This is all kinds of scary. Yahoo are obsessed with acquisitions of sites that execute services better as a way of getting you to use their product. The death sentence that was handed to Flickr through Yahoo’s integration is a prime example of how fast things can go a-wry in a simple business move.
It’s hard to fault David Karp if that number is really true though. A guy that never finished high school to making a billion dollar business deal is difficult to root against but I do hope that he holds up to his word when he discussed the possibility of a buyout in Forbes’ December issue as mentioned in the above source article.
He didn’t want to get “absorbed into a behemoth of another company and raided for talent and traffic.” But he also mentioned being open to “acquisitions that leave the company alone….There are a lot of paths for us.”
Yahoo’s integration strategy is rarely a case of attempting to get their established audience to use their new product, rather the reverse, ill-fated attempts at trying to push their current services on the existing users of a new acquisition.
You really couldn’t ask for a more 90’s oriented casting for a TV show based around a virus outbreak. Sinise gets as close to being the lead role as the ensemble story will allow and Ed Harris has only a small part so the genuine grittiness is quite low. Add to that Rob Lowe’s depiction of a deaf-mute, Molly Ringwald as gorgeous as she is one-dimensional and cameos by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Stephen King himself, you really get a sense of how poor something can age over 20 years.
Despite the cast, the 8 episode show is predictably full of bad acting and mixed intentions. It would love to be Twin Peaks, but it’s more like a low budget early incarnation of The Walking Dead. There is a supernatural presence but just sparsely enough to confuse the show’s direction. The soundtrack and score are top notch though; a bit like a mix between some old soft-core porn and what I imagine is a collection of King’s personal faves (‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ has to have been his decision).
As long as you can get around the untextured 90’s feel to it all, you can really enjoy it. Just because it hasn’t aged well doesn’t mean it wasn’t good for it’s time. It’s underrated and it’s a definitive pop-culture forgotten gem. This was never going to be landmark television. You gotta look at it for what it is, a Stephen King adaptation for the small screen. The sheer volume of those mean the good iterations are few and far between. As a KIng fan myself, I have to cherish what I can and not take the rest to heart.
I went into this movie with a thorough expectation of misery and sadness; basically a general dislike for the success of mankind. This stems from Derek Cianfrance’s first Ryan Gosling-led feature, Blue Valentine , after which I would have happily praised the director for his film-making and promptly put a bullet in my head. So devastating and true were his characters, and the difficulties which they encountered, that I almost wished I’d never have to grow up and live through any kind of life at all.
With The Place Beyond The Pines, Cianfrance revisits his fondness for suffering and treats the viewer to humanity at its most unjust filtered through visuals so grand yet intimate that it puts both Andreas Gursky and Nan Goldin to shame. Make no mistake, Gosling may be the face of this film, but he is by no means the star; that accolade belongs to cinematographer Sean Bobbitt. Bobbitt’s lineage extends to both Steve McQueen works, Shame  and Hunger  so it’s no surprise to see his name attached to a work like this which sports such similar tones of despair.
With Blue Valentine, it was all about the diminishing aspect of love over time. With this, despite what it initially seems, we are given a glimpse into the lives of people who love too much, people whose love burns so strongly that they’re driven to make mistakes, bad decisions and irreversible actions. The Place Beyond The Pines is a film exploring the fatalistic characteristics of loving someone, but make no mistake, that still means it’s about love.
“Consider two widespread ideas - now fast approaching the stature of platitudes - on the impact of photography. […]
The first idea is that public attention is steered by the attentions of the media - which means, most decisively, images. When there are photographs, a war becomes ‘real’. Thus, the protest against the Vietnam War was mobilized by images. The feeling that something had to be done about the war in Bosnia was built from the attentions of journalists - ‘the CNN effect’, it was sometimes called - which brought images of Sarajevo under siege into hundreds of millions of living rooms night after night for more than three years. These examples illustrate the determining influence of photographs in shaping what catastrophes and crises we pay attention to, what we care about, and ultimately what evaluations are attached to these conflicts.
