we are, driving this content around the world. And it's in the
digital world we've invented much of the software that can deliver this over
enhanced bandwidth. The greater the bandwidth, the more easy it is to
disseminate video on demand, which I think will be the driving force of
There are those who expect, by 2005, revenues from video on demand to be
upwards of $2 billion, and I think that's probably conservative. So the more
bandwidth there is, the more you can disseminate movies. If you're carrying a
tiny PDA, the first thing you can do after you've got sports scores, if you're
a kid, is watch a movie on a bus or a train or hopefully in the back of a car,
not the front. ... You'll be able to show on the back of a wristwatch, I
And the movie is fundamentally at the heart of all that, because the movie
still brings everybody together. And the American movie, in part because
America's a melting pot, the cultural hodgepodge that America makes, generates
movies that have appeal across all international boundaries. And that's really
not true for most domestic film industries. It's no longer true of France and
Italy, less true than it used to be of the U.K. ... The movie is a
much-maligned art form, and a much-maligned form of entertainment. But it is
essentially American, and for all its warts, it's an astonishing achievement on
the part of the creative side of this country.
Do you think that with ever-expanding sources to put out film as a product,
it is affecting the types of movies that are made?
Once you get into the $100 million category, you do start hedging your bets.
You're going to rely on sound and spectacle, whether it's digital effects,
computer graphics, whatever, in order to embrace a bigger and bigger audience
and to go after kids that are the core of your audience. You can't afford to do
many of those, because the risks are fairly substantial. But they also tend to
be the movies that, because they don't have as much dialogue as you might
imagine, they're easily translatable to foreign countries and foreign
languages. They don't suffer from dubbing as much as a more sophisticated,
So those drive the engine of your studio. We're the only country that can
really afford them. We understand the process by which these spectacles are
created. But behind that, almost every studio has its classics section. It has
its low budget section, its $20 million pictures, its $30 million pictures. And
furthermore, now I think for the first time, you're seeing the studios reach
out to foreign countries to develop local theater, local movies in a way that
it broadens their appeal.
I think if somebody had said to you that "Crouching Tiger" would do $125
million in the U.S. box office, they would have died laughing. ... It's in
Mandarin Chinese and it's subtitled. They would have said, "Not a chance." But
there's an element in there that says that if America can cross international
boundaries and share in the experience of building movies with broader appeal,
then it will become an even more multicultural, multinational event.
When countries like France and Italy do very narrow-focused provincial
subjects, they can create art certainly, but they can't create a large
audience. And I'm not suggesting, by the way, that a large audience is the only
criterion; it isn't. But you have to sort of know what you're doing. We do $2
million pictures and $3 million pictures, knowing that we can create a movie
for a sophisticated audience, but not expecting it to travel widely. But we're
learning more and more not to be parochial ourselves, and to be more global in
our outlook, and to understand that actually there's great talent overseas.
As we find that talent and develop it, I think you'll see other kinds of movies
reaching out to broader audiences in the way that "Crouching Tiger" did. Maybe
Japanese movies or Italian movies, and even Indian movies. The Indian movie
industry is a huge industry that's never crossed international boundaries very
You gave many examples of markets and places where films will be able to go.
Can you go back and describe those more? Where do you see the future of the
market of films going?
I think that it's twofold. Domestically, it's video on demand. I think there
will be huge audiences for movies that people want to see when they want to see
them. And they'll be able to download them on a multitude of devices at
convenient moments in convenient places. That's got to change the nature of
viewing. It doesn't mean people won't go to a theater, because the theater is
the shared experience, particularly for young people. ... But its afterlife
will mean that people will be able to watch it on small screens, medium-size
screens separately or together wherever they are, wherever they travel.
Then again, at the moment part of the problem of sending movies around the
world is that the prints are expensive, prints get scratches on them. By the
time a print gets to the outskirts of Cairo, the movie is like watching rain,
the pictures are smothered in lines. But when you're able to distribute a
digital picture via satellite directly to a digital projector, the movie will
be pristine no matter where it's shown and no matter the conditions, that's
going to develop the enthusiasm for movies in faraway places. A shed in rural
China in Szechuan somewhere, you should be able, perfectly easily, to download
a movie into the village hall and allow audiences to see it in relative
splendor, even if their chairs aren't especially comfortable. That becomes more
and more true worldwide, and that will be the power of digital delivery. And I
think that, again, will demonstrate, as we've demonstrated up to now, that the
power of a movie is ultimately transportable to all societies.
