WME's Graham Taylor's LAFF Keynote: "We are in a revolution and now is our time."

by Anne Thompson
June 18, 2011 9:31 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood
WME's Graham Taylor is a pivotal player on the indie financing/packaging/selling scene. He moved from Endeavor to take over WME's Global unit after the agency merger. Here's some of his speech from the LAFF's "Money Talks & Art Matters" panel series: the full length version is here.

Never in the history of the movie business has there been a better time for the Independents to be entrepreneurial. The balance of power between Studios, Indies and Consumers is changing. Whether you are a filmmaker, producer, financier, distributer, or executive, now is the time to embrace the change. We are after all in the middle of a revolution, and nobody puts baby in the corner..The convergence of film, art and commerce...

This is a subject I am pretty well versed on...as a former producer and now as an agent, I am still right in the middle of the relationship between the artist and the money. A couples therapist, if you will.

LAFF titled this morning’s discussion “Money Talks and Art Matters.”I build companies, enable artists and activate content. For me it’s simple: I love movies and I love the movie business.

Like all of us, I have unwittingly found myself front and center in the time of a revolution, when the only way to act is entrepreneurially. In order to operate effectively I have had to relearn lessons from the past. After all, in the movie business history has a funny way of repeating itself...

So here is a brief to-do list for us to improve our ecosystem:

We have to encourage young people.

We can’t be an agist business where we cast off older filmmakers.

It’s important to have a strong point of view.

It’s easy to be the person who points out how nothing will ever work. It’s much harder to take a leap of faith and challenge yourself when things do blow up. We never got anywhere in life by playing it safe.

You should take the time to tweet and blog. And for those of you who comment on Deadline, if you have something positive to say, something that offers real reflection and insight, even critical thought then we should throw you a float parade. But for all of those people who are just spreading hate, you should enjoy a large glass of go fuck yourself.

It doesn’t hurt to have a sense of humor.

Don’t stand for apathy and cynicism in either the creative or business communities as it is ultimately cancerous to the evolution of art.

In closing: I’m not an optimist because I’m a lunatic. It’s a learned optimism, one that’s founded upon years of experience, tenacity, and perseverance in this business. We have to be educated on the issues and challenges that face us. I have not gone into the economic issues today as they are well-documented and we are bombarded with them every day. BORING!

What’s not boring is making shit happen.

We are the inmates taking over the asylum. We Build, Enable and Activate content, financing and distribution.

We are in a revolution and now is our time. We finally have a bigger seat at the table.

[Photo: Graham Taylor and producer Lynnette Howell at Cannes.]


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