Posts Tagged ‘ media ’

“It’s Not A Panic!”

Whenever my son hears me draw my breath in quickly or make a sound approximating alarm, he’ll look at me with the insouciant curiosity of a three year-old and ask, “What’s the panic?”

Precisely, my son. What IS the panic?

Can anyone tell me? Are movies dead? Have people stopped consuming entertainment? Has media gone down the tubes? Is this the death knell of our business?

As my boy is ever quick to remind me, “It’s not a panic.”

I’m here to pass along that sentiment. Panic is anxiety. And, as Seth Godin astutely observed, “Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in advance.” The sky is not falling. The end is not near. So why panic? Remain calm. Prepare for what may be a turbulent ride, but one where we will certainly arrive at our destination, which, if we reprogram our thinking, is SUCCESS.

The turbulence we are experiencing is CHANGE. The nature of change has changed. The rate of change has changed. The rate of the nature of change changing has changed.

It’s coming fast and furious now; truly at the speed of thought. Some of us will be ahead of it. Some of us will BE the change. Some us will ride the crest of the wave. Others will be swallowed by it. Though, even if you’re swept under by the torrent, as long as you manage to hold your breath, you can kick to the surface.

Media is indestructible. Media is perennial. Media is omnipresent. So what’s the panic?

The way media is managed, monetized and marketed will metamorphose. Platforms will progress. Infrastructure will transmogrify. Content will still be King. Those adept, will adapt.

So let’s get an attitude adjustment about the way we approach the future of our work, our industry, our lives. Media will survive. And so will you. Better yet, you can choose to thrive.

So take a deep breath, hold it in for as long as you can and allow the soothing words of a sagacious three year-old wash over you…

IT’S NOT A PANIC.

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How Media Evolves

Here’s a perspective on the “Evolution of Media from Seth Godin:

  1. Technicians who invented it, run it
  2. Technicians with taste, leverage it
  3. Artists take over from the technicians
  4. MBAs take over from the artists
  5. Bureaucrats drive the medium to banality

“TV used to be driven by the guys who knew how to run cameras and transmitters. Then it got handed off to the Ernie Kovacs/Rod Serling types. Then the financial operators like ITT and Gulf + Western milked it. And finally it’s just a job. Same thing happened to oil painting…”

In film, it seems we are at the end of this “evolutionary” chain.

Are we at a stage where the medium needs to be handed back to the artists?

It seems like the business is on the verge of recognizing this fact– or at least having no choice but to recognize it. Content creators outside the system — whose work has been marked by originality and creative freedom — have generated some of 2009’s biggest successes — District 9, Paranormal Activity, Avatar.

What’s been working has been markedly original and distinct. Not driven by stars. And yet, each success has shared a through-line: story-driven, visual f/x-driven, virally-marketed movies with name-brand filmmakers endorsing the projects, but not necessarily directing them (Avatar exempted).

In the case of Avatar, does Jim Cameron’s magnum opus represent a reboot of the evolutionary process? He’s certainly a technician who is innovating within the medium of 3D and motion capture, as well as creating a new post-production workflow. In essence, he and his collaborators are technicians inventing the medium.

He’s also clearly a technician with taste who has successfully leveraged the medium to engage audiences with compelling storytelling. He’s a technician (and engineer) who is already higher up the evolutionary food chain than peg one.

And he’s certainly an artist — a writer, director, craftsman. So he’s artist and technician. And has the power to leverage both areas of expertise in his storytelling for profit. So he’s really the first three pegs on the evolutionary ladder rolled into one. Much like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Peter Jackson, even JJ Abrams to some degree. Those are the guys moving the evolutionary needle of the medium. They are the ones that are primed to reboot the renaissance. And with advent of online and digital distribution of content, the door is now open for the next generation of innovator to get their shots behind the camera in the ways that Neil Blomkamp, Oren Peli or Duncan Jones have.

The artists who emerge from Hollywood’s evolutionary ooze to become the new innovators, the new technicians, if you will, will be the ones who have the ability to create content unhampered by bureaucrats, but who work within budget parameters that amplify their creativity rather than constrain it.

In short, the new “technicians” will be the ones who can do something unique for a price where interference in their process would be more trouble and cost more money than it’s worth. Better to give them free rein to innovate and expect an original result, because just maybe if you are one of those people at peg four or five, you’ll be able to capitalize on lightning in a bottle.

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