Michael Rosenblum’s producer nation

By Steve Safran 

Michael Rosenblum: Ideas, observations and what a pissed-off monk has in common with TV executives

  • There is a huge demand for content, but it is so spread out among channels and the web, that the old model of high expense for production no longer works.
  • Who is going to make this stuff? It’s the guy with the camera and the laptop.
  • There are vasts amounts of talent buried out there. The cameras and laptops allow them to come forward.
  • Rosenblum started “Trauma: Life in the ER” simply by hanging out at a hospital with a camcorder. Along with his future wife (and then future ex-wife…), he edited a presentation for The Learning Channel which immediately picked up 13 episodes at $200,000 per. Cost of production: two people, one camcorder, editing time.
  • He asks the bloggers: Who here would produce a show for $100,000? Everyone raises their hands. $90,000? No hands go down. $80,000? $70,000? You get the point. The price of production is no longer the issue. Have a quality idea and you can make it.
  • If you want to write, you sit down at your computer and write. Books aren’t written by Random House. Maybe you suck, maybe you’re great. Now, for the first time, cameras are cheap and the tools are there.
  • ”Technology isn’t the mother of invention. What happens is, technology comes along and everyone says ‘Oh shit, get that thing out of here — it’s messing everything up!’ ”
  • What the printing press did was allow anyone with an idea to publish. (There is a marvelous routine Rosenblum does here that I cannot possibly do justice. Suffice to say it deals with Serfs, Monks, a lock on publishing the Bible and how Guttenberg screwed up their sweet deal.) What inexpensive video cameras and editing tools are doing is allowing anyone to publish video.
  • Television is controlled by ABC, CBS, NBC and the like. Little cameras are the Guttenberg press of the 21st century. They make it possible for anyone to publish in video — the lingua franca of the planet. Institutions will crumble. The power to change the world is in your hands with this technology.
  • Television no longer comes to us in a passive way. The means of publication and transmission is there. This is a dramatic democratic revolution — and you are all a part of it.
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