Abstract

This project addresses the conflict and positive interplay between the pursuit of commercial objectives by an entrepreneur and the simultaneous creation of a medium or embodiment of art. The United States and France will be the two primary business environments studied. These two nations represent the two leading countries exporting film based on dollar revenues in 2001.

Cultural industries, such as the global film industry, showcase the complexity of an increasingly global and social world that relies on discovering and communicating regional and national culture, art, and talent. This project examines strategies utilized by entrepreneurs to address the dynamic tensions between emerging and local creative actors and the socially constructed global standards.

Cultural industries are distinct from other industries in their interdisciplinary nature and their inclusion of societal concerns. Cultural production occurs at the intersection of several disciples: communication, economics, and sociology (Miège, 1989) where several different types of capital are crucial: economic capital, academic capital, linguistic capital, symbolic capital, and cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1993). Because of this dynamic nature, it is relatively difficult for entrepreneurs to predict what products or ideas will have the best chances for success in different cultural industries.

Another significant particularity of the film industry is that the majority of costs are sunk costs, with the cost of producing an additional copy of a film being minimal (Moran, 1996). Cultural intermediaries, or gatekeepers, serve as liaisons between producers and consumers, determining which cultural goods will be chosen for the marketplace and firms with distribution channels in place will be at a competitive advantage (Hirsch, 1972). Determinations concerning the quality of artistic goods occur mainly on two levels: by consumers in the marketplace and by industry specialists (Ginsburgh & Weyers, 1999). Entrepreneurs must be aware of who the gatekeepers are that they must interface with.

This empirical piece will be based on data gathered through onsite interviews with entrepreneurs working for firms and organizations relating to the entertainment industry in Los Angeles and Paris. Los Angeles and Paris were selected as the primary research environments because they represent the centers of cultural production (Scott, 1997, 2000) for the United States and France, respectively.

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