Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 Things I'm thinking about for Twenty10

Ok, now I'm on this damn list machine, luckily there's less than 12 hrs left for making end of year lists. I don't have any predictions for film and media in 2010, but I am wondering about a few things:

1. Who will be the exciting new storytellers? 
Who will we be talking about post Sun/Slamdance, Berlin, etc.? I'm always excited to discover new talent, and while there's always great new works by established folks, I can predict with confidence that there will be at least one new discovery this year. But I also predict that like the last couple of years, the new voices I discover won't come from a fest or even a proper film, but from mash-ups, remix, machinima and plain old viral video online. Can't wait.

2. OpenIndie. 
What will it be? I donated to this thing and I still don't completely understand it. But, I have faith that the two folks behind it will make something cool that probably won't change the world (as they hope) but will likely change it just enough to matter.

3. Will fest launches work?
This is the year that many people think filmmakers will really start thinking of festivals as their path to finding an audience instead of finding a distributor. At least one filmmaker is using Sundance as their launch. I can't wait to see how many others do this and what degree of success they have.

4. Which film sites will last?
There's been a lot of launch, crash and burn in this sector. I know a few that are struggling mightily and in this ongoing recession I imagine that many an investor is about to pull the plug. A few will survive, however, and may even come up with some new models that start to work. I'm not publicly predicting who will emerge stronger by the end of 2010 (yes, I have my thoughts), but here's hoping that at least a few come out stronger and they help more good films get discovered by audiences.

5. Who will embrace mobile?
Sally Potter embraced mobile with the release of Rage this year on Babelgum. Who else will experiment with cool strategies for mobile content this year? I'd personally like to do two things this year - follow a film in production via clips I watch on my phone and discover a new viral series that not only is watched on my phone but that takes advantage of phone technology. What do I mean by that? Maybe the content changes based on geolocation, or maybe it just sends me content based on where I am Mayor on FourSquare. I don't know, you make it and tweet me about it when it's ready.

6. Will PBS get off its ass with digital?
Could anyone be lamer when it comes to the web and digital than PBS? Not radio, mind you. There we have cool stuff on NPR and tools/orgs like PRX. Over in tv land we have....old PBS shows on Itunes, a twitter feed. Hmm, not much else. They are supposedly going to get around to digitizing and making available all old content on this thing called the American Archive, but since they are doing this the PBS way - committee - it will likely launch in 2020. If ever. Hey, PBS, digital doesn't work by committee. But, you could form one that uses 2010 to decide what real public media looks like in light of the web. I bet it's not by getting more commercial, but your committee can tell you that.

7. Will we wake up to policy threats?
This ain't fun, but if you care about the future of media, the web, creativity and discovery, you're gonna have to get active on boring policy issues this year. There are some serious threats to the Net as we know it out there. My friends like to make jokes about the MPAA and RIAA, but guess what? While we're laughing, they are lobbying. Internationally. And they are winning the war. We're going to see big changes in international law regarding copyright, file-sharing, net neutrality, open search, libel. Lots of stuff. It's hard to stay on top of this, but the organizations that used to do it for us don't do it much anymore, so I recommend the following: Public Knowledge, EFF, Cory Doctorow, FreePress and Future of Music. There's more, but if you follow these folks, they'll keep you up to date.  Anyone got a Twitter list? If so, leave it in the comments.

8. Will we finally see more diversity in media?
I spoke on a lot of panels this year. On almost every one, I was sitting with a bunch of white guys. Especially on panels about the future of media. Not even white women usually shared the stage. On the screen at the multiplex and at the indieplex...more white guys. This is not the future. We've had major demographic shifts in the US and around the world. Our media needs to reflect this.

9. What changes will come to film festivals?
I hope this is a big year of change at film festivals. I imagine there will be a lot of change, both positive and negative. It's a tough year, again, for sponsorship and many are hanging by a thread. But many are getting creative with how they might survive this economy and it's already led to some interesting changes. There's been a lot of personnel shifts, a lot of new strategies like using a fest as a launchpad. What else will happen this year? My biggest hope is that at least a few fests will sit down with some smart filmmakers and thinkers and dream new ways to work together to build audiences and success in 2010.

10. Who will do something crazy?
In another post, I suggested that we need more people swinging for the fences - SFTF. Referencing a TechCrunch article about the need for more big, crazy world-changing ideas in the tech start up world I said this:

"In her article, Lacey makes a stab at what was missing from TC50. Speaking of start-ups she points out that:

If what they’re trying to do makes clear business sense, a bigger, better-positioned company would do it. A start-up’s only edge is that it’s not built into legacy businesses and preconceived notions and can do something, well, crazy.

Replace start-up with indie and you have a business plan for the future of indie film. I think this spirit of craziness is what’s needed for indie film today.

So my new mantra is to Swing For The Fences and support those who do - SFTF."

And that's what I hope to see more of in the year Twenty10. So, whether you are a filmmaker, transmedia storyteller, distributor, festival, pundit, lurker, nonprofit, critic or anyone else in the media industry, I suggest you use 2010 to swing for the fences and do something crazy. That's what I'ma gonna do.

No comments: