SHADOW HOLLYWOOD: THE “OTHER” ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

There are really two different “industries” in entertainment. The first is what we see on the surface – the artists, the crew, the executives and the distributors. It is funded by us, the public, with every movie we see, every record we buy and every crappy product we buy that sponsors a television show.

The general public never sees the second industry – Shadow Hollywood. This one is funded by raping the artists. It is bankrolled by the indie filmmaker who desperately wants a distribution deal, the young musician who is dying to have someone listen to his or her demo and the young actors and models who are aching to have their own portfolio.

Shadow Hollywood runs a whole range of scams devised on sucking money out of young, naive artists. One of the latest scams is a smarmy little Dallas company called On The Air Publications. According to their own web page:

We know how ALL filmmakers WANT GLOWING reviews of their films… If we cannot offer a POSITIVE, UPBEAT review of your film or video project, we will not review it or advertise it.

We know how a “GLOWING REVIEW” can be CRUCIAL in helping a film or project make it BIG, so we strive to be GLOWING when humanly possible.

On The Air Publication claims to have eight e-zines that serve “the filmmaking, feature motion picture, television and video production communities.” However, if you visit the sites they list on their web site, you are taken to identical text sites with glowing reviews for films like “About Schmidt,” “Gladiator,” “The Pianist” and “Cool Hand Luke.”

Basically, this company is offering to be word whores for the independent filmmaker. Send us your movie. We’ll give you a good review. (Imagine if all the reviews on FilmThreat.com were 4 or 5 stars?) But like any whore, it’ll cost you. Here are their terms, directly quoted from their web site:

Our pre-discounted rates are astoundingly inexpensive:

30 day run of your review and advertised LINK in ONE of our publications is $790.00 for independents; $1790.00 for major studios.

30 day run of your review and advertised LINK in THREE of our publications is $1290.00 for independents; $2780.00 for major studios.

30 day run of your review and advertised link in FIVE of our publications is $1590.00 for independents; $3580.00 for major studios.

You can DOUBLE up the run time of a 30 day run to a 60 day run for only $390.00 (indie); $990.00 (major) additional in ANY of the above formats.

Give me a break! Almost $800 for a link to a single publication??? I’ve made movies for less than that! And don’t be fooled by the supposed “pre discounted rates.” Their “major studios” rates are almost twice that of independents. That’s a great deal, isn’t it?

Fat chance!

One of the films supposedly reviewed by the bogus e-zines is “About Schmidt” (which includes a misspelling of Kathy Bates’ name). Is there anyone out there that believes that New Line Cinema paid $3580 for this? Why should they when the film’s already got glowing reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times (an expert in making things up, incidentally)?

At least Sony Pictures had the right idea when they created their own bogus film critic David Manning. It cost them nothing to write the fake reviews. (Of course, the David Manning debacle was busted out in 2001 and the marketing geniuses who spearheaded it lost their jobs.)

Here’s an idea. Get an honest review from a real journalist. There are plenty of places that will review your film for free, including this site. You can also get your film showed in a festival and send a copy to a critic in the same city. Swallow your pride if you get a bad review, and send the film elsewhere. You’re bound to get a good review sometime. But if no one besides you and your mother like your movie, you just may have to face the fact that your movie sucks.

Still, if you’re dying for a fake, glowing review, save your money and write one yourself and attribute it to David Manning of the Ridgefield Press. Or set up a Geocities web site for free and call it “USACoolMovies.” Then feel free to quote it as needed. It’ll have as much credibility as a good pull quote from any of the On The Air sites.

And after all that, if you’re dying to spend $800, just send a check to me, care of FilmThreat.com, 5042 Wilshire Blvd. P.M.B. 1500, Los Angeles, CA 90036 USA.




Posted on May 30, 2003 in Features by

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