Readers Respond to Matt's Viewfinder Column
Recently, we've received many letters in response to "Joy and Pain," Videomaker Publisher and CEO Matthew York's August 2007 Viewfinder column on the subject of YouTube videos.
Joy and Pain
Wow! You summed up what I was feeling without figuring out how to verbalize it. Yes, I have had a problem with YouTube videos ever since they started becoming so popular. Despite the number of hits, I have seen very little that amuses me as a storyteller. It's all "kicked in the crotch" videos. It's all disposable entertainment. The worst thing about it is that these people consider themseleves filmmakers! If you go out and make a video where someone gets hit in the crotch - put it on YouTube - and get 90 thousand hits... OK, congratulations, but you are not Martin Scorsese now. Perhaps you are right, Mr. York, and all these videos are popular not because they are films but because they are targeting the "Schadenfreude" of society. We need to make a distinction from true filmmaking and "kicked in the crotch" "Schadenfreude" video. They are not the same.
I must say that your editorial took me by surprise! I thought I was the only person left who is very disappointed with the current crop of videos on most of the sites. I receive links from friends quite often and, to be honest, I tend to stop watching more than half before they reach the end. I do not take joy or pleasure from another's misfortune or pain, I tend to feel their pain. The mind-numbing number of schadenfreude, staccato-cut, in-your-face videos out there tend to drive me crazy!
This link below is a video I shot for a short video contest that had the theme of "memories" and a three-minute time limit. My short ended up being only 50 seconds long but beat out 23 others to win the contest. It is a serious type video and one that far too many people can relate to. I even had people request DVD copies of it. I hope that you enjoy it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8aEAEJDpa0
Keep up the good work. The August issue has to be one of the best ever.
Port St. Lucie, FL
Bump Up the Production Value
Matthew, I couldn't agree more with you on the Joy and Pain article (actually I seem to agree with all your editorials). I don't understand what this says about mankind either - is it something within us biologically??? I can't stand the violence and deaths, as well as the Schadenfreude that has littered the Internet. I too would love to see someone host videos that people like me and your readers could watch and submit production-valued entertainment without having to sift through all the crap that's out there. I have a friend, Todd Jeffery, who went to AFI who had a great comment: "You can get just about anybody to watch just about anything if it's only 90 seconds." You do a great job, love your magazine, and I always learn something new.
Teaching Video to the Young
Hello Matt York, I teach digital video at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, WA. I wholeheartedly agree with your article about Joy and Pain and also question what our values for entertainment have become. I have open discussions with my students on this subject quite often and they too wonder about where this is all heading. We are no different than the barbarians that watched the lions attack at the Roman Coliseum. I simply ask my students to help make this a better world with their videos. I am sending you some of their work and mine. The documentary on our school nurse won a Pillar award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Science. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIH9Qvo4eGc
The other videos are light-hearted pieces that reflect my idea of how video can entertain us. I love Videomaker and have been a long-time subscriber. Thanks for your comments. I was starting to think that I was alone on this issue and enjoy our videos.
Editor's Note: Jerry has touched on a wonderful way of using video to teach kids about history. Their video Remembering Our Heroes might have been just dull facts in a history book had the class not brought it to life and given it breath.
You Are Not Alone
Matt... I agree with you completely. Why is it funny when someone has a problem or gets hurt? A good video has a good story and has good structure. I have always thought this way.
Editor's note: To all who wrote expressing their desire to watch better-quality videos online, keep tabs on both our magazine and our blog, as we'll continue to direct you to video-sharing sites where you can learn from others and share with the video community.
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