The Fast Five: New Markets Give More Aspiring Writers a Shot
September 30, 2019
It was a big week for aspiring writers and filmmakers. Vimeo launched a jobs marketplace for creatives to work on their craft and A24 began publishing screenplays of some of their best movies. There has never been a better time to break into the industry as more and more great resources like these pop up for independent professionals looking for work, or aspiring writers who want to learn from the best.
Any regular visitor to Final Draft’s website already appreciates the art form of the screenplay. But there’s one independent studio in particular hoping to show the rest of the world how every project starts on the page: A24. The distributor, best known for Lady Bird, Ex Machina, Hereditary and Best Picture winner Moonlight, has launched a new imprint to turn some of its most beloved properties into coffee table books. Each will be part of a limited 2,000 copy run that’s printed on premium paper with debossed black foil covers. The first three books will showcase Moonlight, Ex Machina and The Witch and will feature more than just the screenplay. They will also include the entire film credits and 24 significant frames from the movie, as well as individualized special features; from a Frank Ocean-penned forward for Moonlight to a Carmen Maria Machado piece of short fiction for The Witch. Future screenplays will also include a mixture of concept art, sketches and guest essays, making these must-haves for fans who miss the days of DVDs packed with special features. One of the best things an aspiring screenwriter can do is read as many scripts as they can. This new project from A24 gives everybody access to award-winning screenplays and allows up-and-coming writers to learn from some of the best, while giving them something to proudly display in their homes.
It can be difficult for people working in—or attempting to break into—the industry to find projects that are hiring at their level, so they can gain experience while also making money from their craft. Vimeo noticed that talented professionals exist all around the country, not just in Los Angeles, and launched a free jobs marketplace to fill that void. Companies can search for creatives to make videos for them and creatives can browse for open positions. The new marketplace makes it easier for people to connect with others in their city and find paid projects where they can apply their talents. Vimeo has set out to separate itself from other video hosting platforms by focusing on professionals behind the camera, instead of those in front of it. This is another step in the company’s quest to become the de facto go-to video hosting site for professionals who want to use their projects to secure work.
Apple has opened discussions with cinema chains about the possibility of playing Apple movies in the theaters before they launch on the Apple+ streaming service. While this may seem like a move intended to maintain the integrity of the cinema-going experience, it’s really about making the movies eligible for awards consideration. A movie has to play for at least a week in cinemas in Los Angeles County to be considered for a wide range of year-end awards, and streaming services constantly look for ways to get movies shown even after being blocked by the larger chains. Netflix goes so far as to rent entire theaters in Los Angeles to have a place to show their films (which explains why that theater in Silver Lake spent a couple of weeks showing that Netflix movie where the title was just an eggplant emoji). The first Apple movie will actually be available in theaters before Apple+ launches on November 1st. Feature length documentary The Elephant Queen will hit theaters October 18th, Hala will be released in cinemas November 22nd, and the Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie drama The Banker comes out December 6th. While all of these movies will only be in theaters for a couple of weeks before being made available on the streaming service, the company is allegedly looking at the traditional theatrical window of twelve weeks for its higher profile movies, including the five-movie deal it signed with screenplay connoisseurs A24.
Now that Marvel has dominated all other franchises at the box office, the company is turning its attention to the one thing it has yet to destroy: itself. Up until the invention of Disney+, all Marvel branded television shows were produced by Marvel Television and the films were produced by Marvel Studios. Marvel Television was responsible for the Netflix shows that included Daredevil and Jessica Jones, as well as Marvel Cinematic Universe adjacent shows Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter on ABC. But the future of Marvel Television seems to be in limbo now that Marvel Studios will produce all Disney+ Marvel shows, and not just the ones featuring established film characters. Shows starring new characters like She-Hulk and Moon Knight will also be controlled by Marvel Studios. The only two shows Marvel Television have left are Runaways on Hulu and Cloak & Dagger on Freeform (which has yet to be renewed or canceled), with Hulu passing on Ghost Rider, one of two Marvel shows in development at the streaming network. Marvel Television still has plenty of animated series to focus on and were kind of fighting an uphill battle by trying to make live action shows that took place inside a universe of films that refused to acknowledge them. Marvel Studios however will have the luxury of using established feature characters with much higher budgets to bring attention to Disney’s new streaming service. With the entertainment landscape changing so rapidly, nobody seems to know whether this is a temporary thing, or if Marvel Studios will eventually cannibalize Marvel Television and take control of the entire Marvel landscape.
Kevin Feige, the mega-producer who turned Marvel into the world’s largest film brand with just a handful of characters no other studio wanted, is turning his attention to Disney’s other massive film franchise. Lucasfilm will have a helping hand when Kevin Feige tries his magic on a new Star Wars film. In standard Disney fashion, absolutely nothing is known about the movie outside of Kevin Feige’s involvement. Star Wars has had a run of bad luck recently. Solo: A Star Wars Story’s box office resulted in all future stand-alone films being either canceled or shuffled over to Disney+ to become TV shows, and The Last Jedi’s reception resulted in Rian Johnson’s replacement on The Rise of Skywalker with The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams, while his untitled Star Wars trilogy was quietly dropped and replaced with one from Game of Thrones writers David Benioff & D.B. Weiss. The result: Disney has gone from releasing one Star Wars film a year since 2015 to having no future films on the calendar after The Rise of Skywalker is released in December. The studio must be hoping the break from big-screen Star Wars adventures and the magic touch of Kevin Feige will be enough to revive the brand that, let’s face it, really isn’t doing as poorly as Disney seems to think. Seriously, Solo made around $400 million worldwide. The only reason that’s not considered good is because they filmed the movie twice. Twice the filming does not equal twice the box office.
Written by: Conrad SylviaConrad Sylvia is the creator of the The Week in Television, a private industry newsletter that recaps the week's television news in a humorous and unique manner. Throughout the years he has developed projects for studios and production companies and continues to provide freelance research on the current television landscape and international marketplace. He is also a fan of drinking in the bathtub. A full tub if he's happy, an empty tub if he's sad.