Friday, December 22, 2006

New Media: What's it all about?

So the other day I cruised the web. I sometimes do this to see what’s new & different in the world, and as Time Magazine proclaimed ALL of US to be the person of the year I began to look at some of us. As an aspiring filmmaker I kind of have a vested interest in all this. After all don’t I want my films to be seen by a lot of people? Isn’t that what a filmmaker does? He or she communicates through their films in a form of entertainment. Well now with such things as MySpace, and YouTube we now ALL can communicate with each other and entertain too, so the walls of mass communication are starting to crumble. No longer does a studio or a media conglomeration have sway in what we see or watch. Variety has sprung up, and WE are all stars of our own lives.

But wait hold on for a second. Weren’t we stars of our OWN lives before? We’re we NOT important before, as we are now with all our media outlets available to us? I would think so, or are we living our lives as we always have been only this time more people know about us. I’ve read some articles where people criticize Time for punking out in essence. I mean how lame can one get. Surely there is someone who deserves to be person of the year more then WE all do, or am I wrong? Did WE collectively start something that we are now responsible for? Has the digital revolution made us the stars of our own lives, and by sharing our lives and expressing our opinions have we NOT made a difference? I’d say YES, but is this a fad, or just something that will peak and then die down?

There are some pretty funny video blogs out there in cyberspace. Way to many to list. If you want to see what’s around go to The broadband Internet access charts on wikipedia is an interesting view on just how many of us are driving this digital revolution. In an interesting article from the Times Sir Tim Berners-Lee a British computer scientist tells us about the warnings of why the democratic ethic of the world wide web may be about to end. Net Neutrality is a new term that is fighting to stay alive, and is an early warning sign of things to come if we don’t try and make the web more a place for ideas and not commerce.

There is no way of getting around it. The web has become commercialized. A lot of us do our shopping on the web, and it’s a convenience. With more and more people uploading videos are we not drowning in the noise itself? Who are the gatekeepers? There seems to be no one, and in a democratic way there should be none. As the Internet audience matures we’ll see more and more polished videos and the audience will become more sophisticated. Like TV in the 50’s we’ll see a lot of regional type programming, but as the net begins to evolve will see more and more commercial videos come about as more and more companies fight for your attention for their product. Either people will get tired of watching bad videos or they’ll tune it all out.

How does this apply to filmmaking? It’s another form of distribution, where the people decide on whether they like your product. You can target your audience now more selectively. Got a horror movie you made? There are a ton of horror web sites out there that could potentially help you promote that film. Maybe you’re film deals with a certain different lifestyle. You can target that market as well. It’s gotten easier to do this, but it’s going to get harder to get your message through. They’ll be a lot of other filmmakers and studios shouting about their new film and product. It’s up to you to be smart and come up with some interesting ways to get passed the clutter. In the future be prepared to know web design & what it will take to promote you’re movie. Set aside a marketing budget for your film and begin planning your marketing strategy right at the beginning of the film. Even before the film is shot. Not only shoot publicity stills for the film but videotape interviews with cast & crew. The more you provide the more interest you may generate for your film. It’s a difficult slope to climb, and one that may not get you the notoriety you want. I’m sure they’ll be companies that will be better at this since they have a bigger budget for this type of advertising, but a lone filmmaker can buck the odds. Maybe if you’re not as commercial as the rest of the studios and try to go for the more home grown feel you’ll have success. I’m just hoping that there’s a resurgence in better filmmaking about human values we can all identify with and that have some sort of message without the message being beaten over our heads. After all isn’t the Internet a place for ideas? And wasn’t it created to further those ideas by discussion. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

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