Old and New Hollywood: Frozen Fish and Hot Waffles

February 4, 2011

I am often asked whether or not our quest here is to replace The New Hollywood in much the same way that The New Hollywood replaced The Old Hollywood.

From Chapter 16 of Bringing Back The Old Hollywood:

The Old Hollywood Will Not Replace The New Hollywood:

Frozen Fish and Hot Waffles

It’s crucial to note that the Old Hollywood has to be its own separate entity. It cannot and should not try to replace or compete with The New Hollywood.

Carl Sandburg had a wonderful phrase that illustrates the importance of that very crucial distinction:

“Telling a frozen fish that it is a hot waffle does as much good as telling a hot waffle that it is a frozen fish.”

The New Hollywood (frozen fish) focuses on big stars, big salaries, big budgets, and general audience films that appeal primarily to people under thirty.

The Old Hollywood (hot waffle) should focus on a return to story telling, financial sanity, actors and actresses that are chosen for their talents (not the likelihood that their names will guarantee DVD presales in Germany), and subject matter that appeals primarily to people over the age of thirty.

The New Hollywood is firmly rooted geographically in Southern California and economically in the paradigm of the multinational corporations who own and operate the studios and major independents.

As there will be little if any synergy between the New and Old Hollywood, there is absolutely no reason that The Old Hollywood should have to be located only in Southern California.

There are thousands of talented people who desperately want to make films but, for whatever personal or lifestyle reasons, want to live and work elsewhere. As doing so is a very difficult challenge for all but the top tier actors and directors in The New Hollywood, The Old Hollywood should embrace geographical diversity with open arms.

Today, there are vibrant film communities in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, New York, Louisiana, and Connecticut, just to name a few in the United States.

In Canada, Vancouver and Toronto have incredibly active film communities and, around the world, there are more film communities than can possibly be enumerated here.

India, for instance, produces over one thousand films every year.

There is no reason, of course, that the renaissance of The Old Hollywood cannot also take root in Southern California but it would be just one root of an ever-expanding tree.

Probably not a palm tree.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Terry Herbert February 4, 2011 at 11:55 am

I agree whole heartedly with your premises, Stephen. California is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, taxes have driven citizens to relocate to other states. It is becoming an economically difficult place for many to do business. Even The Terminator couldn’t change that!

I can see why actors and those involve with casting, producing and directing choose to move to L.A. But I don’t see a reason for a writer to. I took a two month teleseminar by Hollywood Producer, Gary W. Goldstein which was all about how to crack Hollywood’s coded entrance from long distance.

Former Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue, left as a legacy, the most favorable tax incentives of any other state to benefit production companies which choose to shoot their films here. As a result there are more films currently being shot in Georgia than any other state. I conduct carriage tours on Jekyll Island as my day job, (actually my night job). Last fall, Twentieth Century Fox sent a scouting team which set up temporary HQ’s in my twin sons’ former middle school and ended up shooting the final scene of the latest X-Men sequel on Jekyll Beach. I felt I was right in the middle of Hollywood as they were filming during the month of December. I even made a good contact for my screenplay.

You mention Florida, Stephen. The original Hollywood was Jacksonville, Florida during the early years of films. Most movies were shot there, and the city was full of productions studios. Hollywood came into play after production companies became obscessed with blowing up things. The residents simply got tired of buildings in their neigborhoods blowing up. They wanted get back to just being a community again. And that is why Hollywood is, well…, in Hollywood.

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