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“Entertainment Is Female” SDCC-Comic Con @ Home Panel Discuss Creating During Lockdown & Acceptable IP’s Being Considered for The Big Screen & More.

“Entertainment is Female” panel at San Diego Comic-Con @Home 2021

This year’s “Entertainment Is Female” panel took place at Comic-Con @Home 2021. In this panel, leading Hollywood women executives, such as those behind Into the Spider-Verse, The Walking Dead, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, discuss how new projects are developed, how patents become movies during the pandemic, and more.

This year the moderator was Tiffany Smith (actress, Masters of the Universe: Revelation). Also panelists Jeannette Francis (Bad Robot), Sam Crawley (Skybound Entertainment), Aubrey Lee (Lord Miller), Grey Cusack (Columbia Pictures), Nikki Baida (Lord Miller), and Mette Norkjaer (BOOM! Studios) partook in the Q&A.

The opening discussion of the panel was about the definition of IPs (intellectual properties) that everyone agreed were acceptable in Hollywood. Mette Norkhjaer, one of the panelists, said it could be anything and everything published. As examples, she cited comic books, podcasts, short stories, news articles, magazines, etc.

Aubrey Lee suggested adding Reddit stories and toys as sources of IP. Songs were added to the list by Jeanette Francis. Grey Cusack brought up Zola, a Twitter film. Sam Crawley revealed that Skybound Entertainment is creating a story based on a video they found on TikTok.

In addition, it was also talked about how studios are actively seeking stories that are adaptable to film from different social media platforms.

Executives, however, did not see a significant dip in their work. Among Norkjaer’s animation projects (and even a live-action Netflix series based on horror author R.L. Stine, Just Beyond) were a number of animated projects.

Lord Miller’s animated stuff didn’t seem to slow down that much to Nikki Baida. She said that “in April, we released a movie called The Mitchells vs The Machines that was supposed to be released by Sony but ended up being released by Netflix, and it’s doing great.” She is also working on the sequel to Into the Spiderverse.

The biggest theme of the whole panel was predicting what audiences want to see in theaters as they continue to reopen post lockdown. It has been tough on Hollywood executives to produce content that they know will bring moviegoers back to theaters.

Cusack: “I’ve always believed it’s about big emotions, and that’s been emphasized again. That’s what people will show up for, things you want to experience with a large crowd. This includes horror movies, prestige films – a new Tarantino or a new Nolan – musicals, comedies… anything where you feel a strong emotion. You wouldn’t want to watch Girls Trip at home on a small screen. It was clear that the studios chose to pursue material during the pandemic that would give audiences that [emotional connection].”

In addition to emotional impact in front of the camera, Francis looks for it behind the camera, as well. “We’re passion-driven all the way. It’s about, ‘What’s special about this movie? Is there something that feels like this story needs to exist or this voice needs to be amplified?’ There’s so much work that goes into it; it can take six years. You need those touchpoints that will keep you driving forward.”

This was the third “Entertainment Is Female” appearance at SDCC and I am sure it won’t be the last. It seems as though they are always filled with great information. As someone who is very much into the production of films, I know. I found the discussion very intriguing, and would love to revisit this panel (hopefully in person) next year!

Lindsey Blick

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: July 28, 2021.

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