Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Could MTV Kill the Movie Star Too?


A June 27th item in The Hollywood Reporter by Tatiana Siegel caught my interest:

"In a move that signals MTV's commitment to making full-length movies for the smallest of screens, MTV Films production veteran David Gale is segueing to the newly created post of executive vp new media and specialty film content at MTV Networks."

Gale, who oversaw films like Hustle & Flow, Election, Napoleon Dynamite and Murderball, will now be in charge of bringing MTV's narrative presence to the Interney and other new media. As the article suggests, it is ironic that the network that made its name through short-form content-- the music video (remember when they showed those?)-- now looks to lead the mainstream charge in bringing long-form content to media that people associate with shorter segments.

However, it actually makes a lot of sense. MTV caters to a youthful demographic, one that is already comfortable and familiar with viewing content on the Internet, their cell phones, iPods, etc. For them, it would not be such an alien experience to view a 60- or 90-minute program in one of these formats.

I will be interested to see what kinds of content Gale develops for these formats. What type of programming does he (and the higher ups at MTV) think will be appealing in these formats? Will he try to tell different types of stories? Will they have a different visual style? How daring will it be?

If successful, MTV could help blaze a new trail for filmmakers looking to create content in these forms. But, best not to wait for MTV to set the standard for this type of content. Opportunities are better when it's still wide open-- like the Old West.

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