The second idea - it might seem the converse of what’s just been described - is that in a world saturated, no, hyper-saturated with images, those that should matter have a diminishing effect; we become callous. In the end, such images just make us feel a little less able to feel, to have our conscience pricked.”
For starters, she’s Irish. It’s always a good start to have homegrown talent. Ireland has always been pretty good for actors with names such as Liam Neeson, Michael Fassbender and Daniel Day-Lewis. That’s quite a stable of top flight talent for such a small island. But in terms of actresses? It’s not such a good crop.
Saoirse Ronan is that awesome combination of young and talented. Kid actors are generally crazy but from the small amount of interviews I’ve seen her do, she seems relatively down to earth.
Sometimes I wish she wasn’t so talented though. The Lovely Bones was not a comfortable experience for me. It incited a rare occurrence; the delayed emotional response. It’s no secret that I’m a cryer during movies. I absolutely bawl at even the slightest personal struggle. But what The Lovely Bones did was obliterate any preconceptions I had of what the movie would be, due to what kind of people championed it on social media. I enjoyed the film. Quite a lot actually. I didn’t cry once. Until the credits rolled. Then the floodgates opened and I felt foolish there sitting in my kitchen crying at what must have looked like nothing in particular.
To me, any piece of art that gets me to pause even for a second. Whether it’s a photograph whose content I’m not immediately sure of, or a film that takes a little while to figure out; good art to me has always been that with longevity. I don’t place The Lovely Bones up there with the best of films, it’s middling at best, but Saoirse Ronan’s innocent depiction of little Susie Salmon will always have the ability to catch me off guard.
A N I N T E R V I E W W I T H A D A M L I S A G O R
When I began my first year in college, we were required solely to use black and white 35mm. For this we had to process and print it all by hand. There were a lot of long days spent in the darkroom and on top of a 90 minute commute to and from college each day, the spare time piled up. I tried audiobooks with moderate success but the attention span just wasn’t there for me. Then I discovered podcasts and with that, my obsession with a show called You Look Nice Today was born. I say ‘obsession’ and some of you may question how accurate that actually is but the playcount on several episodes has reached over 80.
So then, in the years since first discovering the podcast, I began to learn more and more about the three gentlemen behind the it all. Scott Simpson is a former iTunes employee turned stand-up comedian. Merlin Mann is a man who isn’t sure what he does, but knows he wants to do it efficiently. And lastly, there’s Adam Lisagor, founder of Sandwich Video, a rising production company based in downtown Los Angeles. Adam is perhaps the straight man of the group, or maybe the younger brother, that’s the role he generally gets cast in but it’s his combination of unpolished wry wit and goofy off-timing that really got to me.
Sandwich Video specialises in short explanatory style advertisements. This is Lisagor’s ace in the hole. He manages to create a body of work that encompasses other people’s products with his own ideas of representation. There isn’t anything elitist or pretentious about Lisagor’s productions. The videos are simply an extension of himself. A collection of short clips explaining how Adam sees individual pieces of the world.
How did starting your own company, Sandwich Video, affect your creative freedom? Surely the business side of things must play a part in the decision making process along the line. When you operate a business, you’re beholden to things outside of yourself. But the dichotomy of being a designer of sorts is that your business thrives on your creativity. Most often hopefully, and crucially, the business springs from the creativity and not the other way around. The way my business got started, the way I found out I even had a business to begin with, is that I was my own first client, and I was serving a business need without knowing it. So what sprang from that was unbridled creativity and the need to communicate effectively while imbuing the communication heavily with my own personality. But then, the funny thing that happened was that business entities outside myself started requesting my services, having identified what was unique to my previous work—the character—as the salable element. So without having premeditated it, I’d built a business around my creativity. One danger of being known for a certain style or voice is that all future business assumes repeatability of that voice, and so the threat is that future work constrains you to what you’ve been known for in the past. The easiest way around this threat is to break away from the repeatability, other than the mark of your quality and taste, and experiment as soon and as often as possible, so that you become known for dexterity and range rather than for doing a great imitation of yourself. When you can trade on creativity, and all future work relies on the promise of creativity, you’re in a good place. I’ve found that the important thing is not to get too far ahead of myself—to grow the business slowly so that I don’t find myself having to sacrifice the values that are important to me in order to keep the business running.
