Author Topic: Blumhouse Productions  (Read 262 times)  

Online RightHoJeeves

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Blumhouse Productions
« on: October 12, 2017, 07:04:33 PM »
I'm not sure if this is necessarily of any interest to indie authors, but I think it's kind of cool. The Nerdist has just done a podcast interview with Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, which is a Hollywood horror film production company.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think there are interesting parallels with the evolution of the indie publishing industry. Essentially Blumhouse produces cheap horror films (around $1-3 million usually), but he tends to use good film makers, and offers directors a percentage (I assume on top of a fee) of the profits. He puts out numerous films a year, all the same genre. Some are dopey genre fun (like The Purge), others are legitimately excellent films (like Get Out). The most recent one I've seen is Hush, which was a slasher film where the victim is deaf. I think that cost $1m, but the cheapness is built into the conceit because there wasn't any CGI (that I could tell), it used unknown but decent actors, there was like 4 characters, and it was set in a house in the middle of nowhere (didn't have to build sets).

I find it interesting because like indie publishing, he seems to have embraced a business model that is very different to the mainstream studio model. Another interesting thing about it is this model has existed forever (as has self publishing), but I think its only really with a change in the market place and technology that has allowed it to flourish. Good film making technology is cheaper than ever, and streaming services like Netflix love this sort of genre fair, so distribution across cinemas isn't a must. That's similar to indie publishing - you've been able to print whatever you wanted forever, but it was only when Amazon and the Kindle sprung up that it really worked as a mass market thing.

Anyway, worth a listen.

http://nerdist.com/nerdist-podcast-jason-blum/

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Offline ilamont

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Re: Blumhouse Productions
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2017, 07:21:30 PM »
Thanks for sharing this. About a year or two ago, I heard an interview with him as well as some of the directors he has worked with. It really was a fascinating story, and something that interests me because I was developing a framework for lean media production at the time.

Blumhouse & Co. have basically done away with the high-cost film production model in favor of something that is very lean and fast ... and sometimes immensely powerful and profitable. There are parallels with indie publishing, but one thing that's a bit different is he is working with some really experienced talent who (for whatever reason) are no longer hot commodities in Hollywood.

I considered using Blumhouse as an example for the Lean Media book, but one thing that wasn't clear to me was how he was using test audience feedback, which is a very important element of the framework. I will check out the Nerdist interview to see if they get into that aspect of production.

Online RightHoJeeves

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Re: Blumhouse Productions
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2017, 08:08:35 PM »
Blumhouse & Co. have basically done away with the high-cost film production model in favor of something that is very lean and fast ... and sometimes immensely powerful and profitable. There are parallels with indie publishing, but one thing that's a bit different is he is working with some really experienced talent who (for whatever reason) are no longer hot commodities in Hollywood.

Yes, he was on the NPR money podcast a while ago, and he worked with a director (I can't remember who) on a film (I can't remember which), and the director had essentially been blackballed for failing to make mega profitable movies. The Blumhouse film made like $50m off a $2m-or-so budget. Director made around $2m himself off the percentage of the gross. Everyone is happy!

Bizarrely, though, Blumhouse also made Whiplash, which yes, only cost $3m... but was definitely not a horror film and was nominated for Best Picture. Apparently he's also working on an adaptation of the novel Stoner.

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Online Shelley K

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Re: Blumhouse Productions
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2017, 08:15:32 PM »
Blumhouse is connected to an awful lot of horror movies I've enjoyed over the last few years. Thanks for this.

Offline Kate.

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Re: Blumhouse Productions
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2017, 08:52:29 PM »
I love learning more about Blumhouse. Sometimes he takes the cost cutting to extreme lengths. Actors' minimum pay is decided by how many lines they have in the film; less than X lines and they have a very modest pay, more than Y and they need to be paid more. Because of this, Blumhouse encourages his films to be dialogue-lean. In Get Out, they actually filmed some actors from behind while they were speaking, then dubbed over their dialogue, thereby bringing their total number of lines down into a cheaper bracket.

I feel bad for the actors, but it didn't stop it from being a great film.

Online RightHoJeeves

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Re: Blumhouse Productions
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 09:09:54 PM »
In Get Out, they actually filmed some actors from behind while they were speaking, then dubbed over their dialogue, thereby bringing their total number of lines down into a cheaper bracket.

Haha wow, that is certainly cost cutting.

Here's a story from another side of Hollywood: My old high school would run this very extravagant musicals, and they ended up hiring a guy who used to make robots and models for Hollywood productions (I think he retired and came home). Anyway, he worked on the Tim Burton Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. There was a bit in that film where Augustus Gloop is sucked through a clear pipe. For the shot they built a model of the character. It was in the movie for literally less than a second, and the model cost over $100,000 to make. I'm sure Charlie and the Chocolate Factory made a profit, but I'm a little dubious that it had to cost as much as it did when they're spending $100k on less than a second of footage.

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Offline jaehaerys

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Re: Blumhouse Productions
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 10:16:21 PM »
This is a cool subject and is topical for self-publishers. Thanks for creating this thread.  :)