by Shelt Garner
Hollywood, we got a problem. It’s at least within the realm of possibility that not only will all entertainment production shut down soon because of a pandemic, but people will stop going to the movies for a solid year. If you work on the assumption that for about a year — until a vaccine is finally approved and mass produced — some fundimental assumptions about everyday life will be suspended then Hollywood as we know it is a Dead Man Walking.
By the time things go “back to normal,” we may not even have a traditional Hollywood anymore. “Immersive media” in the guise of VR and AR may pop out of the rubble and take over the entertainment world. But another thing to remember — when will the crisis reach such levels that there aren’t live studio audiences for late night talk shows? Or everyone on TV starts to wear a mask? The issue is if you see the coming pandemic in the United States as a process, not an event, a “new normal” will happen at some point where we move past the “event” stage into the “process” stage where everyday life begins to come back, albeit in a dramatically different form. It will be surreal, at first, but it will have to be done.
The whole thing is going to suck. But at some point The Powers That Be are going to encourage “normal” TV to come back for no other reason than to make the life of pandemic — where everyone has to stay inside — at least a bit more bearable. Remember, whatever the pandemic is called will be, will said in the same breath as the Civil War and World War 2. So, eventually, inevitably, we’ll figure out some way to go back to “normal” while we wait for it to end.
But one thing that will be interesting to look at will be the rise of Immersive Media. How fast will that happen? Telepresence will be a huge growth industry in the middle of a pandemic. It will be interesting to see how that will work out specifically.
I am curious what will happen to music. Will someone write a pop song that alludes to the effects of a pandemic? How would they pull it off? I’m tempted to write some doggerel. But I see writing song lyrics a huge waste of time when I have a novel to develop and write. But someone should start thinking about that.
In the end, even with a pandemic all around us, life will go on. People will have sex. Babies will be born. People will die.
Life will go on.