Your video work seems to be a translation of your personality a lot of the time. Maybe it’s more present in the videos which you also feature in but in the majority of them you really get the sense that this is something you’re excited about doing. It’s really relatable to the viewer when they get that feeling. For example, the Warby Parker spot you did with Noah Kalina. Kalina in that video was his usual understated self but it still seemed like a version of you from some of the other videos. There’s a real Woody Allen subjectivity thing going on. That’s a tremendous compliment, but you don’t have to print this part. Just pretend like I didn’t even acknowledge it, like I’m a real dick who just expects such high praise as a matter of course. I think the part of myself that translates the most strongly to my video work is the way I express a concept, really. There have been times in my life where I’ve been tremendously, painfully awkward and shy in a social situation. And there have been times where I’m around people who are quick-witted and self-assured and I think I could never live up to their expectations of social company, so I’ve had a policy of keeping my mouth shut and having people interpret that as thoughtfulness. But what I’ve found is that I’m most eloquent when I’m explaining a concept to someone, in any size group. When it’s something that I have an intuitive understanding of, I like to watch myself figure out how to think like a person who doesn’t have the intuitive understanding of that thing, and put together the pieces of understanding one by one in the right order and with the right subjective presence to make it possible for other people to suddenly understand. Part of this process is pace and knowing when different pieces of a concept can be introduced. Knowing what a person’s expectations are, and understanding where they have to be in order to receive the next pieces of a concept. I enjoy that type of communication and it comes naturally to me because my mom is a great teacher and that’s how she always explained things to me. I suppose that good writing comes from that, and good joke telling, to a certain extent, is knowing where an audience is at each stage of your story—having the empathy to project a lack of knowledge and then a knowledge, in that order. And knowing what the reaction will be to each stage of knowledge. So that’s how my personality comes through in my videos. There’s a measured, careful sharing present in each of them. My videos aren’t blatantly goofy or overly expressive because I’m not that way in person. That doesn’t mean I don’t value the goofy or stupid or overt or ridiculous. I value those things sometimes because I don’t know how to be them. But I surround myself with people who maintain an even temper, and that’s what I would consider the Sandwich house style, so to speak.
Do you still make personal projects? I just recently started making the most personal, most important project of my life, if you can get ready to hold back your barf literally with your fingers as it threatens to break through your closed lips and dribble onto your shirt. I and my partner Roxana had our first child, a little boy named Linus a couple weeks ago. There was a moment about three months into the pregnancy where I had an epiphany—that once this child is born, I no longer matter, biologically speaking. It’s an incredibly freeing thing to no longer be the center of the world and oh my god I just realized you were asking about video projects, I’m so sorry.
