About The Hollywood Film Industry

The Hollywood film industry is an amalgamation of technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking. It generally consists of film production companies, film studios, cinematography, film production, screenwriting, pre-production, post production, film festivals, actors, directors, and film personnel.

Today the Hollywood film industry is positioned across the world. In this 21st century, the major business centers of filmmaking are concentrated in United States, India and China. Hollywood is a district in Los Angeles, California that is situated in west- northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and cultural individuality of movie studios and movie stars, the word Hollywood is often used as a connotation for the cinema of United States which is popularly known as the Hollywood film Industry.

The history of the Hollywood Film Industry probably started in the hands of D.W. Griffith when the Biograph Company sent him and his crew. They started filming on a vacant lot in downtown Los Angeles in early 1910. Soon the company decided to explore new territories to find that the region was quite friendly and enjoyable for shooting.

Therefore, Griffith filmed the first ever movie shot in Hollywood. The title of the film was “In Old California”. The movie company then stayed there for months to shoot several of their films and returned to New York.

Starting in 1913, this wonderful place came into the limelight when moviemakers started heading to the west. The first feature film made in Hollywood was called ‘The Squaw Man” This resulted in the birth of Hollywood Film Industry.

Nestor Studio, founded in 1911 was the first movie studio in Hollywood. Fifteen other small studios also settled in Hollywood. Gradually, Hollywood came to be so powerfully associated with the film industry that this term began to be used as a synonym for the entire industry.

During the time period of the first World War, Hollywood become the movie capital of the world. Previously mentioned, Nester studio became the Hollywood Digital Laboratory. By the year 1950, music recording studios and offices began moving to Hollywood, though much of the movie industry remained there.

The world famous Hollywood Walk of Fame was constructed in the year 1958 and the first star was placed in 1960. The Walk of Fame was placed as a tribute to the artists working in the entertainment industry. It is embedded with more than 2,000 five pointed stars featuring the names of celebrities, as well as fictional characters.

Self-financing Hollywood Historic Trust maintains this Walk of Fame. The first star to receive this honor was Joanne Woodward. The artist received a star based on career and lifetime achievements in motion pictures, live theatres, radio, television, and music.

The famous Hollywood symbol, originally read Hollywoodland, was constructed in the year 1923 as an advertisement of a new housing development. The sign was left to worsen until in 1949 the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce repaired and removed the last four letters.

The sign located at Mount Lee, is now a registered trademark hence cannot be used without the permission of the Chamber of Commerce.

The Hollywood Film Industry can be called the Mecca of film industries. Though geographically it is located in Hollywood, it resides in the hearts of millions of film lovers and film related personalities. Hollywood remains and will remain a king, without a scepter.

Future of Global Movie Industry

Capturing and holding audiences from all the continents isn’t easy. Many have tried.

Modern mass entertainment often serves as a deeper and more important global language than English. That is because present day Hollywood industry inadvertently created a process that increasingly touches upon basic physiological human needs and aspirations. Profit driven use of visuals, characters, and themes (that were scientifically researched to be as marketable and appealing to widest possible multi-ethnic audience) is steadily pushing towards a universal formula. Although we’re still at a point where the appealing “supranational” characteristics of mainstream Hollywood involve the usual (explosions, special effects, sex appeal, mental escape through hyperindividualistic protagonists, etc), we will begin to see deeper basic cinematic themes emerge that cut across all cultures in the near future. The basic reasons will be:

1) Same corporate profit motive that gave us the rise of neuromarketing will push for figuring out physiological substrata that makes simultaneous global release movies more emotionally appealing. Digital piracy will make physical movie spaces ever more important for revenue generation. Conversion of movie theaters into expensive 3D/concert/theater type spectacles will need research to be successful. You WILL be satisfied with the global release whether you’re in Nigeria, Japan, Ecuador, Texas, etc.

2) Emerging Internet culture finding its way to the mainstream as globe trotting generation Y takes charge of the industry.

3) Dawning realization by Western elites that globalization has stalled. Their scramble to rethink and proactively improve globalization and its integrative forces. Goal of preventing a major and rapid slide into mercantilist (potentially even hostile!) continental economic blocks will see elite efforts to create stronger intercontinental “glue”. Efforts towards discovery of media/art/Internet driven truly global culture should be part of the effort. Most states currently subsidize their movie industries behind the scenes as national propaganda PR moves. This practice can be turned on its head if applied towards supranational themes and purposes.

The spread of this Hollywood lingua franca is a microcosm of globalization itself. When analyzing integrative processes of globalization, special attention should be given to the film industry in particular.

