The problem with Twitter

I remember seeing a James Bond movie recently, probably on TNT, and noting the camera takes. I saw, in the film, a scene that went on for close to two minutes with nary a change in angle or cut in the scene at all. And it was hardly the only scene in the film that was like that.

Contrasting that with a movie of today, editors are seemingly cutting movies for audiences on crack. Scene and angle changes take place over the course of seconds never allowing an audience to focus, never putting enough content in front of an audience for a long enough period of time to find the substance within it.

It makes filmmaking easier. It lowers the bar for real talent. When you are only giving the audience enough time to focus on what is moving in the scene, you can take short cuts and ignore what might give what you are making some actual substance.

I feel the same way about twitter in a lot of cases. Now, I realize that much of twitter is quick Q&A’s and FaceBook-like updates, but if I am following someone on twitter it’s usually because I want to hear what they have to say and I think I want to hear more than 140 characters.

I think others feel the same way as more and more people are using twitter as a portal to their blogs. Making it more of an announcement system than a micro-blogging platform. Which is exactly what I don’t like.

Twitter grabbed a hold of our country’s ADHD-level attention span and along with FaceBook, Tumblr, texting, and summary blogs – are creating a level of communication with out context or substance.

Certainly everyone can be a blogger. But not everyone can be a writer.

The internet killed…

There are certainly many things that the internet has supposedly killed… travel agents, real estate brokers, the music business and now the movie business.

But they weren’t really killed were they? People still travel and buy houses. The still make movies and create music. So it’s less of a killing of an industry and more of a changing.

Now, it’s newspapers crying foul and pointing most of their venom at Google this week. Screaming about all the visitors being lost to Google news, while at the same time ignoring all the visitors gained from Google searches.

What will be the next thing? I’m going to put my money on books. I have seen an increasing number of novels and non-fiction pieces in the (what used to be) dark corners of the internet than ever before.

Did everyone hear all the hubbub over the movie ‘Wolverine’ being leaked this week? Does anyone realize that an unfinished copy of the next book in the Twilight series was leaked online? Most people don’t and that’s why there hasn’t been as much of a furor over the leak.

But as newspapers fold, and even more people are driven online to read, as the Kindle and the Kindle iPhone app become more popular and people become even more comfortable reading online and on devices, they are going to realize that it’s just as easy to find books online for free as it is for movies and music.

I think publishers should accept this in advance and plan accordingly.

Wolverine leaked online

Showing up on all of the popular torrent sites this April Fool’s day was a file purporting to contain the unreleased ‘Wolverine’ movie. But unlike the fake torrents that constantly fill the search results of these sites, this release was no joke.

A near complete work print of the movie, although seemingly about 14-16 minutes shorter than the final film might be, was out in the open for any who wanted to download it. Not to be confused with a screener, which is a full copy of the movie with (usually) watermarks for tracking purposes, this was a work print. It is missing scenes, some special effects and even the complete score.

Being a work also seems to narrow down the “leaker” as someone with a direct connection to the movie. Not necessarily someone on the film itself, but possibly a friend or relative of someone involved. Of course, there is the possibility of outright theft as well.

Every news story about this, and about other movies in the past, all scream about how much money the studio will lose because the movie has been leaked online.

It’s very much like software pirating. I see illegal copies of Photoshop being used all over the internet. But Adobe isn’t really losing money. These people were never potential customers for them, they only download it because they can. There are free image editors that handle what most of these people use Photoshop for and similarly, I firmly believe that anyone who claims that they won’t go see the film because they downloaded it already had no intention of going to the movies to see it.

But, as usual, the movie studios are looking at this in the completely wrong way – trying to position themselves as a victim, instead of seeing an opportunity.

Can’t they see what’s right in front of them?

Most reports indicate that the movie was downloaded a few hundred thousand times. That’s a movie with missing scenes, incomplete music, incomplete special effects and poor video resolution, being illegally downloaded by a very small group of people – most people haven’t a clue as to what a ‘Torrent’ file is.

Instead of crying about the money that you are losing to a downloaded work print, cry about the money you are losing by not offering the movie as an easy to download HD version via the internet or On-Demand systems.

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I’m not saying that a movie doesn’t deserve its theatrical run – I go to the movies more than any person I know, or have met, but the amount of activity around this movie alone proves that people are hungry for an easier way to consume media. All the pieces are seemingly there. The internet speeds, home networking, TIVO’s, DVR’s and media centers built into computers and game systems.

We just need someone to put out the content.

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And if the last batch of ‘Star Wars’ movies proved anything, it’s that being leaked online and being bad won’t result in bad box office.

What happened? What does it mean? What do I think about it?

I heard Merlin Mann say this during his and John Gruber’s talk during SXSW 2009, and it seemed so right.

So many websites/blogs nowadays are just links to other content. God knows most of what I have published in the past has been just that. A random link to whatever is cool that day and a quick “Check this out!” under the link.

Why would someone want to come to my site, or any site for that matter, if that was the level of content they were getting?

People come to your site, because they want to hear your voice. And for probably the up-teenth time I am once again restarting my web writing with the idea that this time I’m focused on the content and the act of writing and not the page views, or Google ads.