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Netflix's Hollywood Ambition…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts from BBC Radio 4 hello this week in Los Angeles for the 94th Academy Awards which take place on Sunday I'm standing on the terrace of a Netflix office in the heart of Hollywood that iconic white painted Hollywood sign lumi out of the hills behind me or at Netflix because this year One film in particular is attracting a lot of Oscars attention ciampino not into town to get to college directed by Jane Campion and starring Benedict Cumberbatch is a slow burning Western about two warring Brothers on a ranch 1920s Montana it's up for 12 nominations including the highly coveted best picture and one man will be watching Sundays proceedings with trepidation is Scott stuber head of global films at Netflix

The film wins best picture it will be the first time and Netflix made films has done so off the Roma and the Irishman fell short in recent years Scott is my guest on today's Media show where will be discussing the Netflix is having on the film industry for good or ill and what he sees as the future of film.

Scott welcome to media show, thank you so much for coming on let's start with your own story of how you got into fell because I think long before you become a film executive who made your debut as an actor in 32 as a policeman, did you always want to be around a film set in when I was young? I love films and sports things I really loved and universities to study film and when I was at work for a filmmaker in Richard Donner and his wife Lauren shuler donner produced herself.

We were producing Free Willy and Dec always loved to put people who are working with him in the movie is and so for me and I realised quickly I'm going to leave this to the pros and I was like I'm better behind the scenes in front of the camera, but you don't want to the great things I learnt early on having done like screenwriting and University and acting is is empathy right at the end of the day creative endeavour in in my job is to actually improvise with the artist and make sure that I'm deleting the best experience with them.

The best thing about what I do is I'm always 13 years old because you can always dream and then I think the worst thing is always 13th as you get in security of putting yourself out there and putting a performance and that film and every director has that anxiety that has her heart is going to be received by the critics for the audience in the best wine and so having done it at least I understand the challenges of it is up to become an executive producer at Universal Studios on Blockbuster comedies like you me and Dupree the Break-Up which dog Jennifer Aniston and Ted fast forward to 2017 that was when you became head films on Netflix having been offered that job by the chief content officer arrested and surround us when you said yes, I mean I think you have said that part of it was about thinking that certain films might not be made the likes of taxi driver do the right thing on the piano, but they might not get made in mainstream film making these days and you wanted to make them just why did you feel like that? What was your view on what was

Nose in someone hours at Universal we had DVD and there was there was a bility with the business model to do a lot of different things so when I was young executive.

I had a year where I would be exactly what a beautiful in Fast and Furious in the best man.

Really diverse uniquely different stories and I can see and I think a lot of Italy in industry were getting frustrated.

We were pretty much IP driven animation low budget horror films in the Grave in the artistry of Mr Incredible but there's so many young filmmakers at want to tell their stories in sofa me when I recognise that in have those things out of it by what can we define ourselves as in that was the exciting opportunity was like let me go out to the filmmakers who don't really in their vision wanna tell those kind of stories, but they want to know what they tell and give someone like Alphonse around to say I won't tell my story and Roma that how I grew up in Spanish in black and white and be a place that actually could champagne that and treat it like a superhero movie.

Cos we found a lot of incredibly talented people want to come here and tell the stories about Netflix did you have any idea that it would revolutionise?

No, I mean it's funny when I was back at Universal we had some access to cable channel is showing the States and we looked at it as a potential way that kind of build out or continent build out the way to tell story that time it was way too early to think of it and you know Franklin when I was thinking about the job my wife and some smart people around including her thinking but go learn a new business.

This is probably away.

They were going to be able to do you things in the future in different ways, so it was probably we can see it coming you can definitely see it coming but you weren't really sure how it would it with it right in the new one sugar companies like apple or Amazon or others and you definitely wasn't sure if the traditional Studios move into it and now we find ourselves in our with everyone in the streaming business Netflix original TV series House of Cards Stranger things the Crown attended to licence films from the likes of Disney or Sony why is it so important for Netflix to control both the plan?

And only IP2 the content that you put on it what I think we realise that are the companies that were licenced to us were going to bring them back and put them on their own platform so we saw that coming.

I think they say when they started in the series business right and then is we started the recognition that film is a global storytelling medium right.

It's one of the great things that travels around the world and we see each other stories and we can actually explain the audience el brazo is really important to be there and get into a competitively so that we can continue to grow the Business of the audience out there can have the ability to see the power of the dog and feel like they're giving entertained in the best possible even attractive but back then how seriously was Netflix taken by major actors when you first started you know it was funny.

I've been lucky enough to be in this business for a while and so I thought I have a big job now.

I'm the head of a new studio on my call everyone and I'll are people going now and I'll wait but we've been friends.

Film revenge film and it was the Beginning at shocked me a minute and kind of made me realise and get more competitive in dig down deep like anything because it was an additional company that had and had any form yet.

