My Hollywood Christmas Wish List

More theaters go digital, Nielsen includes DVRs …

Last Updated: December 20, 2009 @ 3:03 PM

So it’s that time of year again. What do you want for Christmas or Hanukah or Kwanza or Ramadan or Tet or…. Ah, screw Bill O’Reilly, what do you want for the Holidays?

I know what I want.

What I really want is for my novel to be published and become a bestseller, and for my screenplay to be produced or at least optioned.

Okay, that’s the megalomaniacal super villain wish list. I have a megalomaniacal altruistic wish list, too.

First obviously is for world peace. And the second is for the stupid economy to finally get revving again. (It reminds me of my car a few months ago. It just wouldn’t turn over until the third or fourth try.)

The rest is more Hollywood/writing related:

That theaters finally go digital in 2010: The theater chains have been moving with glacial speed to adopt digital projection. Consider that by now every billboard in the country has gone digital already. I hope Santa delivers a rocket up the keister to the major chains. This has the potential to spur the biggest media revolution. A fully digital theater network has zero distribution costs. None. Zip.

If a theater owner wants your film, he doesn’t have to go to Obscure Movie Distributors in Baldwin Park, he can just download it himself. "Paranormal Activity" has already pioneered the movie-release-by-demand idea. It could be integrated into the theaters themselves. Movie posters could be replaced by digital touch screens that can advertise multiple movies. Theatergoers can choose for themselves which movies look the most interesting and theater owners can download those movies.
The theater of 2010 will look (I hope) like a Best Buy on steroids with tech everywhere and offering a huge selection of movie choices (which means more movies will have to be made, yay!)
That the Nielsen Ratings will finally include DVR, downloads and internet viewing: It’s ridiculous that shows are still being graded pretty much the same way as "$64,000 Question" was back in the ’50s. We’re a mobile society now, get with the times. The networks could make this easier by making new episodes available for download and TV viewing the date that they air.
Consider that under the current system, the guy who fell asleep in front of the tube has more sway over your TV viewing than the guy who religiously follows a dozen shows through his computer or DVR.
That the reading public embrace downloadable short stories and magazines: To quote Egon Spengler, “Print is dead.” Actually the public has done pretty well online novels. Several free sites and podcasts have lead to actual book deals. So it’s a case of “Print is dead, long live print!” But story lovers can do more. The short story markets, vital to help develop new writing talent, are slowing dying. As much as I hate to see periodicals like Asimov’s SF and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery disappear, it seems inevitable that they will. It would be great if those mags could be reborn in a downloadable Kindle format. Maybe.
Those are my wishes for 2010. Hope they come true. Starting with the very top.

Michael Lee is a novel writer, blogger and freelance journalist living in L.A. He's been a judge for the prestigious PAGE Awards and blogs about his two biggest passions, screenwriting and food, at Screenwriting Foxhole and To Cook and Eat in L.A., respectively. Lee is also a co-author of "The Insider's Guide to Screenwriting" and has just published his first novel, "My Frankenstein."