Yesterday on the ABC television network, the entire day was devoted to programming of the Academy Awards. This is always one of the most coveted days of the year for me, having grown up in the entertainment business and living in Beverly Hills. I love the stories and the glitz and glamour. The dresses!! The hair, the make-up, the shoes!
This year is especially exciting since the Academy Museum is opening, honoring the legend and legacy of Hollywood films. I am completely humbled and honored to have conducted the market and financial feasibility study for the museum, as it underwent many twists and turns on its road to being born. This is a re-blog of an article I wrote in 2018 and I think it is appropriate today.
“About 16 years ago, I got a call from a perspective client, a newly hired director from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, asking if I would be interested in conducting some market research for a new attraction/museum themed on the Academy Awards. Would I?!?! I had been the one lucky enough to do the work for the Dolby Theater at Hollywood & Highland where the ceremony takes place, so it seemed a good fit and logical that I continue on to do the museum feasibility. But my joy, my heart, for Hollywood, no one knew that! My family had always been in the entertainment business, with my father tangentially involved on the business side, having been a pioneer in the cable television industry. And my aunt was always working for this or that movie star as an executive assistant. I was lucky enough to visit the backlot of 20th Century Fox before it was Century City! I spent countless hours watching movies being filmed, then sitting in theaters watching them roll by me on the big screen.
Would I be interested? Heck, yea!!
Since that time, I have been the consultant called upon to do the background market research, analysis and financial projections for the site selection, sizing and operation of museum. I learned a thing or two during those years. I gained a deep knowledge of large museums and what keeps them thriving; I learned how an endowment can shrink during a deflation; I learned that money earmarked to never-be-touched has a way of disappearing in hard times. And I learned about the conundrum of keeping things fresh so that resident visitors will keep returning time and again. I am thankful that my job always changes and that I always learn, no matter the engagement.
Over the years, we have wrestled with all the issues associated with new development including disagreements about what it should look like, what its mission should be, where it should be sited, who is its targeted audience (please don’t say everyone!), and what’s the best way to keep the project on-time and on-budget. To be clear, these issues are complex and are made more difficult when there are many masters to serve. Still, when the project is to reflect the points of view, hopes, dreams, and legacies of America’s most important cultural export, cinema, careful consideration must be given to each one. “
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