I didn't know what it was it in know how the films will get distributed or marketed.

There is nothing Mary at writing so really what you have to do is say after prove it and I think it was really good Franklin feel that kind of pressure in a field that kind of resistance because you can either run and hide when you can say what I have to prove it to people write in so for me was really important that we solicited and made these films with his incredible filmmakers the industry when striving to be great though striving to do things you need for making sure that they're taking care that filmmakers and sharing their stories Around the World in South you know we have a lot to do but in four years.

I'm really proud of where we come and I am pretty sad about will be inform Warriors 2021 talking about the kind of people.

Netflix signed a multi-year deal with Steven Spielberg production company that's committed to make several films here for you all the given the fact that Steven Spielberg's.

Previously said that streaming should not qualify for the Oscars how did you win him over I think the same I mean what I have such a relation for my mother generation of probably many people my age and their 50s were Stephen and the reason when was Star Wars and Jaws and Jaws filmed they were Lightning Bolts that made me dream that I could ever do this in our amazing moments in my life in with my family and I talk to Steven quite a bit like he was a moment with my Mum and I have the sun around it down right down the street and when I took my three kids to watch it again.

It was that same moment with they cried when he died the same way.

I did and how is coming back.

I promise so you know he's someone that I'm walking up now and I think what she's trying to do like all of us is protect it trying to make sure that whatever these new distribution.

Did the core they're protecting the movie business protecting how that great storytelling moves us generationally and makes us want to do it and yes, it's changing you know I will Friday night at the movies was still important was when I was 19 and it's changing because there's video games and his phone is tiktok and all these things but really what we have to do to protect the movie business right and we make young Generations come through and be the next Steven Spielberg and what films is he working on can you give us any details and what budgets will hear talking about a lot of different things we have a big big.

We're just actually putting in development that were talking about which would be very expensive in a bit going to wall creation film and then we've got a couple that I just kind of on the runway.

They were trying to decide but it's so you know is you pointed out.

It's a year multi picture film deal South or just kind of lining up.

We think the first ones will be in Faversham now with the next 3-months and millions of Dollars tens of millions.

Play Sum 41 great really terrific thriller.

That's probably in the 5279 all arrange the big one will be you know in hundreds of millions of all arrange it all comes to fruition.

So you know for us.

It's really the best version of the story and some of sometimes in life because 30 and sometimes it cost £200 equal no work with Netflix what is in it for them? What are you offering them that others aren't you know I think it's another day.

I hope to believe that were good partner.

That's right.

We come out.

I've been lucky enough to be a studio executive producer and I think when you understand that you understand when to put the pressure on the storytelling when they come in.

I've learnt that it is a good studio executive you there early your notes are early your thoughts are really you're looking at the things and then once the film is made you really don't want to micromanage it because it's 14 hour days sometimes 16-hour days.

You will have to be really in that.

Shepperton what you can do trying to accomplish so wait for that story movies I watch horror movies of the 88 minutes and feel like 24-hours long right, so I think it really is about the form.

I think we tried it just matter what division of the filmmaker is in that case it was very upfront that he needed that like to tell that story and we're deeply proud that movie it was hugely successful for us, so it worked apparently you have full Greenlight authority Netflix meaning you can move any pitch into production without needing a sign off of corporate bosses.

How do you decide which films to back is it decades of well-honed Instinct or do you look at the data and see what sells it's listening when I have a great team of executives, so I mean we have a bunch of different conversations when everyone comes to me with what they believe in but it's the end of the day to be a great film exactly has to come from your dad.

Real you have to sit in the Script you have to sit in the filmmaker and his or her Vision and that's what you're right and just like in the theatrical marketplace.

You look at it like you go here.

She's a similar here.

She directed the movie the temperature rating that feels right for that kind of film.

So there's all those factors that you have to take into into your brain into your process, but really want to come down to you better believe in and see you soon that famous Netflix algorithm doesn't play much into these decisions into creative in historical and things like that in terms of the bed now at the end of the day.

It really is a back garden Instinct striking that some of Netflix's biggest successes in film and TV have come from markets outside the US UK so you mentioned Roma Roma was a big success even though it was in Spanish Netflix is TV arm has the big Korean hit in squid game do you think audience taste of becoming more?

I think you know and Simpson what I've learnt.

I think you can tell me where is only think of global it really is you know a lot of times.

We think of spectacle in scope and visual effects for really at the if you think about photos the reference from is a story about family and it is a story that universal in every way and so really at the person at the centre of the story man or woman whatever happened to see whatever if it's an experience.

That's a global movie ride in squid game is a global issue right now about in equity in so to me.

That's the exciting part is yes, the world is getting smaller in terms of use for Global storytellers, but really when you're telling a story like with a stripper film hand of God this nominated.

