This Summer has been the season of binging. Not food, but content. As the first-ever virtual Emmy Awards Ceremony is about to take place, minus the Red Carpet with the fabulous clothes, the race for the coveted Emmy Award has never been more competitive.
I have and always will be a film person. However, as I spent most of my Spring and Summer at home, I began scouring for new shows to “binge-watch”.
Because of so much content being made available to the viewers, I have discovered most of my new favorite shows or movies are no longer defined by ratings or box office numbers, but through the recommendation of friends or Social Media.
During these challenging times, it seems that the success of a television show or movie will be reliant on word of mouth only. And it will be so for some time to come.
For the first time in 70 years, a few months back, the Cannes Film Festival was canceled. It would have been my 20th attendance there as Film Buyer and Producer. A 70 plus year tradition, was only postponed once, and that because of World War II. I was very sad when it happened as the film is a collective experience and there is nothing like sitting with an audience feeling the same feelings and reacting to the storytelling.
Then again, this pandemic is much like being at war, only that we are not fighting a country or a dictator or a nation, we are fighting a tiny crown shaped virus that has been constantly mutating and has drastically changed the landscape of Hollywood as well, including awards and festivals.
The Fall season was always seen as the kick-off time for films and television shows that would end up being contestants for Oscars, Golden Globes, SAG awards, Emmys. But Hollywood had to adapt. The work will always be quality and timely, even more so today than ever, what has changed is the medium we get to see it in. Between September and February there used to be several screenings of potential Award contenders, with Panels of the actors, director, and writers discussing the work and the journey to get it made.
Now, it’s happening virtually. Like many industries, when you can’t find the way, you make a new way. Several publications are hosting pre- Emmy online screenings with the same discussions taking place with the creatives behind it. It will continue to happen leading up to the 2021 Oscar ceremony. The difference is that these screenings are finally less of a clique and they are letting the audience on a wider level.
I am hopeful that this moment in time is actually pushing the reset button of the creative world and authenticity and meaningful content will rise to the top. To begin with, the focus will finally be on the stories and the artists behind them worthy of recognition. The measuring stick will be the reaction of the people, the viewers, not the advertising dollars spent, or the parties to promote it, or the clothes that are worn by the Nominees.
I also believe it will change the perception of Hollywood of being an ego-driven community. Finally, the attention of the audience will go to the messages contained in what we watch now exclusively on the small screen. So many people who work tirelessly to make a film or television work seamlessly will be finally recognized. Just like the beauty of a face that is make up free, where we see the real soul of a human being, I am looking forward to a more raw more approachable more soulful Hollywood. With so many Stars now showing up on a virtual screen, talking to the audience from their living rooms, stripped of the fancy clothes and jewelry, we can, at last, see the mission of an artist and distinguish their true purpose and calling instead of the manufactured image that many times is forced upon them to get attention and press coverage.
I will indeed be missing the beautiful clothes on the red carpet this month and for months to come, but logically speaking, given the times we are living, a display of glamour and designer clothes may have not been fitting anyway, even if the Emmys would have gone live this year.
I have always believed that if you want to feel connected to others, see how others live. Television and the plethora of great shows this year on the streaming and cable platforms offer a unique opportunity to do so. As we are all Social Distanced, the best way to learn a new life perspective is through that black box in our living room. Pajamas are indeed optional, as long as our mind opens a little wider. Somehow, I believe that the closing of so much in business and life has opened our hearts and soul to new perspectives and a lifestyle that compels us to become more authentic. As art imitates life, I predict authentic films and television are emerging strong and loud, and are here to stay.