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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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17

Distributed Creativity in Film and Television

Three Case Studies of Networked Production Labor

John T. Caldwell, M. J. Clarke, Erin Hill, and Eric Vanstrom

ABSTRACT

This chapter will examine the systematic ways in which cultures of facilitation and “distributed creation” fuel Hollywood corporate, labor, and creative practices. The study brings together three substantial but largely invisible, ignored, or camouflaged sectors of Hollywood that are fundamentally important in the creation of film/TV screen content, yet have received scant attention from either scholars or critics: assistanting, marketing research rituals, and content development outsourcing. All three areas help constitute the industry's production infrastructure, which can be thought of, alternately, as interpersonal and inter-organizational networks through which the task of content creation is “distributed,” or as “catalytic” sites of mediation and negotiation that are subsequently erased by above-the-line creative executives: these habitually highjack credit for Hollywood's content creation on the basis of professional postures of managerial or personal exceptionalism.

Introduction

John T. Caldwell

The genius of the Hollywood production system for film and television lies in two interrelated workaday habits. The system excels at effectively “distributing creativity” to teams of artists and contract workers, even as it “harvests” and manages this collective idea churning into months-long and complex narratives ...

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