It's really that family.

It's about pain in loss and how do we figure that out of human beings in Harrogate and those stories are always going to be global because they're human stories in the UK there plans to double the size of Shepperton studios where Netflix has a huge contract.

What will it be in for filmmaker?

New expansion there you know I think it's great places in the world to make film.

I mean it's a second largest market and we've made so many films and having been there for 25 years and my career the artistry.

They are the storytelling is incredible really the craftsmanship the reason you love going there is the production is on in the costumes and all the things so it was really important for me to find us there because of the talent level that is there as well as when you think about when you got to make a film.

I'm asking people that go away from the friends and family going to London as a great version of the right.

It's incredible City Hall Trowbridge food and for me.

I always love being in Belfast to do there.

How much does Netflix come to spend in the UK on films over the next year what we don't determined because you can't figure out.

Where is the best place to shoot you know so it really is right now about the shooting.

Stanwick Abigail that's going to be over there we just finishing allhomes to that was shot over there.

So you know when the film is appropriate and we want to be there we're going to be there as much as we possibly can wear in Russia Netflix announced.

It was suspending at service following the country's invasion of Ukraine you if the world of them that food and doesn't leave do you think that's what they permanently out of it.

I'm going to speculate on that in a business centre many take all of us are feeling the pain of the Ukraine people and what's going on over there.

So it's hard to speculate in business issues.

I think I were hoping for that the you know the disc etc.

So quickly and where please for that.

There's no more loss and then we can all move on and try to find ourselves better Society and not really sure this one doing anything at Netflix to support Ukrainian filmmakers that the end of you know we we are talking about it right in figuring out right now the ways to kind of be supportive and also give funds the people there in try to help all the damage the tempering there and give us many humanitarian issues we can.

Figure out as discussed for what we can do the costume drama bridgerton already broke the mould with diverse casting power of the dog and daughter starring Olivia Colman both have women at the helm but in the Industry at large.

Obviously women and black women in particular are still vastly underrepresented in the movie of history.

What is Netflix doing to address this you know where the one we recognise as a problem right so far us were trying to actually build it from the Inside Out right so when you really think about representation.

It's not only just started within my own group riding making sure that in the room that the decisions are diverse and are talking and supporting the stories and then when you get into making those stories.

We've seen so much in the studies.

We've done it when there's representation behind the camera is representation through it's really looking to make sure that we're doing that in one of the things.

We learn to somebody connect very quickly is women of Colour in particular a very underrepresented in speaking parts and down at the end of the year.

Actually getting a day players and you're giving them a line that woman then get a chance to get a sec hard and then she gets egg hard to get insurance you can have a chance that a career and then you can build to the next viola Davis interview at his the cinematographer the power of the dog nominated for an Oscar as well, and she said you don't we breaking the glass ceiling one film at a time that only 6% of the big films are shot by women are very proud.

We have Rachel Morrison and everywhere was the first two women attending nominated for cinematography, but that shouldn't be the case exactly and so we have to keep pressing and we have to keep doing and I can droughts that I'm proud of that.

We've done because I think we've done a lot of good work, but it's about nanny Netflix with industry we have to do better by then we have to keep pushing this and making sure the word building his pro and building the chance for young people and young people of colour to see themselves on camera in to be behind the camera telling their stories.

That's fed into all of this what I think wasn't been good is I think the business is much more transparent about behaviour.

I think people now have the courage to stand up and say I'm not being and I think it was an enormous amount of bad behaviour across all kinds of areas of this industry and I think now it's time for people to recognise that everyone has the voice everyone has to be respected and if you don't feel like you you can have the courage to stand up in those people will champion that for you and then I think we've got better about I think there's work to do but I've seen a lot of people raise their hand when they're not feeling that have been treated well and there's people that are advocate about instead of saying no now and that I think is a good change the impact on Netflix on the film industry broadly or your phone's best scene in the cinema on the big screen with the crowd at all at home on a smaller screen trying to do in terms of technology and the change and would happen if the audience really wants to be what they want when they want it.

Ring me optionality imperative phrase to say like when you want to sit in the cinema.

We want to make sure it's in the cinema.

You can make that choice and when you want to watch it at home when you want to watch on the subway of the train you can do that as well and I think we were all trying to get the audience to love what we're doing the biggest bronze wine best scene in the cinema in Netflix wanted to it could decide to lengthen that the actual Windows it's called that period when films are exclusively available on in the cinema to months instead of weeks.

Would it that would have given cinema a huge boost particularly after pandemic? Why don't you do that? I think sometimes this information about run on the power of the dog was in places in cinemas exclusively for three to 4 weeks rain and it's still it's right.

So it continues to run an over 2000 screen so I think sometimes people.

