From the dawn of modern movies, the big screen has provided
filmmakers with the canvas they've needed to create epic, visionary
tales set against large, sweeping landscapes - think D.W. Griffith
or Peter Jackson. But in the new digital era, the cinematic
experience no longer dominates popular entertainment, even though it
is still one of its primary drivers.
Increasingly, audiences are using their visual media to fit their
lifestyles, whether at home or on the move, sacrificing screen size
for the ease of access and portability. Computers, cellphones, Game
Boys, even grocery checkout screens are all being pressed into
service as entertainment venues. But, while quality content is still
king, one size doesn't fit all. (Just try watching "Star Wars" in
the palm of your hand - can you even find Yoda?) As the novelty of
watching anything and everything on smaller devices wears off, the
media revolution is spurring filmmakers, studios, and viewers alike
to ask themselves what role screen size plays in delivering the best
value for the entertainment dollar. Answer: Each size requires, and
is increasingly inspiring, uniquely tailored material.
The challenge is inspiring Hollywood, where A-listers such as
small-screen producer Steven Bochco ("NYPD Blue," "Hill Street
Blues") and film star Morgan Freeman have both recently announced
partnerships to create material for new media (cellphones and
websites). New short-form narratives from Mr. Bochco are scheduled
to appear on the Metacafe website as early as January.
Expect more of the same from the creative community, says Frank
Chindamo, president and chief creative officer of
FunLittleMovies.com, which is based in Burbank, Calif. Every
technological leap has been matched by a new form of storytelling,
he adds. Cinema was the first form of filmed entertainment. Then TV
arrived and that meant that the TV show had to be invented, observes
Mr. Chindamo. This new, more intimate form was a hybrid of theater,
vaudeville, music, and radio. "Now there are whole new forms of
entertainment on the Internet and mobiles and they're still figuring
that out," he adds.
Determining the right kind of entertainment for a given screen
size is like assessing real estate, says Michael Krupat, vice
president, Television Group for City Lights Media Group. It's all
about location. Where and when is the content being watched?
Mr. Krupat's firm creates content for virtually every platform,
from theatrical films to television, computers to cellphones. "We
have to be very careful," he says. "We have to think about size
because each screen requires that you do things differently."
He points to his firm's recent mobile phone series, "Dingo Ate My
Video," starring puppet versions of a dingo and a baby. …