Everybody Is Making Movies, Why Do They Do It?

When I was a little girl my grandfather was the only person I knew who owned a video camera.  It was the type with the now historic reel to reel tapes and was likely one of the first models that ever came out for home use.  If my memory serves me, this particular style video recorder also served as the instrument that projected the taped video onto a portable movie screen, or a wall.  Granddaddy would videotape all the grandkids and family, and one of my fondest childhood memories was when we would all adjourn to the formal living room, sit around in the dark, and watch the home movies.  There are only two clips that come to mind that I can remember.  One was of me when I was about 5 or 6 years old.  I had grabbed a live fish from a bucket, with my brother standing nearby, and the fish suddenly started thrashing about, and frightened the bejesus out of me!  I think I might have cried.  Another one was of me on one of those hobby horses, with a blanket draped over my head and wrapped around my body.  I was pretending I was Lady Godiva as I sat side saddle on this plastic horse with springs to make it bounce up and down.  That horse was one of my prized possessions, although it wasn’t mine, it resided at my grandparent’s home.  My grandfather passed on several years ago in his late 90’s, and I had recently asked my father whatever happened to those old home movies, because I would love to dig them out and watch them again.  My aunt says they are still there, so if you read this Aunt Sally, dig those tapes out for the next family reunion, please.

Why do people videotape?  Back then it was to preserve family memories.  Today, for me, it is still to preserve family memories or record cool places that I visit.  I had bought my first videocam maybe eight years ago.  It was a mini DV recorder.  I haven’t really used it much; I took it on a couple of vacations and videotaped several birthdays, and the like.  I have never posted any video on the internet because I haven’t taken the time to purchase the right USB cord.  I bought one a while back because I thought I might share some video clips on Facebook, but the cord sits useless in the drawer because the end that you plug into the computer does not fit.  Nonetheless, becoming an amateur movie producer is not in my dreams.  I much prefer still photography.

Why do other people video record or make movies?  Well, to post it onto YouTube, of course, in hopes that the video will take off, get a lot of views, maybe initiate 15 minutes of fame, or even everlasting celebrity.  Some aspiring celebrity wannabes submit their videos in audition for various television shows or reality programs, such as Funniest Home Videos or the next season of the The Real World or The Bachelor. There are several different categories of videographers.  There are the amateurs that are just in it for the fun of it, and who want to share random clips with family and friends.  When the east coast had been recently dumped with snow week after week, I wanted to see pictures, so I turned to YouTube and sure enough, found numerous video broadcasts of the snowstorm.  Then there are the aspiring talk show host wannabes that have a passion about some interest or hobby and videotape “lessons” or “advice” to share with others of the same interest, such as cooking or a demonstration of some sort.  An example of this would be videogame walkthroughs.  I recently discovered these on YouTube while searching for solutions to advancing to the next level on my Wii Sims2 Castaway game.  Very helpful content, but you have to be careful not to spoil your game by getting too much information.  Another type is the “jackass” style videos, which are stupid people doing stupid things.  And then there are the advertisers.  People watch hundreds of millions of videos per day on YouTube, with a user base of age 18-55, equally males and females, according to the website stats. This medium is a treasure trove for advertisers.  And it is FREE!!!!  How can you find a more economical way to advertise your product and get it in front of what could be a potential audience of millions?  Advertisers are running ads InVideo as well as uploading Video Ads.  They also sponsor contests and create brand channels.  In addition to all of these video opportunities, there is the video footage that gets captured that makes for newsworthy events, such as natural disasters, or some politician doing something really dumb.   If you happen to be in the right place at the right time, with videocam in hand, your newsworthy video might just get picked up for national television broadcast.  And finally, there are the serious videographers who film movies or documentaries that do not have the capital to promote their work in the traditional sense.

The beauty of the ability to share your video work online is that many unknown and very gifted people are able to present their talent to an audience that was unattainable before the rise of YouTube and other video sharing sites.  With today’s media convergence, television/movie content has become the decision of a few executives driven by advertising and profit.  Independent films, books, and music have been difficult to produce or gain exposure; therefore, consumers have had less and less choices in content in the last few decades.  Now musicians, unknown movie producers, artists can record their vision and share it without having to fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars, or millions, to hire a big name company to promote the product.  Myspace has become notorious for promoting independent musicians.  Visit their pages, view their videos, download their music, and they could possibly get enough exposure to hit it big.  I found a website that lists 10 people who have become famous from their YouTube videos, check it out. http://www.pluginhq.com/youtube-celebrities/; I do not know who they are, but maybe you have seen them.

What is the future of video making?  Mobile video shooting and uploading, of course………..One moment of life will not be missed, nor forgotten, because it will all be recorded, and shared.  So watch out what you do in public, you might just end up on the news.  A hundred years from now, maybe just 50, or 25, historians and teachers will not get the majority of their curriculum from textbooks, they’ll be showing videos to teach history, geography, political science, and any number of subjects.  We are now watching videos nearly every week in my classes to supplement the text.

By the way, don’t do a search on “amateur movies”, you’ll get a bunch of porn websites as your results.  (Unless that is what you are looking for…….)

3 thoughts on “Everybody Is Making Movies, Why Do They Do It?

  1. Hi, nice read! I agree that media convergence, driven by the Internet, has created opportunities for self promotion. This is particularly good for musicians, filmmakers, etc. who are looking for world wide exposure. That idea was unthinkable twenty years ago.

    The problem with that capability is you end up with a severe decline in overall content quality. Just take a look at YouTube and count all of the pointless videos that get posted and receive a lot of hits. The quality of content has drastically diminished, and worse… the audience’s taste for quality content has drastically lowered.

    So what does this say about the future of user generated content? From a cultural perspective, are artist and audience standards for quality media content nearing degeneration?

  2. Mark: Thanks for the comment, that is an excellent point. How is it that one sifts through all the substandard content and land at the doors of the good quality, truly artistic or cultural substance? I would bet that studies have been conducted on users, and the content in which they search and view. Good question: Are our tastes in material that we deem quality and entertaining shifting, (for the worse)? Albeit, part of producing and sharing that what society would deem quality content is knowing how to achieve the exposure needed to get hits. At the same time, those searching for the superior content must know how to find it.

    I checked out your blog too, very nice, I will read it more closely when time permits. I think I might learn something from you!

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