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Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 01:16 am
(Don't want to live in a) hub and spoke world

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chipuni
chipuni
Brent "Chip" Edwards
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 03:30 am (UTC)

Cultural protectionism tends to be conservative, but it paradoxically forces the youth to rebel against the conservative national output. Monoculture doesn't do that, since there's no national film culture to rebel against. The techniques of filmmaking become Other and lost. In a protected environment, the young filmmakers will take aspects from the monoculture and also, inadvertantly, what is needed from their own (protected) culture.

With all due respect, I disagree strongly. Why would young filmmakers be able to rebel against a national film culture... but not a monoculture?

Is it money to create the film? The cost of making a film has dropped dramatically in the past twenty years; what once cost millions of dollars now costs hundreds of dollars. Anywhere in the first world, a would-be filmmaker would be able to save enough to start filming after one year.

Is it special knowledge? Although learning filmmaking from the masters can save time, I don't see that one needs more than a camera, a script, some kind of set, and willing actors.

Is it distribution? Although getting into multiplexes is very difficult, the Internet is =starting= to find ways to pay filmmakers and content creators. (iTunes is the best one that I know, so far. Others will quickly show up.)

In my opinion, the film revolution has already started; places like YouTube have been spreading people's films. It will grow internationally even more than it has.



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(Anonymous)
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 06:34 am (UTC)
straight-to-youtube, made-for-youtube, youtube-of-the-week...

For all the three hundred million Youtube clips I've heard about and don't care to watch, I have yet to hear any buzz about "people's films".


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barnacle
barnacle
The Plain People of Ireland
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 09:02 am (UTC)
We all tube for iTube

YouTube is an excellent case study of what happens to alternatives to the hub-and-spoke system. When they reach a size that threatens the hegemony (like YouTube and MySpace both did) then they're almost immediately gobbled up by enormous hub-ist organisations like Google and the Murdoch empire. As Momus says, the hub is desperate to avoid the spokes from connecting up: if it can't prevent it through protectionism, then it will attempt to control and feed off the means of those connections out at the rim.

Google, and by association YouTube, might try to position itself as some sort of global, centreless, grass-roots love-in, but any organisation that doesn't even check whether or not the name for its new mail system is trademarked in Europe might provide an encyclopædia with its canonical example of capitalist chauvinism. And while it's possible to produce a pluralistic culture with the machines of monoculture, it's harder than you think to prevent the prevailing hub-culture from twisting the discourse round to its own way of thinking.

Don't forget that, through the selectivity of this column, all of the commenters here (me included) are busy on YouTube watching Jan Svankmajer and Japanese vloggers whose comments are translated for us by Hisae. Do you think the vast majority of YouTube users produce or consume anything of the sort? If so, then Hisae must be terribly busy.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 09:59 am (UTC)
Re: We all tube for iTube

And while it's possible to produce a pluralistic culture with the machines of monoculture, it's harder than you think to prevent the prevailing hub-culture from twisting the discourse round to its own way of thinking.

Exactly! This is one of the key problems with seeing the English language as a way for spoke F to talk to spoke T. Languages contain ways of thinking, built-in. They make certain conversations more likely. They tie us in to certain migratory corridors. And so on.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 10:17 am (UTC)

Because success is more closely tied to failure than people who do anything in their power to be winners seem to realize. Take the word "monoculture". It comes from crops, agriculture. It's a nightmare scenario, even for those who profit from it. If you phase out all the "loser" varieties of wheat, and concentrate on one super-high-yield variety, not only does everything start to taste the same, but when the blight comes, everything goes.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 10:32 am (UTC)

Well, you believe in stuff like variety and choice, don't you? You believe that dialogue is better than monologue?

At the start of today's piece I laid out shocking figures which show that British people have less and less foreign literature or foreign cinema available to them. This is an impoverishment, no? Now, behind it is a "success story" for the Hollywood studios and Anglo publishers. But that success is largely a financial one (and goes into the pockets of a relatively small number of already-wealthy people). Culturally, this "winning" is losing. It's impoverishment.

