Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The futurist media maker & student

The sartorial noted, but all round media maker, Dan
You acknowledge it, but rarely challenge it. You blog, film, podcast, multimedia and the rest, but you're prone to believe these are different entities. 

We think so because we've been conditioned so. The futurist media maker or student must entertain different ideas.

The very act of me listing the aforementioned suggest the use of genres. But how did these become what they are and do they still hold? That's a thesis in itself, so I'll be very brief.

In a world of collapse media, thanks in part to the Internet and  more probing heuristicism, constructivism and internationalism, much has happened to the unit discipline. Blogging might be just a platform, but it encourages a diffusion of forms: literary criticism, features and commentary pieces - all find their way in

I need to honour the names above to push my argument. In film, we call on documentaries, news, features and feature films. These definitions guide us into modes of understanding and acceptance.

This is a good example. When you want a salami sandwich because you like salami, you don't want to be given something that looks like Salami, but isn't.

We need specifics, and the media is no different. The audience demands it. "download this photo montage", "watch this amazing film", but the audience largely cares less whether the author happens to write nonsensical riddles for a living or plants rose bushes - all worthy professions.

However it's the profession that holds to the division and while this worked at some point, some of those core reasons are now defunct. This is not a reason against specialisms. We need those, but the argument against genre-specifics is weakening.

This morning a visiting Chinese scholar had a question he needed to get of his chest. Why is it that many institutions do documentary, when the graduates will unlikely do documentary in their first jobs; more likely news.

It was a loaded question, though not intended. I can't speak for others, I said, but the assumption you're making is that a two minute news piece has little to do with a documentary.  If we fail to make the connection, then that must be so.

But they have common features, more so than perhaps what separates them - which we tend to emphasise. They use a medium of the moving image, they use a language of moving images, either explicit or implicit, they involve technical and symbolic elements.

Their differences seem obvious - that one is lengthier than the other, and one is new whilst the other isn't.  These conventions have held long enough for them to be defined accordingly- they sell books and the rest. Yet, whilst I might need them to define work, or submit work to others, in practice they are the same.

Film lengths present a case for a logic, which has become convention. 90 minute - an arbitrary figure - was marked as the norm. The reasons? Hollywood execs figured it was the right length to hold the attention of the audience.

Today, that length can vary from a Warhol's 8 hours and 5 minutes "Empire", to one minute film.  Similarly, TV New went through the same angst. Bosses were terrified anything past two minutes would have the viewer reaching for the "off" button.

It is no coincidence that the heritage of producers, and production houses that delivered anything from promos to six part series has now evolved into a  cadre of multi-skilled individuals.

It's likely in the near future we may internally discard these designed-terms as a generation of new journalists ignore these boundaries and just go about creating media. - even when the clients and audience still hold these terms dear