Selected interviews, writings, podcasts & more
The MPAA is much more than the ratings board. They are the voice behind the major studios—Disney, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers.
The MPAA has changed over the years. It started out in 1922 as a trade association for member companies. The current version of the MPAA’s ratings board was put into effect in the mid 1960s when former LBJ aide Jack Valenti took over as president, instituting a system of voluntary film ratings.
The main responsibility of this new system was to provide parents with information about the appropriateness of films for children...
Inside The Mpaa & Barry Freeman's Ratings Consulting With Max Timm
It's a facet of the industry that nearly all writers either don't know anything about, or simply ignore because it just isn't something that comes to mind at the script stage of development. It is, however, essential for any writer "slash" filmmaker who intends to produce and/or direct their own feature length project to consider.
Barry Freeman is a unique consultant in that he has over ten years experience working on the ratings board with the Motion Pictures Association of America, or the MPAA as we all call it and know it by. In this interview we dive in to how he supports writers and filmmakers, what he specifically does for them...
Ratings are a tricky and often overlooked subject for filmmakers. It’s an area that is far too often shrouded in mystery. This week, Randy and Ben talk to Barry Freeman, who spent 10 years on the ratings board at the MPAA, appeared in This Film is Not Yet Rated, and currently makes his living as a ratings consultant for independent filmmakers.
As we all know, geting an NC-17 rating can be the kiss of death for a movie, and even an R Rating when your target audience is younger can greatly impact your film’s profitability. Knowing how the ratings system works, and how to go about getting the rating you want is an important part of making a commercial film, if you’re seeking traditional theatrical distribution.
In the United States, the movie ratings system is “voluntary.” In reality, few theatre chains will show your film without a rating. This leaves art houses and local theatres to choose among the numerous movies that don’t receive the MPAA rating and descriptor.
To navigate your film through the MPAA process while saving time, expense, artistic integrity and aggravation, it’s important to keep some basics firmly in mind.
Your film’s rating will be determined by its content, and the ratings board provides a viable service to make parents aware of the suitability of this content for their children. As a filmmaker, it’s best NOT to have Your Eyes Wide Shut.