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Reinventing Cinema and Youtube

Reinventing Cinema; Movies in the Age of Media Convergence” by Chuck Tryon, discusses our understanding of film and how that understanding has needed to change in light of new technology.  Tyron talks of how once distinct and different forms of media have been incorporated into one another so to provide a more effective experience.  Tryon spends some time discussing the changes to the movie watching experience that have been brought about by the ability to view movies outside of theaters. He points to VCRs and now DVDs and the user’s ability to fragment the text.  This has given consumers more control over the movie and increased the number of those Tyron describes as “movie geeks” (p. 16).  He states, “…at home we are able to master the flow of cinematic images, while in the theaters we are forced to succumb to the temporal rhythms of theatrical projection, which require moviegoers to arrive at the theater at a specific time” (p. 25).  Tyron also talked in part about the issue of piracy in the film industry which provided a more well rounded view of this issue when combined with Siva Vaidhyanathan’s Copyrights and Copywrongs; The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity, which mainly discusses the issue as it relates to written text and the music industry.

I was very interested in Tyron’s discussion of movie Mashups and the dialogue that is created between what might, but not necessarily correctly, be called the consumer of movies and the entertainment industry.  I say that the term consumer is not entirely correct mainly because of the manipulation of professionally produced films, among many other things, that are displayed via website such as Youtube. Tyron states that,“…Youtube not only materially but also metaphorically keeps all texts available for reuse and recycling into new narratives.” The use of DVD’s and the “principle of incompleteness” has allowed an infinite number of movies, shows, and clips to be made available to individuals to “ripped apart and reassembled in playful new ways” (p. 151). Examples of such texts include “Shining”, “5 Second Movie”, “Scary Mary Poppins”, “Brokeback to the Future”, and many many more. Similarly, other such videos attempt to make political statements such as “Hillary’s Downfall” and “Baracky” or compilation videos such as   “100 Movies 100 Quotes 100 Numbers”, “Seven-Minute Sopranos”, and “Women in Film”.

User-generated video, such as the before mentioned, maintain and promote the discussion about the films, shows, and clips that they take their content from.  Therefore, some studios such as Twentieth Century Fox have attempted, with mixed results, to harness this free advertisement.  While others such as Viacom, also with mixed results, have “attempted to contain these fan productions” (p. 173).

Tyron explains the importance of such user-generated content and its ability to connect individuals with similar cinematic tastes or providing an avenue for discussion for those with different tastes. Individuals are given the ability to comment on products of the entertainment industry, politics, the news, or anything else for that matter.  Such texts promote the idea that “anyone with a computer is a potential producer, able to remix, rewrite, and reinterpret Hollywood movies” as they see fit (p. 173).

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