Do you think that, by films being more accessible to people all over the
world, that's going to encourage the people making the films to think of them
in terms of having a worldwide appeal?
Yes. The difficulty of thinking about a large audience is that if you think
commercial all the way, you'll never surprise yourself. So the quality of your
films is likely to suffer if commercial exploitation is the only thing that you
think about. Then you're into lowest common denominator. And we do, and we see
a lot of it. Some of it really works. Car chases and epics that involve battle
scenes from wall to wall have a place in the spectrum of moviemaking.
The question for everybody is, how do you make the story a thoughtful story,
appealing and imaginative without having to resort to every commercial trick in
the book? There's room for all kinds. There's always been. It's always taken
all shapes and sizes of movies to get to Oscars and get to the audience and get
to the critics, either all three or one of the three.
But I think if you're going to love movies, you are going to want to make
thoughtful movies as well as spirited movies and action movies and so forth.
That's probably where the international market has some great opportunity. We
knew that in the 1960s, for instance, the Italian cinema was enormously strong.
It was extremely imaginative with Fellini and Visconti and so forth. And
something happened to the Italian cinema as something happened to the French
cinema. Part of it was financial, part of it was national, part of it was the
way they deployed the funds for filmmaking.
But it did demonstrate that there's as much imagination for the art of the film
in those countries. And if there was, there can be. How we float that to the
surface so that artists in those countries bring their perspective to the art
of moviemaking is a challenge for all of us. Sometimes Hollywood is a small
town on the West Coast of America at the furthest point from everywhere else,
and that can make it a little provincial and insular.
They've done a remarkable job of presenting a united front of world global
entertainment but at the same time, it's probably time to reach across those
borders and find other ways of doing things, because we are repeating ourselves
continuously. The very hard movies are the very well-written movies, the
complex movies involving relationships and so forth, many of which have been
dealt with in television, but ultimately can transport a movie beyond the
narrow, narrow boundaries of commercial cinema. Whether it's Jim Brooks or
other filmmakers for whom the written word is as important as the live action,
we need to find that talent and make it worth their while to be in the movie
business. That talent comes from everywhere, and somehow we have to find that,
because otherwise we're repetitious.
I couldn't agree with you more. I find that more a sense of idealism than
the reality I see playing out. Films like "Pearl Harbor" are coming out, and
"Crouching Tiger" [is] the exception rather than the rule, it appears.
Well, there's room for all of them. I think you'd agree that a great spectacle
like "Lawrence of Arabia" is also something that's uniquely suited to the movie
screen. It's big, it's bold, it's spectacular. It has fight scenes, it has
tremendous breadth and pace. But at the same time, it's artful and thoughtful
and has something to say to its audiences. So you can aim high in almost every
aspect of the medium, whether you're small or large.
But I think for studios, we've got to be able to convince a lot of people,
including directors and writers, that it's OK to aim high. There is the
obsession with ratings, just as in television. Similarly in the movie industry,
the obsession with box office makes people very nervous about being risky on
the culturally exalted end. Everybody begins to feel that they know what the
audience wants, and what the audience wants, they believe, is sort of mass
entertainment. It does make it sometimes hard for writers to aim high.
Writing is the hardest part of moviemaking. There are many directors who can
take over a picture and cut sequences together of computer graphics and action
and death and destruction and so forth. That's an art form that's pretty well
understood by lots of people. But to make a human drama, complex human drama
come alive on the screen and convey insights and intimacy in a darkened movie
theater, is still an art form. It's not easy, and it requires great courage and
carefulness on the part of everybody involved.
But it is our duty to present a beacon for that kind of filmmaking. I know in
our own studio that we constantly say, "At the end of the year, don't add up
the box office as the only single criterion for a successful year." Even
though, by the way, we're routinely judged that way. In the end, you want
something that makes you proud. And for us, "Crouching Tiger" and Ang Lee's
direction of that, the sensitivity of that production, is something that will
take us through the year. Regardless of if nothing else happens -- and I'm sure
something will -- but that alone gives us reason to feel that this business is
more than just selling tickets and popcorn to a lot of people. We should have a
broad aim at lots of audiences.
And I'm not elitist about it. I would love to have done "Toy Story" and "Toy
Story 2," which I thought were singular art forms, as well as "Crouching
Tiger." I'd love to do "Lawrence of Arabia," though these days, "Lawrence of
Arabia" would be so expensive, I don't know if we'd ever be able to afford to
do that kind of movie again. But I think Stephen Spielberg is always capable of
offering this generation's "Lawrence of Arabia."