Are there people in life who taught you to actually direct or does that just come naturally when you have a vision for a project? This is a great question. I did go to film school at the highly reputable NYU Collegiate Academy for Cinemasophic Studies for the Advancement of Screen and Celluloid, but they didn’t teach me shit about directing. Or rather, if they did, I wasn’t listening or I skipped class that day which was not unusual. Before I ever showed up on set, some ten years after graduating, to direct for money for the first time, really, I’d been terrified of the idea. Does directing mean having a huge ego? Does directing mean talking about motivation or instinctively, almost telepathically knowing how to reach into an actor’s psyche and extract from him the one event of his life whose exploitation could work to manipulate him emotionally for the benefit of the camera? Does it mean making a frame with your fingers and yelling at a lot of people at once, or just wearing jodhpurs and saying yes no no yes no yes yes no as quickly as possible? Does it mean going “Say it like this” to a guy and then saying it how you want the guy to say the thing? I had no idea, and no way of knowing. The only way of knowing is to actually start telling people what to do. The old adage “fake it til you make it” applies so forcefully to directing that I can stop answerng right now but I won’t. At first, you show up and you wonder why all these people around you are going to listen to anything you say since you’re such a fraud and they know it. But then you slowly start to realize that they can successfully do their jobs because you tell them what you like and what you don’t like. And the more confidence you have in telling them what you like and don’t like, the more they’ll trust you, the more you’ll trust yourself, the easier the process will be and the sooner you’ll all go home. Directing is two things, that I can think of right now. Number one is seeing in your head with as much clarity how you’d like something to go, be it the color of an actress’s skirt or the amount of haze in the frame or the exact pitch of an actor’s voice on a certain word or the blocking of scene 29 being parallel with the blocking of scene 2 and then correcting what actually happens until it gets closest to what you see in your head and number two is answering questions as quickly as possible. The big part of number one is that clarity of vision, and usually that vision is influenced in parts from all of what you’ve seen before you—be it the work of directors you’ve admired, or experiences in your life, or your imagination. But it’s a clarity that tells you with some certainty that there’s a way that things should go. And then, once everything turns out completely different from how you’d envisioned it, trying to compensate as best you can for the disparity and convincing yourself that it all happened intentionally.
How much of a role does the editing play in the final product for each You Look Nice Today episode? To me, half of the humour comes from the timing. Not even necessarily down to it always being the right timing but more the efficiency of it. I don’t think there’s anything in life that only lasts 30 to 45 minutes that can make me laugh that much. Well, the easy formula for the show is that every 45-minute episode took 90 minutes to record and about 8 hours to edit. That’s a surprisingly consistent formula. My biggest source of inspiration for the feel and pace of the show was Dr. Katz, the animated squigglevision show by Loren Bouchard on Comedy Central in the 90s. The audio on that show was edited so tightly from mostly unscripted, improvised dialogue, and they could get away with it because, duh, it was animated. Arrested Development used some of those same pacing techniques with live action, where no joke has time to live longer than it’s supposed to, and everything is punchy. So I liked to think of YLNT as a cartoon without the animation, and it offered a lot of possibility for play, for experimentation. Of course, I got burned out on editing it, so the show went away for some time, until an intern I had hired, Claude Zeins, asked if he could take a crack at editing some uncut episodes of the show, and he proved to be great at it, so the show lived on for another year. Now, it seems we’re on a bit of an extended hiatus again, possibly for a decade or more.
In YLNT, there is an episode, ‘Truck Spank’, where the three of you discuss the best possible name to say for your coffee cup. As a send-off could you come up with a new one for readers here? An alternate Truck Spank for the new millennium. I’m horrible at coming up with these on the spot. I think the one I came up with after that episode was Scott Lacrosserape, which isn’t at all funny. I swear, if I’m at Starbucks, and on a dare someone says, “You should come up with a fake name for them to write on the cup,” I’ll choke and stand there for six seconds and go, “My name is Adam. Shoot.” If really pressured, I’d probably go with Chambrayson Geeseflaps, who was one of my professors at NYU, where I went to film school to study film. Here’s a fun game to exercise your silly name muscles: you play it with a partner. You go, “One, two, three” and then after three, you both have to say a fake song name by a fake band name, at the same time. And you end up mostly blurting out the thing that comes to you and you don’t even listen to the other person’s until a few seconds later when you play it back in you head and it’s ridiculous and you both laugh and then you start all over again. And everybody wins. One two three—Temples at Marveltron by Josué Pilsner and the Chambrayson Geeseflaps.
