Grant McCracken has a research agenda for an ethnographic study of the culture-producing industries, which in his telling would help their members understand their risk horizons, as well as make for some good stories.
I have the distinct sense that we don’t know nearly enough about the cultural producers, especially in the film, music and magazines biz (bizes?). For instance, it would be interesting to build a statistical picture of Hollywood that begins with a calculation of “how many people think about becoming an actor” and runs all the way up to the “magic circle of 8 big stars,” with all the nesting circles in between ( e.g., people who get as far as their SAG card but not much further). Finally, this would look like a hierarchy with, say, 8 to 10 worlds.(FN1)
Then we would add to this a “snakes and ladders” portrait of the fast tracks and the slippery slopes that take people suddenly up and down the hierarchy. (Sorry, I think Americans call this game “Chutes and Ladders.” This is the last vestige of my Canadian upbringing.) Clearly, this is changing fast. For a movie aspirant, TV used to be one a reliable chute. These days, it’s actually a ladder. The new media will create a new recruiting system.
This is a really, really brilliant account of precisely the sort of work that the world of IP law needs to have done, and needs to do, not just in Hollywood, and not just in the content- and culture-producing industries, but in science and technology as well.