🎭 CURTAINS UP?

As studios and Hollywood talent scuffle, a door is wide open. Could you walk through it?


Culture, tech, luxury, travel, and media news, emailed twice a week

Futureboard

The Row’s US$6000 Margaux tote is a “future heirloom,” according to British Vogue

🔼 Air conditioner sales in Europe. Italians and Spaniards are opting for effective cooling solutions as summers get hotter »»

🔽 Electric vehicle range. It's just too hot for EVs to work right »» Related: What if Americans just say “no” to the EV “revolution?” »»

💬 “Who would want to travel like this?” Super short, “special forces-style” tourism is on the rise among young people in China »»

🛫 Did you know that New York State's Adirondack Park is larger than Everglades, Glacier, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone National Parks combined? »»

👗 14 designer handbags that will stand the test of time »»

💎 This minimalist London villa was designed by Kim Kardashian’s favorite architect —and can be yours for just US$22.5m »»

Quickfates

The world’s most liveable city (Pexels / Anton Uniqueton)

Adopt eight lifestyle changes to add 20 years to your life, researchers say »»

Meet “Luna,” a new avocado that grows on a smaller trees and is easier to harvest than the dominant Hass breed »»

AI-powered storytelling tool Tome has “caught fire” with Gen Z »»

Tequila’s reputational makeover is driven by design »»

Clogs in the club? Crocs' new 4-inch heels say ‘yes’ »»

This European capital was named the world's most liveable city —again »»

Sydney’s 38 essential restaurants »»

Extreme heat in Europe is becoming the new normal, prompting tourists toward cooler destinations »» Related: Why Europe’s heatwave hasn’t led to a solar power boom »»

Elon Musk’s new Twitter ‘X’ rebrand looks like a ripoff from an iconic 1984 logo »» Related: Don’t count Instagram’s Twitter clone Threads out just yet »»

Meanwhile: TikTok is adding support for text posts »»

Barbenheimer’s “mind-blowing” box office numbers »» Related: The 9-minute core workout that Ryan Gosling and the Kens in Barbie did for chiseled abs »»

A tiny, 800-student Kansas college just received an anonymous US$1b donation »»

Did you know that New Zealand actually has some of the world’s most polluted water? It’s making people sick »»

You should enable Gmail's new “enhanced safe browsing” »»

Attention lawyers: Google Docs can now automatically add line numbers »»

This Summer, finally get to know gin. Specifically, the best recipes for a martini, gimlet, and something called a bijou blanc »» 

Deepfate

As studios and Hollywood talent scuffle, a door is wide open. Could you walk through it?

Are you ready for your close up?

LIGHTS OUT

For the first time since 1960, America’s actors’ and screenwriters’ unions are simultaneously on strike. Hollywood is at a standstill.

The rationale behind the labor stoppage is straightforward: streaming services like Netflix, Max, and Paramount Plus have upended the entertainment industry’s economics.

Streamers tend to “buy out” the acting and writing talent that create their shows, paying people a flat fee for their work, and declining to offer future payouts for reruns.

That’s new. Generations of Hollywood creative professionals have used those indefinite “residual payments” to support themselves in between projects.

SHORTER SEASONS

At the same time, streamers (and cable networks) tend to green light fewer episodes/commission shorter seasons than traditional tv networks.

Network shows like Modern Family or Parks and Rec have tended to feature 22 episodes a season.

Cable television hits like Atlanta, Dave, or Yellowstone, by contrast, feature 10 episodes a season.

And streaming shows are usually shorter still. The most recent seasons of Stranger Things, Wednesday, and Bridgerton —all recent Netflix hitsran for just 8 episodes each.

Shorter seasons mean fewer working days —and less pay— for actors and writers.

HEY, WHAT ABOUT AI?

And then, of course, there’s nervousness around AI.

Screenwriters are concerned that generative AI will be used to write scripts, and that only be hired to polish those robot-written screenplays, resulting —again— in shorter term work periods, and less pay.

Actors, meanwhile are concerned that AI could be used to realistically replicate their likenesses, putting them out of a job forever.

In short, streamers and AI are disrupting Hollywood’s basic assumptions and longstanding economics —and human talent aren’t standing for that.

But shakeups tend to spark opportunity.

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

As this newsletter has written, social media is a different beast than it was even just a couple of years ago.

Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn have transitioned from connection tools to discovery and entertainment engines.

That shift is profound. Users may complain that they don’t get served enough content from the people they actually follow, but their actions tell a different story.

We’re all scrolling more than ever. The platforms’ algorithms now boost the content they consider the most likely to engage, serving it to vast audiences, regardless of whether or not they follow the creators.

In our view, this shift —combined with Hollywood’s stoppage— has created a rare chance for new creative voices and ideas to emerge (and for existing Hollywood professionals to find audiences without studio middlemen).

Could a new cohort of original voices rise during Hollywood's idle time?

A TENDER MOMENT

For years, anyone with a phone and a connection could share their voice.

What’s new is that the algorithms are ready to serve novice creators’ content out to millions of potential viewers.

At the same time, the rise of AI creation tools mean that passionate amateurs with just an inkling of a creative impulse can now produce slick content.

Building real audiences and income has always been hard, time consuming work. But zoom out: social media is more democratic —if also more random— than ever.

And people are watching. In the UK, TikTok has replaced television as the country’s most popular entertainment medium for young adults. Meanwhile, “95% of US teens watch YouTube —many of them ‘almost constantly.’”

THE FINAL ACT

For the first time ever, (i) Hollywood's storytellers are idle, while (ii) algorithms elevate ordinary voices to extraordinary numbers of people, and (iii) free AI creation tools are open to anything.

One day (not soon) Hollywood casts and crews will reassemble and attempt to regain control of audience attention.

Until then, as professionals clash over business models, an historic opportunity awaits.

JUST POST IT

All this might not sound relevant to you.

It is.

In our view, countless fresh comedic minds, unknown numbers of storytellers, and an entire generation of cerebral visionaries ready to change perceptions are reading this note right now.

If you’ve ever had any hint of a creative impulse, there has literally never been a better time in human history for you to act on it than right now.

Life offers no guarantees —except that windows of opportunity are fleeting.

Start posting today.

More:

TikTok replaced TV for British young adults; 95% of US teens watch YouTube »»

It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it? (from 2022) »»

Written by Jon Kallus. Any feedback? Simply reply. Like this? Share it!

Join the conversation

or to participate.