Aesthetica’s Marvel Advertising Strategy for Contemporary Media
Two weeks ago, Aesthetica contacted me and asked me if I wanted to review their magazine. Yesterday, it arrived in the post. After some mild confusion with the post-man as to who exactly ‘DigitalFaun’ was, I got my hands on the latest issue.
I’ve been a fan of Aesthetica for a while so it was pretty cool when they came to me and asked if I could review it. I was hesitant at first. I’m getting more and more solicitations from advertising companies in my inbox lately and to each I respond with a simple “No thank you”. I stand firm on paid advertising for this blog. I understand that content for this site is mainly consumed through feeds and dashboards but even still. Integrity is important. Especially at the ground level.
I mention this not only because it’s important to be upfront with readers but because Aesthetica has an interesting approach to it’s advertising strategy. For a magazine that isn’t that big, 25 and a half pages of advertising seems high but they use the space quite creatively in order to maximise impact. Instead of spreading promotional content evenly throughout the magazine, they limit it to the beginning and end so that you can enjoy the main feautures uninterrupted. Between pages 26 and 117, there isn’t a single piece of advertising. In a world where magazines such as Wallpaper and Artforum get away with basically selling you a lump of firewood disguised as a legitimate publication, you’ve got to commend outside the box thinking in regards to ad space. It’s a necessary evil for print media but Aesthetica have proven that it doesn’t have to ruin the credibility of the content.
I’m not going to break down the actual content itself here. That would be a fruitless exercise. I mainly wanted to highlight the ingenuitive methods of making ends meet in a world that demands more advertising revenue and less ads. If more publications undertook similar procedures, then maybe the industry would be in a better shape. It’s just hard to justify spending almost a tenner on magazines such as GQ and Esquire which at this stage have become glorified watch catalogues.
I got some business cards. I feel like an adult but mainly in the way you try on your Dad’s jacket as a kid. The sleeves are too big and it feels unnatural but you think “Maybe someday this will feel like it fits”.
Until then, Georgia Bold. The playful young one in the serif monarchy.
Due to the my own college project becoming very much rooted in the role of the archive within the world of photography, I’ve become dependent on the collection as a format for keeping my interest in a project. Experiences that I’ve had where something unfolds over time, how rewarding that can be, is why I find the archive system as possibly the most fulfilling of any form.
But this focus on the body and the role of the series has devalued a lot of contemporary work for me. The onus is no longer on developing a project over time. Instead, we are implored through social media to share everything as it happens, including artistic works. Few use this system effectively. It’s possible to show a project being constructed over time but that option is rarely activated. The current trend in photography is to create the single image, and rely on the instant gratification that comes from attention online to keep an artist making work.
As such, the role of project based art photography has achieved minority status. Not including posthumous collections of miscellaneous snapshots and simple genre-categorisation, the artist has simply lost it’s value of building a thematic or issue based body of work.
So what role does the archive have now? Surprisingly, though not generally undertaken by artist themselves, they have found a new home in the pastime of the daily blogger. With the decrease in popularity in making a series of work, the archive has flourished in the form of secondary curation. The Tumblr format of blogging has given everyone the opportunity to be the tastemaker. Somewhat disregarding the external status of accomplished collectors, curators and archivists, the blogging system has built it’s own hierarchy of respect in the form of ‘internet celebrities’ and art critics. The user controls the archive, the user defines the structure and the user can build anyone up to be influential and seemingly important.
The single image has popularised this form of instant curatorial strategy, as the user poses the question ‘Will this look good on my blog?’ and within an instant can acquire the image for their own personal web gallery. Meaning and issues arising from projects are condensed and become easily digestible for the single image. More importantly, they become adaptable depending on the context of the webspace. The respect gained from being featured on certain places, such as Winslow Laroche’s Je Suis Perdu or Canadian trend-setters Blood of the Young, can be transferred into other areas such as personal website hits, professional opportunities and inclusion in physical exhibitions worldwide.
