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The M&E Industry is Being Nudged into a Remake

by Andy Marken / 28-Sep-20

“It's difficult to explain. On our planet, we, uh... we pretend to... to entertain. Mathesar, I am so sorry. God, I am so sorry.”  -- Jason Nesmith, “Galaxy Quest,” DreamWorks, 1999

We were Zooming with an industry friend in Croatia last week and he made the passing observation that it was so good that the industry was finally getting back to normal.

Well yes, shooting has been underway for almost a month in London, Toronto, Montreal, Nigeria, Kenya, Bollywood, Beijing, Shanghai and Wellington while learning all kinds of new stuff like testing, insurance negotiation, handling crowd/intimacy scenes, craft services and crew limitations.   

Universal, Focus Features, Disney, Netflix, Paramount and other studios have already signed long-term sound stage, production and post facility agreements with the new and expanded studio complex owners as projects increasingly become limited to a single location because of governmental health concerns/restrictions.

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TV Shows, Filmmakers Prepare to Fill the Content Pipeline

by Andy Marken / 21-Sep-20

“Well, anything worth doing is worth doing right.” – Jimmy Dugan, “A League of Their Own,” Columbia, 2016

We’re beginning to wonder if there’s something about the human psyche that makes people not to want to be alone with themselves.

To make the pandemic tolerable for folks, someone came up with an empathetic phrase, “Alone Together.”

It’s not bad enough that you have to spend half of your business day on Zoom calls; but then you move from the home office to the couch to watch a bunch of Zoomers watch someone else Zoom and call it … entertainment.  

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Maybe We Need to Reassess What Tomorrow Looks Like

by Andy Marken / 21-Sep-20

“I’m fully prepared to live with the consequences of my actions.  What I couldn’t live with were the consequences of my inactions.” – Elizabeth McCord, “Madam Secretary,” Barbara Hall Productions, 2014 - 2019

Enough already!

We get it.

2020 is going to go down as a crappy year, so let’s please put it in the rearview mirror!

What good is a global pandemic if you can’t learn something from it?

And since we were in lockdown longer than expected (a week woulda’ been okay but…), we tried to figure out what was done wrong, what was done right. 

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Free Streaming is Different, Better, Cheaper than People Think

by Andy Marken / 15-Sep-20

“I don't get it. This wasn't supposed to happen.” – Nolan, “Hours,” The Safran Company, 2013

Ya know, the SIP house arrest thing got real old, real fast.

As with most people in Silicon Valley, we’re used to working from home, in a hotel room, on holiday; heck, even at the office – anywhere, any time.

With a computer, smartphone and a good internet connection, BAM! we’re in business.

But … being trapped in the house with the whole family 24x7 is … different.


Fortunately, there’s an escape with video content. 

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When Offices Reopen, Everything Will Be Different

by Andy Marken / 15-Sep-20

“I think if I had an inner voice, it'd be tellin' me to tell you to get lost.” Burt, Tremors 3: “Back to Perfection,” Universal, 2001

In the middle of a Microsoft Team meeting, the company CEO left his home office to refresh his coffee and when he came back, his head of marketing said he didn’t realize it was casual Friday already.

The CEO smiled into his camera and said, “Yeah do you like my new plaid pajamas? The kids were tired of seeing me in my other bottoms, so I thought I’d have change of pace today.”

Except perhaps for what people wear, the workplace – at home or in the office – will never be the same.

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More Content, More Distribution Options, More Challenges

by Andy Marken / 07-Sep-20

“You forgot the first rule of mass media, Elliot! Give the people what they want!”  -- James Bond, ‘Tomorrow Never Dies,’ Eon Productions, 1997

If you’re going to have bad stuff happen – global pandemic, worldwide social/racial “realignment” and international economic unrest – there’s probably no better time to reshuffle the entertainment poker deck. 

Of course, it’s a little easier to do when you have chips on every spot on the table – content creation/production, distribution and delivery.

When Comcast helped Peacock enter the market, they weren’t showing they were ready to fold but were doubling (even tripling) down.

Probably because M&E isn’t a game … it’s serious business.

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Service Bundles Can't Get Between the Content, Viewer

by Andy Marken / 01-Sep-20

“Ever since the first day I laid eyes on your very fine person, I got caught up in your Adam's apple. Oh, I've been dreaming about it. And I can't tell whether I want to tear it out with my fingers or my teeth.” – Ernestine Rivers, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Annapurna Pictures, 2018

We don’t care what you say, a well-executed con is a beautiful thing. 

You know, like in The Sting and Catch Me If You Can.

A poorly executed con is sad.

A good con person knows they’re a con and are conning. 


A bad con person fumbles through the con.  Sometimes they don’t even realize they’re really doing it or that they’re doing it so badly.

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Entertainment Options Pave the Way for New Viewing Habits

by Andy Marken / 24-Aug-20

“Made a crazy risk. You gamble and it's - about to pay off.” – Howard Ratner, “Uncut Gems,” Elara Pictures, 2020


Even though it takes many shapes and forms today, sex still sells.

The next sure-fire selling idea is fear.

Ring and the other eyeball doorbell systems are everywhere because they can help you identify bad people around your home in time to scare them away and get assistance.   


So, what if the police can tap into your system to check the neighborhood.  Just more security.

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Growing Global Audience Wants to See More Relatable Heroes

by Andy Marken / 17-Aug-20

 “I’m just a terrible person I guess.” – Harley Quinn, “Birds of Prey,” Warner Bros., 2020 

Someone out there is putting too much pressure on the M&E industry to solve the country’s/world’s problems. 

But it can’t, can it?

For years, people complained about the fact that the folks who chose the Oscar winners – AMPAS (Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences) – was too male, too old, too white … and well, it was. 

So, it changed with hundreds of female and minority members being added.

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New Blood Can Give Theaters a New Lease on Life

by Andy Marken / 10-Aug-20

“If I don't touch you soon, I'll go out of my mind.” – Phil Potter, “Starting Over,” Paramount, 1979

Truthfully, if it weren’t for the fact that our daughter had to see Trolls World Tour, we wouldn’t have given the film a second thought.

She would have had to force us (pout) to take her to the theater but dropping $20 for something special for her to watch OTT wasn’t that bad.