Until relatively recently, Hollywood released its mega movies domestically first and abroad only months later. Then, to combat immediate digital piracy from places like China it became a more common practice to have simultaneous global openings for very big budget titles. The preparation and logistical coordination of this represented stage three in the emergence of a truly globalized film industry.

Lets briefly go through the stages:

1) 1950s-1980s: Mass cultural exports of the post-war period. Influx of Hollywood products into occupied territories and satellite states. Increasing cooperation between West European studios/agencies and Hollywood resulting in an international entertainment business sphere. Some partial work done on “universal” values within the ideological framing context of the cold war. Both Western and Soviet intelligence have a heavy role in informational shaping of entertainment to influence perceptions of the present world and prime expectations of how the world’s future will develop (the dystopian-utopian spectrum of how the 21st century was popularly portrayed in movies is an interesting example of this). Genuine attempt at discovering universal values is hidden and distorted by individual private and corporate interests behind the militaries of the NATO pact.

2) 1980s-1990s: Hollywood studios rapidly expand beyond NATO’s sphere of influence and become truly global as most markets are now accessible. Majority of key studio revenue now comes from abroad. Consolidation in number of transnational media corporations that own the studios. Streamlining of their operations along lines of fellow tangible good producing transnational companies. Rapid horizontal creation of international links to reduce costs and create an immediate global reservoir of cheaper talent, locations, and equipment. Actors and actresses become supranational super celebrities recognized anywhere. Global businesses are increasingly synchronized in space and time.

3) 2000- present: Merging of dozens of national and regional markets into one planetary market that allows rapid global penetration and hype generation (via local auxiliaries). Simultaneous global cinema and disc openings. “Epic” large cash infusion Hollywood movie making style is rapidly emulated by other players like Beijing and Moscow. Besides profit, this is partially done to increase their soft power and control domestically. For non-Western (particularly BRIC) powers to be successful with their mass media projects, they need to absorb/buy Hollywood’s cutting edge technical, CGI, and art talent. That is already happening and is currently causing peripheral cooperation/merging between movie studios of all key regional political powers on earth.

Our Outstanding Movie Industry

The degree of plagiarism that has always existed is mind numbing. The worst part is that it exists not only blatantly, which everybody notices and comments on, but also on subtle and nuanced levels; and it is indulged in by the stalwarts of Indian moviedom. How often have we winced at the use of the James Bond theme music in the action sequences of so many Hindi movies of the sixties and the seventies or have been left bemused watching Shammi Kapoor croon Yar Dilruba, the Hindi equivalent of Elvis’s Don’t be Cruel.

How so many English songs from eclectic sources ranging from ABBA to the Beatles to Osibisa and movie theme tracks like Chariots of Fire have been shamelessly adopted and adapted by leading Indian film music composers like RD Burman, Rajesh Roshan, OP Nayyar, et al defies logic(these guys were capable of and did compose incredible music of their own).

So many of the iconic Hindi film songs are straight lifts from foreign compositions. Take the case of the famous uthe sab ke kadam which is nothing but Polly Wolly Doodle in Hindi. Then there is the self proclaimed cerebral film maker, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, in whose Parineeta, the iconic A kiss to build on Dream on by the inimitable Louis Armstrong has been rendred as kaise paheli hai yeh kaise. Sacrilege! The examples are so numerous that one can’t but wonder at the shamelessness of it all.Jab koi baat bigad jaye is nothing but, When you miss the train I am on. The song Yeh hai Bombay meri jann, which is on the lips of every conceited Mumbiakar is plagiarised from My Darling Clementine.

One could go on and on about the songs, but what about other aspects of our often vaunted film making. Taking the example of Jodha Akbar, the much acclaimed historical bio-pic by the much respected Ashutosh Gowarlikar. The contrived final one on one duel between Akbar and his would be nemesis is almost a replication of the duel between Hector and Achilles in the movie Troy.

Or take the case of the cult movie Agnipath where Amitabh’s character basically rehashes Al Pacino’s potrayal in Scarface, down to the raspy voice. Really what all this shows is two things. One that our movie makers and comoposers are lazy people who would rather play safe and tweak world class content conceptualised elsewhere. And second they take advantage of the gullibility and ignorance of the average Indian film-goer who is not aware that his idols are taking him for a royal ride.

It is no wonder then that the leading film makers of the country including the motor mouth and always with an opinion Mahesh Bhatt oppose the release of dubbed international movies into the Indian market, as that would expose them to their core audience. By some strange coincidence the Mumbai based film industry much in the fashion of the erstwhile Mumbai club of industrialists who resisted the entry of world class products into India (remember the kind of cars we used to drive two decades back), would want the great Indian people to continue to be satisfied with plagiarised re-hashed and borrowed ideas and themes passed on as original content.