From the outsider's point of view, it seems that there's such pressure on
the creative people to maybe not adhere to their own desire, but just produce
the film that's going to make the money back the first week in the box office.
One gets the sense that the real creative juices are kind of sublimated a
But you have to be careful of pigeonholing the film industry. The only thing
that belongs in pigeonholes are pigeons. Yes, some of us, if you are spending
$120 million on a computer graphic spectacle, we all know what we're going
after and we really can't afford to lose $60 million on that picture. So you
pull out all the marketing stops and everything else and there's a great deal
of effort. But we do somewhere between 25 and 30 pictures, and of those, lots
of smaller budgets. We have a John Singleton movie opening this weekend which
is sort of an African-American theme, which is quite different from the big
spectacles, and so forth.
So, yes, there's lots of pressure. We're pressured because market share is
reported on every Monday morning in the press. Everybody knows a failure
instantaneously, and a failure is drummed into us. I went to see "Moulin
Rouge." I know that's described as a box office failure, but for me it's an
artistic success, not because it's perfect, but because the director is aiming
high. And at moments there are some soaring sequences in that that I would've
been proud to have put on the air.
You have to be very careful not to assume that everybody's behaving the same
way. Because I could turn the tables on you and say, "Well, there are directors
who won't let us near the finished product." I've had movies with directors
with final cut. My attitude will be that it's too crass or too long or too
lightweight and so forth. So it works both ways. People want to be successful.
Directors want to be successful. Writers want to be successful. So, in their
heads, success is always a large audience.
For a $20 million picture to make $30 million at the box office, that's a
success, and we've had quite a lot of those in the last few months. But I do
think you're right, in the sense that we might subliminally send a message to
filmmakers that the only way we judge success is by box office.
But I tell you this: When you've had a bad year at the box office, and
everybody is telling you've had a bad year at the box office, and you had a
couple of stinkers that lost $50 million, ... sometimes the box office is a bit
of a stranglehold on your psyche. But that's not an excuse, because in the end,
we still have to put some high quality movies on, lots of different kinds of
movies, because if you did the same old movie, you will fail more often. There
is absolutely no question about that.
When "American Beauty" was done by DreamWorks, a very sophisticated high
concept film, I can imagine people turning down that idea and saying, "Well,
it's a little too dark, and what do you mean he kills himself at the end? Isn't
this a romantic picture?" And yet the studio had the foresight and the strength
to sustain the director's vision. The result of that was a remarkable picture.
And you see that time and time again.
The pressures are there because, as you know, movies have sunk studios.
"Heaven's Gate" sunk United Artists. We're all aware that if we throw $150
million to $200 million at a picture and it's an outright disaster, we'll live
with it. So, in fairness, I would say a lot of the time, "Give me a small
picture every time. The risk isn't so bad." Chances are I might create
something artistic and valuable.
We have to have something for all tastes, and give directors and writers the
chance to spread their wings in different arenas. And if you don't, if your
fear of the box office clouds your judgement, then you'll never produce great
movies. You've got to get past that moment when the people running your studio
are so afraid of failures after perhaps experiencing them, that they play it
safe. Then the cycle goes on and on. I think it was ever thus. ...
If you look back at all the movies that were ever made, we have hundreds and
hundreds of films in our vaults, many of which you would never want to see
again. The movies that seep into your memory, whether it's "Casablanca" or
"Lawrence of Arabia" or "The Best Years of Our Lives" or "Citizen Kane," these
were the best of movies in their time. They were not standing at the head of a
long chain of artistic triumphs. There were disasters in the past, just as
there are today. But it is a balance that we have to strive for.
It does take a kind of courage on the part of everybody involved to say, "It's
OK to aim high. We'll share the consequences of failure." I think we've tried
to do that here. When things go wrong, you get [discouraged] by every, "When
are you going to change your studio chiefs? When are you going to fire
executives? When are you going to make a change?" And my attitude has been, I
would rather grow through failures, to seek toward success with executives
whose core vision I trust and find a way to some nirvana, beyond the flush of
box office mania and so forth. I believe that's possible.
How important, really, is the opening weekend to a film's ultimate success,
with the big picture of all the ancillary outlets in mind?
You do have an awful lot of information from opening weekend. There's no
question. And something is happening this year which I find slightly troubling.
We used to say that your [domestic] box office was probably three and a half
times your opening weekend, and it seems to have dropped to two and a half.
