Film Industry Research

Why More Research is Needed

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Why More Research is Needed

All of the suggestions in the list of research questions which follows, are based on a perception of the motion picture industry, a perception that is formed on available information. Those perceptions can only be as good as the information that is available. That information is principally represented by the extensive bibliography at this website as well as appended to each of the books about the U.S. film industry authored by the Los Angeles-based securities/entertainment attorney John W. Cones. However, there is a considerable amount of evidence to suggest that the available information is inadequate, either because much of it is biased or because so many questions have gone unexplored and unanswered. This compilation provides an extensive list of research projects to be undertaken by the academic community, investigative journalists or authors, professional associations, individual attorneys, government agencies, law students, law professors and others concerned with the problems discussed in the books about Hollywood written by John Cones and others.

Another of the major criticisms contained in John Cones' Hollywood book series is the assertion that most all of the above listed institutions or individuals have allowed the major studio/distributors to intimidate them and prevent the development of better information regarding the way the film industry actually conducts its business, and with what results. Hopefully this list of research projects and the associated book series will help reverse that trend and tendency.

As George Custen points out, "[i]n general, there are few grounded analyses in film studies that use large systematically selected samples of films." Custen's excellent work, Bio/Pics--How Hollywood Constructed Public History is an exception to that general rule. Custen goes on to report that the " . . . methods of the various social sciences have only sporadically been brought to bear upon Hollywood." It is thus critically important that more research be done, and that it be accomplished using the methodology of the social scientists.

For example, leaders of all groups who are consistently portrayed in Hollywood motion pictures in a negative or stereotypical manner should regularly conduct studies of such portrayals and report to the public about the results, so that some umbrella organization can then assemble these annual reports over a period of time and publish them in the form of a book that will be available to all.

As another example, religious leaders throughout the U.S. and the world should systematically analyze the entire body of work provided thus far by the American film industry or the so-called major studio/distributors to determine whether (and on which topics) there is a consistent pattern of bias against such religions in Hollywood films. Once confirmed, these religious leaders should not bother to try to change the behavior of the film moguls, but instead, petition Congress, and pursue the other remedies set forth in the book Motion Picture Industry Reform seeking to assure that all interest groups, including religions have the same opportunity to produce and release films containing a more balanced presentation of issues of concern to them, including religious issues.

These 150 or so suggested research questions are organized into 11 categories including a Miscellaneous grouping at the end. The other categories are Patterns of Bias, Discrimination, Financing, the Numbers Game, Distribution, Antitrust, RICO, Political Activism, Litigation, Historical and Academy Awards. Some of the research questions represent the matters discussed in John Cones' Hollywood book series. In other instances, the questions represent issues that were not fully developed in the book series. The list is not intended to be exhaustive of the kinds of research that can be done with respect to film industry issues. A need for a great deal of valuable research remains.

Use the "Comment" facility provided to submit additional research questions that might be of value to future researchers of film industry-related questions.

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