Monday, November 28, 2016

What ever happened to TV movies.

As I mentioned in the last blog, TV movies were my money-makers. Back in 1990 and up to 2008, I wrote a half dozen movies and rewrote other writers screenplays. It was the glory days.  Roswell was one of my TV movies.



Survivor killed the TV movies. And if you're not sure what I mean, it was this. Survivor came along and changed TV forever. What is Survivor? Most of you probably have seen it on CBS, you know, the bunch of people put on an island and had to survive to win a million dollars.

Why did it kill the TV movies?

Because it was a lot cheaper than having to hire actors and screenwriters. Just needed some guys with video cameras and a few writers to help the survivors come up with good ideas. 

My TV movies cost usually around $3 million up to $9 million. Of course I just got scale but scale was pretty good too.

Suddenly TV movies were gone. We actually had that party in the last days of TV movies.  I remember big parties at Hallmark, where they'd show their movies to great parties. 

Then after Survivor came all the other survivor-type shows, you know, Kardashians and every other type of humans, and at low costs.

Until netflix.

Just around a few years ago, Netflex began making their own movies. And suddenly it all changed. TV movies of a sort started up again. Hallmark made two kinds of movies; the expensive ones and the cheap ones. 

My Christmas story, The Town That Christmas Forgot, cost just under $1 million. And actually it came out quite good. Even the WGA rates were higher also. 

There is a sort of market/film festival thing that happens every fall, AFM, American Film Market. I put my Ghostkeeper movie into the market around 1981. It was mostly a market from other film markets in order to sell to American markets.

Mostly though, these Europeans and Asians had films that few people ever wanted. This year companies trying to sell to US markets were having a hard time.

But Netflix led the way, not only to movies but also episodic series. 

I haven't really discussed the market for films that would play for artistic films, the ones that often get oscar awards as well as the Independent Film Festival, which takes the art movies just before the oscars.

I'll add more towards the week... in the meantime, this TV movie I wrote was made in 2002. It's a kid's movie but it gives me a lot of residuals every year. Good old Ben (he's the bear).

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