Friday, October 06, 2006

Some thoughts from Melbourne

Right, back at work for today. The conference is over and I get to be thrown back into the hurly burly of everyday life. While I sit here, an hour after my proposed knock-off time, waiting for a promo DVD and some troublesome transcoding, I figured I'd get some of my ideas out.

First up, what's with Melbourne?!? Chilly Wednesday morning, dry and hot Wednesday afternoon and evening, cold, windy and overcast Thursday. Crazy town. I preferred it the last time it was there and the temperature ranged from a blustery 6 degrees, to a balmy 6 degrees. At least I had time to adjust.

Would have loved to have got to see the Picasso exhibit, but alas it wasn't to be. Apologies to Melbouorne friends, but there just wasn't time to catch up.

Irony quotient for the two days - keep in mind the title of the conference is New Realities: Beyond Broadcasting.

(In a Southbank men's room)
Me: "If I'd known you were going to play that clip I'd have worn my ZeFrank T-shirt."
Him: "Aw yeah, isn't he great? I reckon it's only a matter of time before he gets his own T.V. show."

Something doesn't strike me as being quite right here...

[EDIT] I had a thought about this and want to make a few things clear, in case someone with a connection to all this should pass by.
I'm not implying that the other participant in this conversation was some sort of hypocrite. I mean, the irony of the statement didn't strike me until late the next day so I'm hardly immune to criticism. This is just the mentality that some of us have as a result of the current mediascape; Cinema at the top, then TV, newspapers/radio battling it out for third, then the internet as the newcomer. It's hardcoded into our brains at the moment, but something we can be aware of and try to think around.

Jennifer Wilson from HWW made a comment that while talking to one of her competitors they made the distinction between television and video on demand as (and I'm going on memory here, so if the quote's not entire accurate I apologise) "if it's scheduled and you can't interact with it, it's television. If it's not scheduled and you can do what you want with it it's Video-on-Demand." The feeling here was that this was somehow wrong, that the term television is one that should be more open to interpretation. It's a feeling expressed recently by Jeff Jarvis of Blogmachine when interviewed by Amanda Congdon ("I argued, in turn, that the definition of TV is up for grabs and that (Amanda) should grab it: Don’t let the big, old guys define and own TV."). I just can't agree with either point. To me the term television is not just "video/pictures over a long distance" as the etymology of the word would indicate, but has picked up all sorts of baggage over the last 50 years. The big, old guys DO own T.V. as evidenced by that self-congratulatory exercise they went through a few weeks back to celebrate 50 years of Australian T.V. They own the infrastructure, they own the broadcast spectrum, they own the process. Even if you create video at home and it gets played at a scheduled time from a broadcast centre, it's television. I say let's avoid calling it television (for the record, I hate "vlog" and "vodcast" even more). Let's not allow names and terms to create a definition, but rather let innovation and creativity define the scope of what's possible.

In a world of broadcasting where schedule is everything, I think I've figured out why so many men are at the top of the totem pole in the live news arena. The whole thing follows the neoFreudian concept of narrative as being akin to the male sexual impulse. The day starts with a single goal in mind, slowly building momentum until the frenzied and focused moment of broadcast. Climax is short and sweet by comparison to the buildup, with the occasional disaster, and it's all nicely wrapped up at the end with a quick "how was that for you?" before getting out of Dodge as quickly as possible. The next day everything before is forgotten in the mad rush to hit the next scheduled broadcast time.
And on it goes.

If I haven't done anything about it in a year's time I want to come back here and be able to have this poke me in the eye to remind me how slack I am with using my ideas to their full potential:
Use the company's public trust to help guide some of the less adventurous into the new technology, because if they won't trust us, who will they trust? You know what that means.
The GreyPlayer. Figure it out, future-me. Don't make come up there and slap you round.

If we want to disrupt the schedule, then let's really disrupt! Create a program accesible only through an ARG, Beast style. Make the audience work, create a feeling of exclusivity. Create and foster community to assist those who can't get the clues, but want to follow the ride. Be adventurous. Make it "pirate". Will the punters hack it to pieces as hoax like they did with LG15? Guess it depends on how you front it. If they know up front that it's a game, if they know it's corp, but aimed at them, it enables the narrative to be built. Programs can go live at any time, completely unscheduled. The product isn't just repurposed, it's net only for one part, radio only for another, elements and clues dropped into TV. Disavow public knowledge of its existence, with a wink and a smile to the audience. Scare the bejeezus out of the marketing people!!!!!

The future's there if we have the proverbials to grab it.

[ADDITIONAL COMMENT] Blogs as conversation.
Ha! There's no conversation here. Sure it happens with some blogs, but for most of us it's just ranting to ourselves, posting links to stuff we find interesting for archive purposes, and knowing we can dig through in a year, two year's time and take a look at stuff we find interesting.

Don't believe me? Then comment!! I would wager that this post doesn't get a single comment within one week from today (Sunday 8th), even with me posting the challenge. There's no conversation here, just me and a bunch people using Google Images to look for that damn LotR-WoW mashup.


Anonymous said...

i must talk to you about my idea for some psa's and other tricks....

the fiend
still yet to edit some of the america footage...

(and to be honest i remembered to check here, now, to see if you had anything to say about the google/youtube thing...)

Leonard King said...

That'd be right. Bitch about something and someone will come along to destroy your self-pity.

The Comment challenge only lasted 3 days, but what a ride!

Always interested to hear your ideas. As for the GoogTube thing, I figure everyone else is having their say on the matter, some congratulatory, some damning. I'm leaning towards the "Good on you!", but am more interested to see how all the prophets and their predictions pan out over the next few months. I learnt a while ago that trying to guess what happens next in the current media environment is a mug's game.