What has occurred is simply a foreshortening of the photographic process and a broadening of it’s inherent inclusion barriers. The ability to craft effective single images is the number one lesson to learn for contemporary artists. The disposability of the image is a major flaw that is worked around through consistent updates and a dependency on the nature of ‘reblogging’. The series has lost it’s place at the forefront of the medium and it terrifies me to no end.
Personally, I find it difficult to judge an artist on the single image. It says nothing of their work ethic, their intentions, their direction or identity. It’s possible to view the entirety of single image artists as one stream of work. The individuality that comes from project based work is irreplaceable but the value of a work and the efficiency of it are two different things. Right now, we’re figuring out the preference of the everyday user.
Fontcuberta is a man who has decided to create a version of history that stars himself in the main role and now he’s being rewarded for it. His approach to photography is mainly through the use of constructed archives; collections of images which show fictional events that cater exclusively to his ego. He is a cosmonaut, he is a renowned zoologist, and even an al-Qaeda terrorist.
Where his intelligence lies is not in these artificial representations of history, but in the adoption of certain codes of image making that we are all accustomed to and take for granted. In his series Sputnik, we are presented with an archive of the missing cosmonaut Ivan Istochnikov (Russian translation of the name Joan Fontcuberta). Fontcuberta himself plays the mythological lost cosmonaut in these images and there are several clues other than which point to this being a hoax.
The truth here is irrelevant, what’s remarkable is the small signifiers that allude to the traditional media formats we’re accustomed to from real historical events. The publicity appearances of Istochnikov greeting children and fans, as well as incorporating elements of the snapshot aesthetic, allow us to be absorbed by Fontcuberta’s world, if even for a second.
The role the archive plays in contemporary photography, when people are revisiting time-honoured techniques of representation in an attempt to portray post-modern reality in new and unfamiliar ways is an excellent statement on the image culture we are bombarded with in the photographic world. The image is never unquestioned, and rightly so. Fontcuberta’s Sputnik is now 16 years old and some outdated photomanipulation is easily spotted, but this just further enhances the idea of questioning. The artist never wants you to take their work at face value, it’s about digging one level deeper and opening that all important dialogue.
It’s little surprise that an esteemed establishment such as the Hasselblad Foundation wouldn’t adapt with the current media climate and begin championing the work of artists like Walid Raad last year, and now Fontcuberta; a man who is making work with that exact questioning sentiment in mind.
I finally got to see a physical copy of Patterson’s bestselling photobook last week and I was thoroughly blown away with each page turn. The book, which is already in it’s third pressing, details a 1958 murderous road trip by Charlie Starkweather and his accomplice/hostage Caril Ann Fugate.
What’s most impressive about Patterson’s portrayal of this folk tale is how he never talks down to his audience. Nothing is spelled out for you. Nothing is immediate. This is a book that takes time to unpack all the material involved and a informative reading of it isn’t available at the base level of observing. With small sections that come apart from the book and trinkets hidden inside, it’s difficult not to see this as the prototypical photobook going forward. This book was on almost every ‘Best-of’ list at the end of last year and it really stands up as something above its own hype.
What Patterson does is utilise the archive as a mechanism for telling a story. Each individual picture, though pretty they may be, offers little to the overall narrative. It’s only in the body that we find meaning and it’s through manipulative sequencing and series that Patterson weaves together a complex rewarding photographic work. Using ephemera to the best of it’s ability, the artist provides a horizontal look at the landscape in which these events took place. The old shop signs and found documents present us with a mythology that has eluded time itself.
What this book captures best is not Starkweather’s acts themselves but the resonance they hold for the Nebraskan landscape in which Patterson unfolds to the viewer. It grabs hold of the road-trip tradition held in high regard by American photography and strips it to it’s key components. Redheaded Peckerwood is this generation’s The Americans and we’re all better for it.
