New Age of Media

21Apr10

I was very interested in the Interactive Guantanamo through Second Life.  My undergraduate school was very involved with Second Life and I’ve been fascinated by machinima in general.  I experimented with it and even visited my university on Second Life.  I traveled to Europe.  I went to stores.  It was almost creepy.  I attended a presentation about SL (in real life) and the presenter was broadcasting the entire presentation, including the audience, in Second Life. People from all over the world were sitting in the same room in SL that I was sitting in in real life.  I was watching them in SL on a big screen in real life and they were watching videos of me and the rest of the audience in SL.  It’s all very confusing and very creepy but speaks about the direction media is taking.  I had never heard of the sweatshop Christiane spoke about but it really demonstrates the merging of new media and commerce and how the online world is really changing the business landscape. (Especially when social media comes into play; Christiane called it a “corporate warehouse.”)

Christiane explained simulated realities as part of our lives that are imitative of real life and are as cinematic as possible.  I was watching my boyfriend play the new MLB 2k10 game and it’s scary how life-like it has become.  I couldn’t help but point out the wrinkles in the pants and their gestures when they warm up.  Similarly, I was playing with my brother’s golf game where you can make a player and adjust everything from eyebrow line to cheek bones to bust size.  We were then reflecting on how realistic we used to think old Nintendo games were.  This new media has come such a long way just in our lifetime.

I think this is progress for the media industry in the sense that it is becoming more and more lifelike.  Whether or not this is a good thing, I don’t know.  Special effects are definitely more entertaining now (look at Avatar and all of its awards) but at the same time, will we be able to decipher fiction from reality?  Those that watch a lot of TV already view the world as having more crime than it actually does (“Mean World Syndrome”).  What kinds of effects will this have?

I enjoyed Paul Hardart’s lecture more than any other lecture, I guess because I’m very interested in the business of film.  I thought it was interesting how he mapped out the way film is distributed both traditionally and with new trends.  I hope that the marketplace really does show an increase in foreign films and international markets.  I was surprised to learn that India is the largest film-producing country in the world, especially since I know the US is the biggest media exporter in the world.  Although I don’t typically watch Bollywood films, I had to for an anthropology class and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

I also found the distribution trends informative particularly the one that paid TV has a better product.  I never watched HBO or Showtime even though I’ve had it for so long but when I watch Entourage or Mad Men, I understand the craze.  It’s like a television show that was produced theatrically so you feel like it’s a never-ending movie.  The effects, the costumes, the story are all so well done.

I’m also a culprit when it comes to the new distribution outlets.  I love Redbox and Hulu (probably because I love all media but I’m too cheap – I know they deserve their money but I’m living off of loans).  I’ll do anything to save money and still have my entertainment, including shopping at WalMart (plus I live in the Boonies and it really is the most convenient place to go).  My new discovery is the site video2mp3.net that allows you to convert YouTube videos into mp3s for free.  It takes all types of media and turns it into a new distribution outlet of its own.

Audiences really are changing and as a part of it, I think the industry is going to have to get even more creative with its marketing and promotions.   The whole media landscape is changing and the film industry needs to keep up as well.

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