And I think also were trying to learn into it so as before the pandemic that window was very long red and it was hard for us and a subscription model to say the consumer you got a pain now and then you gotta wait to see the film how the pandemic has changed from these theoretical models has given us the opportunity to talk to the theatre change around the world and find the right answer and working in two people do say the Netflix killing cinema for example.

Why do you think that was for me that would be terrible someone who loves it so much the way I do I take it is important that work spending that a yes or no because I think I think really when you think about when your new company that I've seen this happen so many fancy your new company and you come into a business that has a theatrical big tent pole entertainment with giant Martin things in your coming in with an original story that is a very hard way to maintain a business right so for us.

We are trying to build a business trying to get up to.

Place of artistry and penetration in width of storytime of these other companies have been doing 400 years and as you do it now.

You're trying to say ok, where is the best way to do this and I think of you look at competitors in the way the Disney and Warner than others are doing it.

They're doing the exact same thing so everyone's trying to say ok? Where is the audience for this movie? I'm gonna put it straight in the Disney plus war.

I'm going to put in cinema and I take a really just because now what you believe the best version of that film is for that party and trading where you think you can do the best in the business with itself in lots of people.

I've spoken to you who saw the power of the dog in a small bit boring and Mr twist about quality estimated Netflix releases one major from each week and your company is prioritising quantity over quality.

I think we realise that like you said earlier that our competitors are in a takeout films off our service to the licence movies were going to go away and so the concern was with the consumers what they have enough will be the storytelling that right so we did scale up very quickly knowing this was coming and as we've done now.

We've looked at it and said ok.

There's a lot of different film animated group documentary group multiple teams here, but were really trying to do it now because there's multiways for these different services at home for me now.

It's Kaylie back, but also recognising the quality is in the other so we will make international films animated films and documentaries that we try to make grateful that audience so we are going to actually reduces the output for that prospective is because now we have to focus on now as much as anything as a notable that all that you now do releases are the top 10 category you don't release details viewing figures for your films.

Why won't you reveal that it feels on?

You know we know when there's a turkey like cats for Netflix you keep a secret we don't know what to flop information rate for the company right and I've said this it's important as a filmmaker.

We learn from our mistakes as much as for my head spray.

We always feel the pain and feels that hid global finally I just want to talk to you about where you see the film industry going what genre is all new Markets are you most excited about you know I think it's bold decade in film.

I think as we figure out all these new distribution models and how we figure out.

How they work best together.

It's going to be exciting to me because I really feel like the 70s with an arrow.

Victoria's and I think you're going to see those new filmmakers come through and there's no voices in the next generation of Jane Campion in Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese in these young filmmakers coming up stories and I even think about it when you talk about it is amazing when I was it filmed school you had a figure out of make your student film and no one would ever see it and now some young person in the world can tell a story and put it online and I can find it or my competitors so I do think it's going to be a great time for new voices around the globe.

I would you take the next big trend is infill.

I do thank you see probably because there's so much in streaming across all these entertainment companies now.

You'll see someone make a big film that relatively quickly the leader bn41 usually there's 2-year Cycles right.

Obviously the most famous is when Peter Jackson and new line given the money make all three films, but are you still doing the job of the Rings so I think you'll see someone make too big.

Was movies in lb 6 months apart instead of two years apart and I think you'll see someone make a big film that then we'll very quickly have a tick and episodes of the series of True you know so that the audience loves that story and the depth of their storytelling will be able to see it very quickly there after and whatever iteration that storyteller dreams about speed about you know the generation that need need things quickly is that how you were the tiktok generation then well, I think we are seeing things in short there entertaining themselves as their own creation riding figurine those things out, but I think we all still love to be transport rate and I think if you can find I think it's really depth of character right if you think of the first Star Wars annual no Star Wars reason now.

You think I was doing some point we would Mandalorian if you could have that quicker if you can move that process along so that found them is ignited much quicker.

I think that's an exciting thing.

The great thing about Generations is they defined their own or in their own culture and I think for acids and pair of the make sure that they still love movies watch movies will change and what will it look like? How old is Ruby watching them?

You know I still think the same to be to be honest.

I don't think there's a better version than watch a film then on the big screen or a big screen in your home.

I don't think those two things will change the people now the Watchmen an iPad or a cell phone, but I think that's her choice but I do think there's something about the width of the screen that gives you the opportunity get lost in the Vision and I think that's what filmmaking is going to be for a long time and is there an actor that you're desperate that you really want to with two Netflix we haven't had yet? What is funny when your measurements even out over I just I love Daniel Day-Lewis I think he's just retired but I just think she's amazing.

I'm a giant Denzel Washington fan.

I just love watching him and Biggs

So, I would my dream was to get the two of them and then we'll be together but that dream come true so I can just get them.

So thank you so much for coming on the media.

Show will be back next week at the same time.

Thank you so much for listening goodbye.

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