Sunday, June 03 2007

Movies, Porn, and the Army of Davids

Yesterday afternoon, I attended a movie premier.  Not a major movie premier, of course.  A neighbor graduated from college with a degree in film.  As a project for his degree, he directed 45 minute movie.  To celebrate his graduation, his parents rented a theater to screen the project.  Although the style wasn't to my taste, the film was quite well done.

Yesterday evening, I read a post by Ann Althouse on the amateurization of porn, and immediately thought of the movie.  The movie wasn't porn, in any respect at all, but it does reflect the same trend.  Right now, a lot of creative content production is being done by amateurs, and to a degree that most people don't realize because we all see a very small section of the whole cultural product that is available to us.

YouTube has enabled producers of video to make their works available to the entire world.  Sites like DeviantArt allow artists to make their works available to a wide audience.  The initial audience for anime outside of Japan has always been dedicated teams of amateur fans who subtitle works themselves, now aided by the power of the internet.  Many PC games have found new life with fan-created content.  Many historical wargames started out as home rules created by gamers.

The internet has, of course, been a big enabler of this phenomenon.  It allows us to find groups of like-minded people all over the world, and increasingly allows larger and larger groups to work together on bigger and bigger projects.  Yet I suspect that it would be happening even without the internet.  I remember the days when fan-subbed anime was carried on by nth-generation copied videotapes, not p2p bittorrent filesharing.

Interestingly enough for my other musings, the neighbor's film opened with three parody movie trailers he had done with a college comedy troupe which had  achieved a brief notoriety on the internet.  One parody had earned him a call from one of the producers of one of the movies in the parody, congratulating him on his work.  The other two parodies had resulted in letters from lawyers.  Some people understand fans, some don't.

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