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Technology is creating opportunities - and disruption - in the entertainment industry, said film producer Cary Woods during a Feb. 26 Kellogg appearance.

‘Scream’ producer Cary Woods visits Kellogg

Despite challenges, film industry not horror show, he tells students

By Aubrey Henretty

2/28/2008 - “This Sunday night’s Oscars had the lowest ratings in the history of the Academy Awards,” said film producer and writer Cary Woods during a Feb. 26 visit to the Kellogg School. “The media business is in flux in every single way possible,” he added. “It’s an exciting time for you guys.”

Woods, whose best known productions include “Scream” and “Swingers,” spoke to students in the Kellogg Media and Entertainment Club at the Donald P. Jacobs Center. The informal Q&A session was moderated by Adjunct Professor Michael Smith, director of the Kellogg School’s Media Management Program.

Asked whether the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the critics matter anymore, Woods said that while small independent films may still depend on critics, there is “a certain kind of movie with a certain kind of trailer and not a lot of competition” widely regarded as “critic-proof.” For example, he pointed to the scorching review of the big-budget “Vantage Point” that recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

“The audience for that movie isn’t reading Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal,” he said — they’ll go see it no matter what the critic says.

Woods also discussed the evolution of independent filmmaking, which he said is on the rise partly because of the newly lowered barriers to entry. “One can now shoot a movie digitally and edit it on your Mac — that wouldn’t have been possible 15 years ago,” he said. But Hollywood still has much to offer. “There is a wealth of talent — a pool of talent — that exists in Hollywood that young filmmakers can benefit from,” said Woods, adding that while a budding musician with a computer might be able to record an album alone in his basement, a filmmaker still needs, at the very least, a cast. “Movies are a much more collaborative medium than music,” he noted.

One thing that hasn’t changed for indie filmmakers, Woods said, is the imperative to keep an eye on their projects even after they’ve turned over the finished products to promoters:

“It’s important to stay connected to the process.”