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Mr. Dodd Goes to Las Vegas

by Melissa Silverstein
March 30, 2011 3:30 AM
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Chris Dodd, former Senator from Connecticut, took over as Hollywood's chief lobbyist as the head of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) about 10 days ago. Keep in mind that the former Senator is barred from lobbying himself for the next 18 months, but that should not prevent him from trying to raise the profile of the six studios who make up the MPAA.

The job of the MPAA is not to represent the whole industry. The MPAA only represents the big studios. It represents the issues that effect those studios. That has always annoyed me. The biggest issue on the mind of big Hollywood is piracy. Piracy is an issue that not only effects the big studios. It effects everyone. And everyone is trying to fight it.

Dodd made his debut at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, the event where the studios come and show their summer fare to the theatre owners. The man has a lot to learn about the film business but not any more than Dan Glickman did when the former Secretary of Agriculture became the head of the MPAA. But the industry is not looking for a movie person, they are looking for a Washington insider who will be able to get the ears of the right people for their issues.

I've always liked Chris Dodd. I think he's an effective advocate. He was right when he said in his speech that people don't understand the industry. People just see the glamor because that's what the media covers. They don't see all the people who the industry employs and doesn't process the fact that most of the people who work in the business are blue collar workers from the ticket takers to the gaffers. All these people need their jobs just like everyone else.

I know that he works for the big studios, but I also know that he is a dad of young daughters and I hope that keeps him attuned to how women are portrayed onscreen. It has always looked like the CEO of the MPAA is in place to serve at the pleasure of the studios and they create the agenda and he fulfills that agenda. Here's to hoping that Chris Dodd remembers the bigger picture and that how women and people of color are portrayed in films is part of what he should be thinking about too.

Here's a section of his speech:

Going to the movies together as a community has stitched together the fabric of American society in a way that few other institutions ever have or could, providing a nation of incredible diversity with a common cultural vocabulary and a common understanding of ourselves. What’s at stake as we face these challenges is nothing short of the preservation and renewal of this quintessentially American communal tradition. Those who have come before us built the partnership between producers, distributors and exhibitors, which has sustained that tradition for almost a century.

Read the full speech here from Thompson on Hollywood

MPAA Chief Christopher Dodd: Hollywood Is 'Terrible' at Marketing Itself (Hollywood Reporter)

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