Friday, December 10, 2010

Is the Christmas movie dead?

I saw a report come across the news that said studios were just not making Christmas movies anymore. It stated the reasons to include the fact that there is so much competition from non-seasonal pictures that it doesn't make sense. It also stated that there just weren't any 'new' or different stories out there. This caught my attention for a several reasons.

Of course as a connoisseur of many a Christmas film, I would agree there are lots of crappy ones out there. Invariably, when a great Christmas tale is done for film, aka A Christmas Carol, Its a Wonderful Life, or The Christmas Story, it seems that all Hollywood can do at that point is some knockoff. Of course they want a sure winner so its easy to think that doing a knockoff is safe. But then to complain that there just aren't any good stories out there is pretty much crap and we as writers know it.

Its very similar to the publishing industry professional who tells a group of writers that "humor just doesn't sell" or "no one wants to read memoirs". Yet the success of a book like Sh*t My Dad Says - now a TV series - flys in the face of those statements. It also shows writers that there is more than one way to skin a cat. The guy that wrote that book started it as twitter posts and gathered hundreds of thousands of followers. It was proof people loved it and he thus got a publishing contract.

These days writers have tremendous ways to build their audience and market for any book or style they choose to write in and the public decides what is or is not good and this allows a writer to follow their gut instead of trying to conform to what someone else tells them the 'market' likes. Of course, if you're wrong you know it immediately and that's a good thing too because a publisher can say you're crazy but there's nothing like instant public feedback to confirm it.

I think that the new digital age will user in a whole plethora of genres and books that can't even be imagined now and that includes the types of stories available as Christmas tales. Our job as writers is to stop playing it safe and push the envelope on what we dare.

One other ridiculous aspect of Hollywood and the publishing industry is that they have a memory of about four weeks. So whatever they aren't buying this month, they will start buying next month. The trick is to stop caring what they think and just start writing.


Travis Erwin said...

Ouch. I think maybe a rock just hit me in the forehead.

dee said...

no!! maybe a pebble, but not a rock!!