Some of film, television, music and tech’s biggest influencers gathered Thursday for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and Variety‘s 2018 State of the Entertainment Industry Conference.
Producer Vin Di Bona; executives Kristin Cavanaugh of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Christina Derenthal of Paramount Pictures; chamber of commerce chair Donelle Dadigan; and Los Angeles city officials Mitch O’Farrell and Kevin James kicked off the program with opening remarks. They were followed by James Corden. The CBS late-night host introduced music-industry executives Lucian Grainge and Irving Azoff, who spoke with Corden about the business as well as their longstanding friendship.
“Irving doesn’t like one-sided deals,” Grainge said, when talking about the number of times that he and Azoff have negotiated.
“I regularly try to tell people that this isn’t the sports business where somebody has to lose and somebody has to win,” Azoff added.
A conversation led by Variety co-editor in chief Andrew Wallenstein followed with leading executives in virtual and augmented reality — including Vicki Dobbs Beck of Lucasfilm, Karen Dufilho of Google, Ted Schilowitz of Paramount, Vikash Sharma of AT&T, and Jake Zim of Sony Pictures Entertainment. The execs discussed the impact they expect to be made by the forthcoming Oculus Quest, a $500 cordless VR headset expected to roll out early next year.
Dobbs Beck, whose company plans to release a game for the quest in which users will fight Darth Vader, said, “In the case of ‘Vader Immortal,’ imagine the possibility of wielding a lightsaber. If you have cords attached to you, that’s not nearly as fun as when you can move in free space. That’s just a good example of the kind of thing that you’re going to be able to do.”
Issa Rae, creator and star or HBO’s “Insecure,” was presented with the chamber’s first-ever Vanguard Award. Rae was followed by “The Big Bang Theory” creator Chuck Lorre, who received the chamber’s commitment to California Award. Lorre, whose new show “The Kominsky Method” will premiere Friday on Netflix, then participated in a Q&A with Variety‘s Daniel Holloway.
“I really wanted an opportunity to work in a landscape where there’s no broadcast standards, censorship,” Lorre said of his decision to work with Netflix on the show. “There’s no commercial breaks. The nature of network television is chasing young viewers, and I didn’t want to chase. I wanted to tell a story that I hope people will enjoy, but Netflix isn’t looking to demographics. They’re just looking at whether people watch it or not, and the age of the people watching is irrelevant.”