“There’s all this opportunity for innovation, yet the innovation is lacking primarily because most of the software that’s been built up to this point has been dictated by user need,” said Weiler, who is developing a “Lord of the Flies” kind of genre project called “Hope Is Missing” about a sleep pandemic for which he’s collaborating with scientists and engaging real people to determine the storyline. “I honestly believe that story is going to drive the next generation of mobile and social applications. So storytellers are going to be in an amazing place.”
Discussing the "eco-systems" being created by YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and others, Margolin, who has been in the distribution business for more than 25 years, said, "Curation becomes critical in helping audiences find and sort through and make sense of the choices that are available to them. So we as aggregators and distributors play an important role in all three — being disrupters, enabling access and also curating. We’re at the dawn of a new age. It’s trying for filmmakers, rights holders and distributors, but at the same time there are so many opportunities, and we’re looking at experimenting and disrupting a lot. So much so that I’m getting daily phone calls saying, ‘What did you just do?’ from our distribution partners. And that’s part of the game. In this environment, you have to be willing to take risks."
“As stories become more impactful and more meaningful, a huge opportunity moving forward is found within those who are ‘formerly known as the audience,’” said Weiler, who has been working on a “collected learning” project involving a tiny robot called Laika that a pair of fifth-grade classes has been able to move around the country using their curriculum and other measurable stimuli (eventually, the artwork and stories that are inspired by the process will be shot into space by NASA). “Just figuring out ways to give them agency, to give them value within the process. Any time I ever bring this up, storytellers who hold on to auteur theory are terrified, ‘Oh my God, it’s all going to go to crap, how are we going to have anything of quality?’ But it’s all about collaborative filtering, and it’s about conversation.”
“Reviewers are ceding their own obsolescence, and I don’t really understand why,” said Sloss. “They’ll give front-page coverage to review-proof films, and they’ll trash them with no impact. And then there are the films like ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ that will get capsule reviews, and those are films they could impact. I guess by the same token, the idea that they are insisting that it appear in a theater before they review it, even though it’s a film that’s worthy of their review regardless of the cut, is a distinction I don’t understand.”
"For me, the reinvention is about what you do with the stories, and how you get the stories out, and how you make them valuable," Weiler says. "Because in the end, it’s a three-tiered thing: Is it fun, is it social and participatory? Is somebody emotionally invested in it? Is it something that somebody will effectively move forward and want to share with somebody else? We can move past the commoditization and finally move it to the point where story can really take hold, as it should in the 21st century."