Now, you seem to have these big budget pictures open quite wide and drop quite
suddenly, losing half their audience by the following weekend. One doesn't
really know whether that's because there are too many pictures and therefore
the theaters are crowded with movies, stacked up like planes over an airport,
or because there's too high a level of expectations from the movies that we're
marketing. But you can pretty much judge how it's going to do from the box
Particular kinds of movies have quite an afterlife. "Crouching Tiger" went on
week after week after week, as did "Titanic," as did our mouse movie. ...
"Stuart Little" just opened quietly, and the little mouse went on scurrying
week after week after week. So it isn't an automatic.
But in the period of high summer with a lot of big box office openings coming
one after the other, it does seem that they kind of shunt each other into
oblivion, like cars on a train bouncing. We've noticed this summer that they're
not lasting quite as long. But I venture to suggest that the really good movie
is still capable of sustaining an audience for a long time. And I guess the
example this year is "Shrek," which just goes on attracting audiences, and is
one of those movies that gets kids to come back again and again. That settles
down the nerves for all the rest of us, I think, to suggest that you can get it
[Note: See "Open Big, Open Wide" for more comments on what's behind the opening box-office mania.]
What percentage of the overall market for a film is the U.S. box office
versus everywhere else?
With a big picture, you'd like to duplicate the domestic audience
internationally. So if a picture does $100 million, you want to do another $100
million overseas. I've seen numbers range the domestic box office from 20
percent all the way up to 40 percent. But I'm not sure there's a rule of thumb
anymore. ... People say, "Why don't you spend $20 million less on marketing,
because you'd save $20 million and you wouldn't have to make so much money?"
Well, part of the problem is that the world of journalism is also part of the
world of hype. So if you don't spend a lot of money on marketing, you don't
generate big box office, which is translated in so many eyes as one of the
criteria of hits.
If I had a $100 million picture and I only spent $10 million marketing it, for
instance, I haven't really saved $10 million, because people will start saying,
"If you didn't have a big opening weekend, you weren't a success." And if I'm
not a success, I can't sell it to television or cable, and I threaten my video
sales and DVD sales, and so forth and so on.
So there is a sort of spiral of pressure to drive that opening weekend. There
are lots of debates in the studios about how much marketing cost is too much
marketing cost. I guess with "Godzilla" and perhaps even with "Pearl Harbor,"
if you hype it too much, you run the risk of raising expectations so high that
the audience is going to be disappointed whatever. So you have to get the
But you can't afford to let a picture creep onto the air unless you've spent
nothing on it, and you're afraid of it or ashamed of it. You have to push it,
because everybody involved wants to believe that you believe in it. The writer
does, the actors do, the director does. ... Everybody involved in the process
says, "I am not a success unless you drive the audience to the box office." No
matter who you are; you can be the most artistic director, a $2 million opening
will be a failure to that person. You say, "But look, it got great critical
reaction and it's really a thoughtful film. It'll be up for Oscars." ... But
it's a failure because, at least in every second paragraph of the column, it
said, "It was a disappointment in the box office. An otherwise thoughtful film,
but we were surprised at how badly it did, considering how well it was
I don't think you can diminish expectations, really. You can sneak up on
someone. You can do limited release, as we did with "Crouching Tiger," as
Disney did with "Atlantis" and Fox did with "Moulin Rouge." But at some point,
you've got to pay the piper, you got to release it. And the other is just a
device to trick the audience to create word of mouth, so that they will come in
droves when you do open a picture that you believe might have some difficulty
in generating a large audience. When it works, it's exciting. "Crouching Tiger"
was a creative success. It won Oscars.
But it was still pretty exciting to the director and everybody involved to have
a picture that was huge at the box office. Its afterlife is a reflection of
that. It's afterlife internationally, its afterlife network television,
wherever it goes, it is a success. It's a double-barreled success, which is
what we've, truly, in our hearts would love to achieve constantly. We'd like a
two-fer. We'd like it to be an Oscar-winning box office success. But it's a
Is a film's success in the United States essential for its success
A success here isn't a guarantee of it overseas. Some pictures are peculiarly
American. And if it's a very rural American story, it probably doesn't
translate, particularly if it's very heavily scripted, it doesn't necessarily
have an afterlife overseas. We're all a bit aware of that, of what kinds of
pictures do best. So you don't want a $100 million rural heavily overwritten
picture ... you're going to lose your money overseas. But that said, we don't
sit around and think about it. What we tend to do is decide how to promote it
and market it overseas based on our belief of how it will do. If you are
narrowly parochial, you will compete with that country's own parochial
pictures, which it would invariably prefer. That's just a reality.
