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While I was watching Bladerunner earlier tonight I started thinking about what the audience was thinking about the future in the late 70s and early 80s. While I thought about their visions of the dystopia, I thought about the story and realized that the story isn’t fictional but the settings are: new buildings everywhere, flying cars, replicants…

In a time where thoughts of the accelerated future were omnipresent, is seemed that this was a very possible future. This story COULD possibly occur.

Cut to reality. 10 years before Bladerunner takes place, the world has gone broke.  Instead of flying cars we have a neverending war and a former president who Seth Meyers said, “broke the world”.

The dystopian vision of the future of the film is not in OUR near future. We have our own dystopian present.

This of course brought me to the thought of the Internet’s visual content. Everyday, loads of new content is being created for the web. So much of this content is entertaining, laughable, dramatic and even truthful, but is any of it BELIEVABLE?

This new frontier needs a story that is Believable. A story that sets the landscape.

At some point there will be a Bladerunner or a Taxi or a Cheers.  Something believable to our time and present.

The new outlet will truly take hold. If done right, the “call to arms” for new content will set the standard for the content on the web. It will give the Streamys a guideline. It will give the burgeoning Academy a strong foothold.

Its coming soon. Will you be the one to produce it?


As the semester is about to start, punctuated by my trip to BEA to speak about web television, a few thoughts on the new theories of pedagogy of the new field of Web Television.

I was asked the other day from a colleague a hypothetical question about college television programs. If I could be recruited to reconstruct a university tv program, what would I include in the plans? My answer was not to buy new switchers or monitors, but adding writing courses and adding newer digital cameras with tapeless workflow. Also, a television art/research course should be put into place. He wondered what brought me to these conclusions.

Today’s students are entering the University in the TV program expecting more from their education than they used to. In the past, students came to college with a limited knowledge of TV and Film production. (This is especially true for film because actually exposing film rarely, if ever, happens on the high school level.) In television, our school and many other Schools of Comm across the country employ a broadcast network television mentality. The schools are sold on the studio size and the ability of the studio cameras and the broadcast equipment. The students today come in already doing forms of shooting and post production in high school. (My first TV class was in 11th grade as part of the math department [utilizing Adobe Premiere].)

These new students are, as my colleague calls them, “platform agnostic”.

First we have to discuss how new television is different than old television. Web TV is not THE TEEVEE as we know it. Television, in the practical sense, is storytelling in a form that is captured by cameras then the light is converted to electricity to be sent to an electronic box to be converted from electricity back to light to be watched on many size television screens. Web TV is a visual medium, not so much television. It is ‘based’ on the look of television with its players in traditional aspect ratios of 4×3 and 16×9, albeit arbitrary. Web Television isn’t video, it is 1s and 0s. It just “looks” like video. This opens the door to almost limitless creativity.

Mike Hudack of spoke of an emerging ‘middle class’ producer. But what is a ‘middle class’ producer? This type of content producer is a storyteller to the core. The form the content takes is a second thought to the story that is being told. They are platform agnostic because of how arbitrary the medium is in comparison to the need of a good story.

This thought is EXTREMELY frightening to conservative professors. Academics feel that the medium is just strong as the story. I understand their sentiments, but my mind is open.

The thought of the platform agnostic middle class producer must be taught correctly though. In order to be MIDDLE class, one must know the low class producer (ya know, the one who taped the little boy biting the other little boy) and the high class producer (well, pretty much everything that is paid to be produced for major company distribution). We currently teach our students to be HIGH class producers. We take them from little or no knowledge of television technologies and bring them to advanced levels of television production. Their senior thesis project is a broadcast ready pilot. This year though, the students have the choice to produce a web-series as their senior thesis.

Our students are becoming much more aware of web television and are increasingly interested in the production of it. Through htvinteractive, our web television channel, students are producing web tv on their own, but they should be taught not only the theory of new television, but the technology. Students want to learn how to tell stories. They don’t see television as ‘not’ art nor do they see film as snooty, they just see different ways of distributing their story.

It’s time our students learned more about storytelling. They should also be taught the methods to be on the higher end of the middle class of producers. They should be taught codecs like H.264, distribution outlets, acquisition methods in order for them to have the highest quality necessary for their particular story and production.

Thinking outside the ‘box’ of television will offer our students incredibly high levels of creativity. As Jamison Tilsner said, “craft follows concept” or in the terms of the academics, “form follows substance”. These are thoughts to the new storytellers, the new type of television producers. They should think about the story and maybe the fact that web tv doesn’t have to be 4×3 or 16×9, but maybe 9×16 or other vertical shapes or thinner horizontal shapes. It is up to the storyteller!

The computer is not furniture yet we can watch a form of television on it. A form of television that must hold a great story for the audience because there is ALWAYS something else on….

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April 2018
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