Let's jump straight to the top of the tree. We all know that in standard, entertainment style, film the audience is in charge. If they turn up - its a hit and you get a sequel. If not - then it disappears. So a film needs to be hit from the off. And people like an easy sell.
We used to have high concept pitches such as "a man finds that his whole life has been lived in a computer simulation" but now we have high concept titles where the title IS the sell. But when was the last time you heard someone say that they really loved "Dukes of Hazzard" or "Bewitched". Someone here is massively underestimating the audience I think.
"Memento", "Donnie Darko", "Sixth Sense" - give people a good film and they go. Not only that they will tell ALL their mates. No big nasty marketing required. Maybe what we need is a new form of distribution - and make the link between audience and film maker transparent and one step. Not through seven layers of companies with cross deals and partnerships that each need to take a cut. Even 10 Seconds had 3 companies between me and the money!
So that's the next topic. How can film makers hear directly from the audience? How can we get along side the audience?