Why have movies gotten as expensive to make as they've gotten?
Well, they have probably reached a peak in recent years, in part because in the
pressure to produce successful financial pictures, there's a temptation to
throw money at stars who can open a picture and spend money on computer
graphics that create exciting effects. And to throw money at something is seen
as a kind of a failsafe, so that, unfortunately, when you fail, the visibility
of the money you've spent is greater. It's obvious to everybody around that
The reputation of your studio and the impact of big spending is pervasive. ...
We have lots of pictures under $30 million. But on the whole, the average cost
of a movie has gone up to around $50 million. I don't think it'll go any
higher. I think we've all recognized that it's too high.
I think we've all realized that, in fact, you can open a picture with Russell
Crowe before he's well known, and do very well. But there's a certain fear that
creeps into a lot of decision making on the way to moviemaking. I can remember
people, a favorite director of mine, recommending Russell Crowe for a project
she was working on. It was in a studio -- not my studio -- running away from
Russell Crowe because ... nobody's ever heard of Russell Crowe. Well, nobody's
ever heard of anybody. I mean, nobody's ever heard of Peter O'Toole until
"Lawrence of Arabia." So it's having the courage to override the naysayers and
the nervous people that try to create a failsafe, a hedge against disaster.
By the way sometimes contrary to popular belief, studios let directors have the
stars of their choice and the stories of their choice and sometimes they've
failed. It isn't a one-way street. The studio tends to always be the sort of
monolithic villain in all these cases. There are lots of examples of studio of
moviemakers ... being given total artistic freedom and driving the ship onto
the rocks with an enthusiasm that takes your breath away. If they've got their
piece of the action up front, it's the studio that loses the money, not the
creative elements of the show.
Obviously, too many of those disasters will ruin anybody's career. But I think
fear of failure has this sobering effect on many creative judgments. We're in
the middle of talking about a picture now, a biographical picture about a
historical figure. And the first instinct is, well, can Tom Hanks do it? Can
Tom Cruise do it? Can Mel Gibson do it? Can Russell Crowe do it? And Harrison
Ford. And they said, "Well, there must be more than five male actors to play
this male lead." And of course there are. Of course there are. But you've got
to go to a great deal of trouble to expose them and care in finding them and
giving them that opportunity. You've got to start somewhere, because you wake
up and suddenly your stars are all 60 and they can't kiss the heroine with
quite the same level of credibility. ...
In your opinion, what elements make a really successful studio head?
It would be a combination of business sense, vision, experience and boldness. I
think avoiding the fear of failure. Fear of failure is really an inhibiting
factor in our business, because it changes all your judgments, and all your
judgments become cautious and conservative. And we put a lot of pressure on the
studio heads, everybody does. It's a high-profile job with a lot of press
Only success tends to lighten the mood and the psyche of the studio head. A
couple of successes make people bolder and braver. It's clear to me. For
instance, our own studio that's now had, I think, 20 out of 25 profitable
movies, and in many ways creative successful. ... Thereafter the mood in our
studio clearly lightened, because there wasn't a jinx. There wasn't some
intrinsic flaw somewhere, something that prevented us from having a series of
Then we launched some smaller successful movies and we'll be going after bigger
ones. Obviously we have "Men In Black 2" and "Spiderman," which are classic
movies that will terrify all of us until we first see them on opening weekend
and so on. But the smaller pictures and so forth have been doing very well for
us, and that's generated a level of confidence within the studio. The studio
head's expression of confidence filters down the creative pyramid very quickly.
You don't do good work when you're tight. Your fear is a creative disaster.
Once fear evaporates, creativity flourishes.
I'd love to get back to how the industry is changing. It would be great if
you could talk about how a movie studio needs to adapt to be ready for this new
Most studios are moving to replacing film with digital technology. And, in
order to understand that, you have to experiment with a new media. George Lucas
is using a Sony Panavision digital camera, and he's finding that this affects
the way he makes pictures -- quite transforms it, if you like. He's a great
believer in the precision of digital photography and the new elements that this
generates for the audience. I think that some of that will evolve in smaller
projects to lower the costs and reduce the risks, perhaps, and that might help.
But the digital delivery will change the way we do movies, because you've got
to send a movie on so many different devices, it's going to look different and
feel different. The ability to animate it is going to be different. The
three-dimensional graphics that you're seeing on "Shrek" and other pictures
that are coming out now are giving the filmmakers new tools.
