Hollywood Movies

Survive ’til ’25

April 4, 20245 Mins Read

We are four months into 2025, and the year already has a slogan: “Survive til 25.” This damning phrase has been uttered by agents, managers, lawyers, producers, studio execs, prop masters, and everyone in between. But what does it actually mean?

Today, I want to get into the phrase and talk about why people are saying it.

Let’s dive in.

“Survive ’til ’25”

I first heard this line from a friend who is an executive, and it ran a chill down my spine. Then, on the popular podcasts The Ankler and The Town, this terminology came up time and time again as each talked about what to expect from Hollywood this year.

The idea behind it is that Hollywood is in a state of contraction in 2024. We have less TV shows, less movies, there are less executive jobs, more layoffs, and more strife.

And if IATSE isn’t given a fair deal, there could be another strike, throwing the production that is happening completely out of whack.

People are bucking down and saving money, getting side jobs, and companies are even trying to roll over development funds for a more fruitful time.

How did we get ot this famine?

The Contraction Of Hollywood

The Contraction Of Hollywood‘Star Wars’CREDIT: 20th Century Fox

We’ve talked about the contraction before, but it bears repeating here.

The rise of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ has changed how people watch movies and TV shows. People are subscribing to multiple services, but there’s only so much content they can consume. This means less reliance on traditional cable and movie theaters, hurting revenue for Hollywood studios.

These studios have tried to get into the streaming game, but many have found it to be a money-suck that takes a long time to develop.

Plus, they have a lot of competition.

With so many streaming services, there’s pressure to constantly produce new content. Studios were spending a lot on big-budget shows, but now investors are demanding profitability, leading to a shift away from “at any cost” content creation.

And the issues ripple through traditional formats as well.

The decline of traditional TV advertising and movie theater attendance is another blow.

Streaming services are trying to bring advertising to them, but they have to get over audience expectations of wanting commercial free things.

Because streaming services prioritized getting subscribers over actually turning a profit, they all put themselves in the red chasing Netflix, and caused this contraction to be an even bigger issue.

There’s also the immediate rise in AI. Now, people are fearing for their jobs as the business side of Hollywood work to cut costs. Many see AI as the answer. It’s not just for VFX but script coverage as well. Automation will lead to the shrinking of the workforce.

And finally, the COVID-19 pandemic also disrupted productions, caused theater closures, and shifted audience behavior. The industry is still feeling the aftereffects.

We are in an unprecedented time.

What Are Filmmakers Supposed to Do? 

In a word…survive! This may not be the best time to push a spec on the market, but there are a lot of things filmmakers can do outside of Hollywood. You could make your indie project or short film, or just use this year to make more money to last you in other times.

I also think this is a great year to write your screenplays, whether in features or TV shows, to get ready to package and sell in the first quarter of 2025, especially if people have more money to spend.

Along with that, this actually might be a good time to package that indie film, especially if studios are moving slow. there will be actors who are available to shoot and don’t want to take a year off of work.

There has never been a better time for independent producers to attach to screenplays. If they have good sources and relationship,s they may be able to gather financing from people who want to make something right now. But they have to be good at their jobs.

People are looking abroad for money. There are massive finance institutions in Saudi Arabia looking to make movies, as well as Italy and kickbacks all over Europe.

You can take a package to a foreign financier and if they like the attachments, you can get a good deal to shoot in their country, or secure distribution or financing. Then make the movie and come back and try to sell it to one of the streamers or studios here who have been cutting back on making content.

I’m not sure any of this is what you wanted to hear, and I didn;t love typing it. But it is something you have to be aware of if you want to navigate the business side of Hollywood as well as the creative.

If you want my advice, it’s to hunker down and write things that matter to you. Talk to your friends and try to work with them. Build something with the people closest to you outside the industry.

Show up at IATSE events to show strength so the studios know they should give them a good deal to avoid the strike.

And above all else, save as much cash as you can.

Recoveries take time. We’re on the verge of more consolidation and many more changes. We’ll do our best to keep you updated on what’s coming.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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