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Pandemic May Have Helped Content Production Leap Into Tomorrow

by Andy Marken / 01-Mar-21

 “If I should fail to keep these two on the correct path, the basis of our society will be in danger. Don't worry, it'll all make sense. I'm a professional.” – Rufus, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” DEG, 1989

A month ago, a friend sent me a screen grab from Back to the Future with Dr. Brown (Christopher Lloyd) sitting in the time-traveling DeLorean warning Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), “Marty, whatever you do, don’t set the machine to go back to 2020.”

Yeah, been there … done that … don’t want to do it again!

It has been a sucky time for everyone in the M&E ecosystem – studios, content owners, producers/directors, crew, distributors, channel folks and consumers.

But, as bad as the pandemic “was,” the industry overcame a ton of obstacles and made some tremendous advances.

You can almost say the creation of visual stories is better because of it.

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Content Piracy Is Not A Victimless Crime

by Andy Marken / 22-Feb-21

 “I'm the good guy here. I told them this could happen if they didn't prepare. Did I get a "Thank you"? No, I got crucified. But, they wouldn't listen.” Thomas Gabriel, “Live Free or Die Hard,” 20th Century Fox, 2007

We like IP (Internet Protocol) because without it there would be no streaming content industry.

Without IP, we’d be limited to:

  • Watching what was on appointment TV on the day, time they showed it
  • Going out every evening to Blockbuster – yes, they’d still be alive … for something
  • Waiting for the postal person to deliver our red envelopes of DVDs
  • “Letting” our overly bright son beat us at chess … again

Yeah, that’s about it!

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International Production Suddenly Looks More Attractive

by Andy Marken / 15-Feb-21

“You should've let me go back for my film.”  -- Polly Perkins, “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” Paramount, 2004

Okay, 2020 was tough!

Sure, we watched Outbreak and Contagion last year, but no one really took this whole pandemic thing serious until mid-to-late March when Tom Hanks announced he and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for COVID-19 while he was in Australia filming an Elvis Presley biopic.

Suddenly, people were saying, “Holy S*** this stuff is real…and serious!”

At about the same time, folks around the globe were sent home to work, wherever and however.

BAM! studios went dark, borders were closed.

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Good Streaming Entertainment Deserves Great Ad Support

by Andy Marken / 08-Feb-21

“And the boy becomes a man… perhaps a leader of men.” – Allan Quartermain, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” 20th Century Fox, 2003

We should have known M&E folks were in for a rough time last year.

Early in the Spring the upfronts – where networks talk big spenders into getting theirs first – were basically cancelled because no one knew what (if any) shows were going to be ready for the fall season.

The Euro football championships were cancelled.

The Olympics were pushed to this year…maybe.

Then things got bad.

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People Want their Streaming to Come Full Circle, Easy-to-Find Choices

by Andy Marken / 01-Feb-21

“A little tequila, sunshine and tacos never hurt anybody.” – Ron Woodroof, “Dallas Buyers Club,” Truth Entertainment, 2013

Let’s see, the pandemic made us shut-ins.

The fires (here in California) showed us what the apocalypse was going to look like with the red/orange clouds.

Then, what the post life was going to be with grey clouds of smoke, fog, crud.


Counter culturist Timothy Leary was right, “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.”

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Consumer Hardware Needs Content Quantity, Variety

by Andy Marken / 25-Jan-21

 Since the earliest CES, the OMG of the show has always been the screen … bigger, better, brighter, more immersive, more versatile, less expensive.

That’s a good thing because this year’s virtual event (and our locked at home lives) would have been terribly dull without the screen … and the content. 5G/NextGen TV, streaming and remote learning/work/communications tools are great, but they are nothing without the content creation industry – audio, video, gaming. Content and virtual CES became even more important ingredients in the CTA world technology mix. 

2020 left a lasting mark on our relationship with (and blurred the lines between) work, technology and entertainment. The pandemic was devastating to the out-of-home entertainment industry – theatrical live and video. 

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It's Time for the Next Generation of Streaming Service

by Andy Marken / 18-Jan-21

“A fake world is a lot less painful than the real one.” – Grey Trace, “Upgrade,” Goalpost Pictures, 2018


While growing up in the midwest, a big deal every fall was going to the annual county fair, every day.

We became enthralled one year watching a barker hawking knives or pots/pans or something.

What intrigued us was that he would have this crowd gathered and then would switch to looking at/talking to three or four people in the crowd, almost ignoring everyone else. 

And every time he went through his pitch, he’d do the same thing and the results were always the same … those individuals were the first in line to buy whatever it was he was pitching.

With their lead…others would follow.

We were amazed how quickly he could size up the crowd and identify who wanted what he was offering.

The idea is fundamentally the same for today’s D2C services.




But it’s different … way different.

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Content Creation is Getting Better Because of the Pandemic

by Andy Marken / 10-Jan-21

          “You can't sign me, and I don't want to be signed.” -- Greta – “Begin Again,” Exclusive Media Group, 2013

Well…it’s about time!

For what? 

Have you seen the list of big Hollywood film projects that have started back up, again … finally?

Ooppss…put on hold again!

Good thing most of the smart folks chose work locations that cared about the work and workers.

After a lot of Zoom vetting on the part of crew members and actors, Universal finally convinced their crews they were going to do everything possible to keep them safe to restart work on Jurassic World: Dominion.

It’s definitely not your mom’s video story production world anymore. And with the new procedures going into place, it will never be again!

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Streaming Evolution Is Fast, Some Can Be Disingenuous

by Andy Marken / 21-Dec-20

 “Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!” – Margo, “All About Eve,” 20th Century Fox, 1950

Like the M&E industry, what is considered acceptable and what is frowned upon is constantly evolving.

We’re not certain if the changes are good/needed or we’ll simply become numb and ultimately accept it as the “new norm.”

Comedian and social satirist Lenny Bruce was thrown in jail in 1964 for obscenity.

In the early ‘70s, George Carlin developed a funny as h**l monologue - Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television - https://bit.ly/39WJiNK.

Right now, Oscar winner Nicholas Cage is busy working on a six-episode docuseries for Netflix, History of Swear Words - https://bit.ly/39WRGN2.

Sure, we know the words, there are times we’ve reached the point where we’ll occasionally use one or two (okay, three).

However, we often wonder what they really add to a movie or TV show script. 

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People Renewing the Big Screen Experience

by Andy Marken / 14-Dec-20

“They're after the place. They don't know why; they just remember. Remember that they want to be in here.” – Peter, “Dawn of the Living Dead,” Dawn Associates, 1978


Give us a hint, please!

What are all the market analysts and experts measuring when they track Warner’s Tenet in theaters and Disney’s Mulan streamed in the US and in select overseas theaters?

Or how about Warner’s Wonder Woman 1984 and Netflix The Midnight Sky?

Both drew about the eyeballs and sales you’d expect … move along folks nothing to see here.

The world and industry are so different from 2019, any comparison of measurements, benchmarks or projections you make.


They’re probably as good as our neighbor’s kids’ guesses; and they’re in grade school.