Some people have dubbed the ’70s the golden age of film. Movies had been around long enough for filmmakers to learn from their predecessors and perfect the craft, and most importantly it came after the end of the American government’s strict censorship on film, otherwise known as the Hays Code (Motion Picture Production Code) in 1968–the reason why people in old movies slept in different beds, didn’t kiss for longer than three seconds, and rarely got away with portraying interracial relationships. We got movies like “Star Wars,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Jaws,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rocky,” “Chinatown” and “The Godfather” parts one and two. The list goes on and on–this was a decade of the greats, as far as movies go.
Like the end of the Hays Code, another major change has hit Hollywood in recent years, having a similarly significant impact on our society: the dawn of digital film. George Lucas took major steps in popularizing this when he made “Star Wars: Episode II” and filmed it digitally. This was quite the controversial subject throughout Hollywood, but it was also a game changer.
Digital film did a lot of things. For starters, it seriously empowered television, getting it to be taken more seriously as it had always been secondary to movies. Shows like “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead” or “Vikings” would not have been possible twenty years ago, television wasn’t given that kind of budget or taken nearly that seriously.
The dawn of digital filmmaking has effects throughout Hollywood that have changed the very fabric of the business–bringing new blood in from indie productions that can now afford to be players in the game, for one. But it also runs hand-in-hand with the dawn of the internet, which has made the distribution process a hundred times easier. Now you can spend a few hundred thousand dollars (nothing when it comes to movies), make a movie and suddenly be a significant competitor once it’s uploaded.