Imagine if I switched off comments on Click Opera. I wouldn't then have learned today from Trevor the excellent news that a phenomenon called "the hoga bubble" is happening, reversing the trend I had charted of US films taking more and more of the Japanese market. A great example of why dialogue is better than monologue!


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand



(no subject) - (Anonymous)
uberdionysus
uberdionysus
Troy Swain: Black Box Miasma
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)

Why should you care?

Because it's not about marketing failures. You can't compete against a multi-national corporation if they control all the means of distribution, and Hollywood controls most of the distribution in the world, EXCEPT for the countries that demand that their theaters show a certain amount of locally produced film. The economics question is a question about access, not a question about marketing, or the survival of the fittest.

Equally important, is diversity. You should care about aficionados and small markets because aficionados tend to be the creators, and the new ideas almost always come from small markets. A financial disaster may be the spearhead of a later cultural revolution. It's the "Velvet Underground" effect. The Velvet Underground sold a few records, and were a financial disaster, but it is commonly said that everyone who bought an album started a band.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
uberdionysus
uberdionysus
Troy Swain: Black Box Miasma
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)

You keep bringing that up, but that's not an issue at all.

It's about allowing MORE access to MORE voices, not about preventing anyone from seeing anything.

It's about access and distribution, not prevention of individual choice. Don't hang on the word "protectionism."


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


(Anonymous)
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC)

Redistribution of limited resources always means exclusion of one thing in favour of another. "It's about allowing more access to more voices" sounds like Sunday school.

There is this debate in Germany that occasionally pops up about having a minimum quota for German-language songs on the radio. This is of course only endorsed by right-wing, populist second-tier artists.

As is often the case, Momus' views again coincide -- against his intentions, one assumes -- with right-wing traditionalist views.

der.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
uberdionysus
uberdionysus
Troy Swain: Black Box Miasma
Mon, Mar. 26th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)

You can't rebel against a monoculture because monocultures of all sorts take away access to distribution and production.

YouTube and the internet is slowly changing that equation, but I have many friends in the movie industry, and making a film with digital tech is NOT cheap. It's easier to make a film now, but not by much. We all remember the story of El Mariachi or Sex, Lies and Videotape. Getting a decent digital camera is around $3,000, and although anyone in the 'first world' could save enough to start filming in a year, almost no one could afford to make a movie after a year of savings.

But the bigger problem is distribution. It is a monstrous problem, but not so much when you're in a country that supports local filmmaking. Japan and France both demand that theaters show a certain percentage of locally made films, and this means it is much more likely that a young filmmaker will be able to get their film into the theater. They won't have international distribution, but they'll have a ready-made access to a local audience.

YouTube simply isn't equiped to show features, and for now is predisposed to simple clips and the easy-to-digest. We've watched manga and films on YouTube and it's passable, but it sucks. And no one I know is willing to watch a 15 minute home-made movie on YouTube, let alone something that's an hour.

So although you're partially right, in the big picture cultural protectionism fosters young artists of the country. It has little to with rebellion and everything to do with access, money, and distribution.

But the larger point is that without the film revolutions of other countries in the last 50 years, U.S. films would suck. Without cultural protectionism, there would be no kung-fu wire works, no Ozu, no Tarkavoski, no John Woo two-gun flying-through-the-air action, no giallo, no Spaghetti Westerns, no Neo-Realism, no jump cuts. No Cassavettes, no Lynch, no Tarrantino, on and on and on.

Yes, we might be on the edge of a revolution, but without something to build on, we're going to get tons of the same old unimagintive bullshit. The only countries that need cultural protectionism are the ones that are losing all of their national filmmakers because they can't compete against multinational marketing and multinational corporations. It's both a question of economics (and monopolies) and protecting diversity in arts.


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