Tag Archives: Rick DeVos

The Future of Film (As Seen in 2007)

(In 2008, I wrote this piece on the future of cinema and the Internet for the Austin Chronicle. So no surprise that some of the prognostications were way off target. However,  there’s some early wisdom about the way cinema was changing, including Arin Crumley and Susan Buice getting ahead of the curve on  predicting theatrical on demand.)

The Web was going to be a bottomless well of content. No matter what your interest, you could log on and find something to fit your tastes. And go as far as you’d like from there.

There’s a problem with that. Infinite is a big number. Audiences can’t browse online forever. Talented artists and content creators spent more time keeping up with software than actually creating content. Learn HTML; XML comes along. Master Shockwave; here comes Flash. When independent filmmakers finally get online, they’re competing for bandwidth with someone innovating new ways to drop Mentos into Coke.

The old days of a Web campaign for a film attracting audiences on novelty alone are over. According to Henry Jenkins, director of the comparative-media-studies program at MIT and a South by Southwest Interactive 07 speaker, “It’s no longer the case that, if you build it, they will come. If you drop your film on YouTube and do nothing around it, it will get buried under a billion other videos.” Instead, filmmakers are finding success in reaching out to online communities, and firms are developing new Web tools to build and maintain those links.

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