Critically Reflecting My Process and Development on 161MC: Creating Impact on Media Production
This module has been designed to teach us how us as media producers can make an impact today. The world of media has radically changed in the last decade. Technology has risen to new heights. Understanding the fabric of society and how culture works has become very different than what it used to be. In this essay I will be depicting the processes involved in my studying of this module and delineating how it has developed me.
To commence, the first task we were given was to create our own “brand”. As media producers today, I’ve felt we are always at a job interview. We are constantly doing professional work; media surrounds us at all times. Even our social life has become part of media. Using social networks means we are always under surveillance for critiquing by someone like a family member all the way to a company or prospective employer. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The line between our professional and our personal life is becoming blurred (Hartley 2004) and we should take advantage of this change. I created a Twitter account to share personal and professional tweets. For example I tweeted my task 6 interactive documentary and tagged the company Mozilla responsible for making the web 2.0 tool that I produced the documentary on. They replied and even re-tweeted my work. Over the course of this module I’ve found that I’ve developed vastly professionally. I’ve been doing extensive reading on post modernism and the rise of the digital age in my spare time and I have even shared my findings with other peers.
Furthermore, this shift in the way we communicate our lives has taken an impact on our social understanding and how our culture works. Task 2 was about remixing footage from our classwork’s work to create completely new pieces of media. This exercise was just a small example of the media we see today. Every story we have read, film we have seen or video game we have played has been stolen. We have lived in a culture that eats itself and steals from the past to create a new version of it since the beginning of time (Colson 2007). The animated works of Disney were very much stolen too. The story of The Lion King is a version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which is a version of Scandinavian folk tale (Moviefone 2013). Stealing from the past is not uncommon and isn’t something that should be looked down on. The problem our culture face today that previous generations have not had to face is the practice of owning these ideas and stories as intellectual property. In this day and age “Intellectual property is the oil of the 21st century” (Steal This Film 2 2007). In another film it states “To build societies you must limit the control of the past” (RiP: A Remix Manifesto 2008). Owning everything and prohibiting society to steal and retell stories is killing the future of our culture. The very idea of stories and ideas becoming intellectual property is unnatural since we as a society have been stealing stories and ideas for so long up until now.
In addition, I noticed that the majority of the tasks could be done with just a computer with an Internet connection and all the tasks could be done just on my own. Technology has risen to completely new heights and this has massively impacted the world we live in and how we create media. This rise in technology has opened ventures for individuals that we never had before. “50 years ago, people didn’t make things. People would go to photography exhibitions. They would go to record fairs. They would watch movies. Now everyone is a photographer. Everyone is a musician. Anyone can make a film.” (PressPausePlay 2011). This film particularly stressed about how media producers are not able to make an impact with their work because anything we produce is lost in a sea of mediocrity. After watching this film I learnt how important it is trying to make an impact with my work more than ever before. With this rise in technology I need to be able to make an impact in completely new ways that is different to what everyone else is doing.
Moreover, I’m much more aware of how the rise in technology effects me as an aspiring media producer. There are negative effects such as file sharing and lack of people paying for anything I produce but there are also new and exciting things that could be done with technology now. File sharing has become a big part of the media industry. Countless attempts and measures are taking place to prohibit the act of file sharing. (BBC 2007) Sites like Pirate Bay effect smaller media producers such as myself more. Hollywood blockbusters will always be making money, as you can never reproduce the cinema experience at home or on your computer. However it would be easy to file share short films or independent feature films that someone like me would realistically be producing. That leaves me with the dilemma on how do I profit off my work? The first thing would be to embrace this notion of file sharing. The technology exists for me to share my work on the Internet instantly for free. We didn’t have this advantage just a few years ago due to slow Internet dial up speeds. So it’s up to me on using this technology to somehow profit from it. I don’t have the answers now but I’m thinking in the right direction.
Similarly, the rise of the Internet is another tool at our disposal that we didn’t have or wasn’t as efficient years ago. We are now more connected and sharing than ever before. We have access to an almost infinite amount of forums of knowledge now. The successful story of a girl who has her phone stolen and campaigns on the Internet to seek justice (Clay 2008) is an example of how much has changed for everyday people because of technology and the Internet. This ordinary girl with no wealth or publicised institution behind her was successful in her campaign just from supporters all over the world sharing her campaign. All with just the help of the Internet and a computer this was done in the matter of few clicks. We have been given a power that we have never had before. The ability to share information with the whole world and connect with them instantly. And media producers today such as myself have access to this power.
Finally, I’ve developed most as a storyteller. This module enlightened me about the possibility to tell stories on multiple platforms that are all available to us right now. It taught me that the same stories can be told again and still be just as interesting. Referring to my task 4 where I had to digitally retell the story of Macbeth using just web 2.0. That is when I fully realised the possibilities and mediums around me. The challenge of retelling a classic story in a completely new different platform that is unique to our time was exhilarating. After that we had the task of creating a Vine to tell the best story in the world. “2 people have the terrible misfortune to meet and then end up having the best time of their lives” another storytelling platform unique to our time. The final task was to create an interactive documentary using a web tool designed by Mozilla Popcorn. This tool allowed us to include links to articles or videos on the Internet. We had to remix an existing documentary and make it interactive. This task taught me about not only are we producing media differently, but also audiences are reading media differently. They play a much more active role now than they did before (Castells 2012). As media producers we need to cater our work to this new type of audience.
To encapsulate, this module has taught me many things. I developed as a professional media producer. I am quickly blurring the line between my personal life and my professional life. The cultural and social impact of technology on the way we consume and produce media such as file sharing. The rise in technology providing us with resources that media producers in the past have never had access to before. And finally I’ve gained a greater understanding of what it means to be a storyteller in this day and age. Creating an impact in the media industry has never been as hard as it is right now. This is the best and most exciting time for media producers. We are being forced to adapt to the changes around us. We are being forced to be innovative in the world of media. Yes it is scary and inevitable, but it is still exciting and holds many wonders for the future.
Moviefone (2013) 16 Movies You Didn’t know Were Based on Shakespeare [online] available http://news.moviefone.com/2013/06/05/movies-you-didnt-know-were-based-on-shakespeare/ [26 Feb 2014]
Steal This Film 2 (2007) Film. Directed by Jamie King. United Kingdom and Germany: League of Noble Peers.
RiP: A Remix Manifesto (2008) Directed by Brett Gaylor, Canada: EyeSteelFilm.
PressPausePlay (2011) Directed by David Dworsky and Victor Kohler, USA: House of Radon.
Castells, Arnau (2012) The Interactive Documentary: Definition Proposal and Basic Features of the New Emerging Genre [online] transcript available from https://www.academia.edu/1491044/The_Interactive_Documentary._Definition_Proposal_and_Basic_Features_of_the_New_Emerging_Genre [26 Feb 2014]
Shirky, Clay (2008) Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, 1st Edition, New York: Penguin Press.
BBC (2007) Anti file-sharing laws considered [online] available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7059881.stm [26 Feb 2014]
Colson, Richard (2007) The Fundamentals of Digital Art, Switzerland: AVA Publishing.
Hartley, John (2004) Creative Industries Edited by John Hartley, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.