New technology has done far more than make filmmaking more accessible and international, it has deeply affected the way we approach production strategies and somehow made it simpler while welcoming all sorts of new complexities.
Combined with the seemingly unstoppable force that is reality tv, and the meteoric rise of social media, making a film today has become a live documentary experience rather than an intensive, somewhat undercover production run. The audience is now invited (via blogs/vlogs) to every pre-prod meeting, casting session, and even into the home of the director while he’s making burritos.
In a way this phenomenon of constant, up-to-minute documentation of everything does offer a really cool insider look at the craft of filmmaking, and helps bring the whole experience back to a realistic, humbler level. It has taken cinema out of the elite, hermetically sealed studio sound stages (to some extent) and made it accessible to anyone with the will and resourcefulness to pursue filmmaking. It has also encouraged big time filmmakers to “dress down” a little and get back into the real.
The downside of this round-the-clock monitoring and reporting on the process is that it has exposed the craft and trivialized many aspects of filmmaking that require professional care and know-how. It has made keeping things secret until release next to impossible, and to some extent created a “spoiler network” whose sole purpose is to let every single cat out of the bag. For any filmmaker that is trying to create in a more insular environment, and especially for any artist that is trying to bring a little surprise factor to their project, this is an unfortunate turn of events.
Whatever the case, this is the new reality, and as such it is wise to embrace this new media-heavy workflow and to make it work for you and your projects as much as possible. If the audience expects “leaks” and “spoilers”, insider blogs, big reveals, exclusives with your cast and crew, then try to make sure you are the one producing the lion’s share of that material.
Just as film sets now require digital technicians to handle new technological realties of camera/computer/interfaces, even the smallest production now needs a designated social media and behind-the-scenes team to monitor and to help build an online presence/brand for your film (more on this later). The key is to have your people in the field ahead of time.