But I don't think anything will change the realities of storymaking and
storywriting and the process of the building blocks to a picture. The
technology will not do the movie for you. Technology will take it somewhere
else. Technology will expose you to a different audience. Technology may make
things cheaper, may make technology more available to a wider group of
Digital cameras and the technology will make will make movies available for a
wider group of filmmakers, starting with very small cameras all the way up to
the Panavision Sony digital camera that George Lucas is using on the next "Star
Wars." So the technology will both distribute it to a wider audience and make
it available to a wider group and larger group of filmmakers, and hopefully
that will generate more ideas and more excitement and more enthusiasm for new
forms of cinema.
In the end, they will still have to tell stories the old-fashioned way. There
are very few examples of movies that are technological miracles that sustain an
audience over a long period of time. I don't think digital actors are going to
replace real actors. I don't believe that. We have a digital movie coming out
with digital characters, men and women who are digitally composed. ... I think,
in the end, it's the opportunity to reach across international barriers, and to
teach a generation of future filmmakers how to get started.
When you think of Spielberg with his Super-8 or 8mm camera making pictures as a
teenager, that's quite a complicated process, and was not readily available to
many people. Well, tiny digital cameras, such as you saw used in "American
Beauty," are readily available. And the Internet means you can transport
pictures and the software tools available to interact with other aspects of the
medium, and then to cut other pictures and other images is much more ubiquitous
That's a thrilling opportunity. We've had hints of that in the last few years
of pictures coming out of nowhere. But we we'll see more and more of it. And
probably overseas we'll see young people devising, making movies that they
think may reach a wider audience faster than the elder generation of cinema
that they are used to.
[Note: See the "Dreaming in Broadband" section of this site for more on digital filmmaking and Hollywood's future.]
It seems like that's where new creative visions can appear. Are creative
types going to have to adapt to this? Will it in any way change the way they
I think it just makes everything a little bit easier. The digital camera is so
precise, that people are going to have to get used to the fact that you can see
the middle distance now, and the wheels of a stagecoach actually go the right
way around. But I don't think it will fundamentally change anything about the
way that people make movies. It will just make it really easier. And you just
simply adapt to the technology to do it at home. You can do it without the
infrastructure, perhaps, of the old fashioned 1940s studio.
I think that's one of the things we're all looking at, if you do you need the
infrastructure, the superstructure of yesterday's Hollywood to sustain a
digital vision. It's not clear that you do. And once people become more
confident with the tools, the software that's available, then there's plenty of
reason to do movies all over the place. You remember the shock of "Sex Lies and
Videotape." Well, ultimately, "Sex Lies and Videotape" is a story that any
teenagers can put together, so long as they have the artistry. They will have
the tools to do it in ways that they didn't used to.
Do you think that's going to affect the movie studio?
Yes, I think it is. It's easy to criticize the studios, but the studios, in the
end, can find filmmakers. And the filmmakers can find the studio if they're
good enough. I believe that. We've been waiting for the Internet and the
Independent Film Channels and so forth to produce a Steven Soderbergh full
blown right before us. It doesn't really work that way. It's a process in which
learning at the American Film Institute or learning on the Internet simply
develops existing talents. Creativity is in lots of different places, but it's
still in its basic form. It's rare, and not everyone's a star. Not everyone's a
great basketball player. Not everyone's a great baseball player. Not everyone's
a great writer. Finding writers and finding filmmakers requires an
The digital world will make that apprenticeship easier. It will make the
technology of filmmaking, anyway, much easier. It won't necessarily make the
literacy of films any greater, because writing is still the rarest art form,
hardest to teach and the longest to develop. So if people start early enough
making films in the digital era, they will learn to write for films. I think
we'll see young filmmakers coming out of corners of foreign lands and states
beyond California faster than one can imagine. ...
What keeps you most excited about your job?
I have to admit, the opening weekend is like opening night on Broadway and the
day of publication and so forth. I think the sense of releasing to the world
great movies, or in Sony's case, great music, or even dazzling products. Each
one of those is the end product of a lot of creative minds. This is a
collaborative world. Music is collaborative. Pictures, movies, are particularly
collaborative. Creative engineering for great Sony products and devices is.
So when they all emerge, blinking into the sunlight, the reaction is always the
same -- the thrill of something new that is bound up with quality and caring
and love and energy and hard work. That's the payoff. That's the payoff. We
know we have some commercial failures. We know we have some commercial
successes. But every so often, there in the spotlight is something that you are
extraordinarily proud of, and that makes it all worthwhile. And that happens
quite a lot in this company, both in electronics and music and television and
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