“The only thing that dictates the list is narrative. Does it have a story to tell? or Can it teach me anything? I didn’t study art, or art theory, so until someone with that knowledge comes along, everything will be steeped in narrative! And that sequentiality of an art book forms the perfect frame for telling a story in pictures – which as something I’ve not experimented with a huge amount is very appealing. And then you add text to the picture book, make the two features intertwine, and that’s a whole new level of elucidation and extrapolation. ”
Here is an extraordinary explanation as to why I write copy for every post on here rather than just reblogging an endless stream of pictures I find interesting. To me, narrative is the key to making any project work, but it essentially lies within interpretation, and the multiple viewing aspects that it allows. If everyone saw the same narrative when looking through a photobook, it’d be boring, it’d be meaningless.
Without the doubt and multiplicity of understanding a photograph, you’d be left with just text. The meaning of text, at least on a base level, is available to everyone. Photographs don’t offer their message to everyone the same way due to the codes and signifiers of your own society. To me, what’s really captivating is an individual’s personal response to an image, to see how it differs from mine and perhaps open a dialogue on the subject. That’s why I think it’s important to write about photography, not just expose it.
Generally, I’m a McGinley apologist but it’s getting harder and harder to stick up for this generation’s photography superstar. I want to like his stuff. I really do. But then he does things like this and it’s incredibly disheartening. I’m all for artists establishing both personal and commercial portfolios but this just seems like a complete and utter cash grab to me.
A proper actor wasn’t even hired for this. Karlie Kloss is a pretty face but that’s about it. She’s a model and her lack of even basic acting skills are most evident at around the 1:06 mark in the video when she turns and runs after the car. You know right then that this is going to leave a bad taste in your mouth. The overall vibe of the video seems like a spoof of what normal car advertisements are like. Jokey is not the best way to make an effective piece of work, whether the intentionality is there or not.
At the heart of it, McGinley is by and large a fashion photographer, just usually minus the actual clothing. So this choice of subject is no surprise at all. It’s mainly the putrid execution of a seemingly simple concept that catches you off guard. It’s really disappointing to see someone who has made some of my favourite photographs go off the deep end. His popularity is clearly decaying with each new project. The humiliation that should come from putting your name on a substandard product, and I’m not talking about the car here, is something that isn’t hitting home for McGinley.
There has been a lot of buzz recently around Netflix’s expansion into the world of programme production with the emergence of its first project, House of Cards. People have been up in arms about how releasing it as a complete series is a game-changer for modern media consumption. The internet is all a-stir with talk that this will revolutionise television strategy from here on but I’m failing to see how this is anything new.
Netflix has succeeded on the binge-model of programming for years now. The reason the service has the capital to produce such a project was from the prior knowledge they possessed that this is already a success. With on-demand television (and movies), there are no worries over air-time, no broadcasting overheads, nothing. They are entering an area that has virtually no competition. Again, this is nothing new. The binge-model is the very same reason TV shows embraced the idea of DVD boxsets.
So why is this in-house series getting so much attention? Well, I believe it’s down to the fact that people are surprised it’s, for the most part, actually quite good. The notion that this should be compared to a straight-to-video movie is a wrong one. It’s lightyears ahead. The production value is high and the cast are a credible list of industry household names. All the components for a great TV show are in place except the actual TV itself. Netflix merely cut out the middle man and are getting lauded for a basic business decision. This is no more revolutionary than the college student who puts his degree project on Vimeo. The only difference is that Netflix are going to make money from on-demand video because that’s what they specialise in. IT’S WHAT THEY DO!
Understandably, they played it safe for this first step into unknown territory but personally I think the move has been given far too much praise. They didn’t even play with the form in relation to what could be achieved. In terms of utilising this new found freedom, they have the possibility to cater to their exact viewing system. Their PR firm definitely needs to renegotiate the terms of their contract. Whoever they are managed to garner a lot of attention for a middle of the road TV show that’s only party trick would be that it wouldn’t be shown on TV. They’ve managed to convince everyone Netflix have reinvented the wheel by showing us a cheaper basic circle.