When I reflect upon the motivation that I had when I launched Videomaker in 1986, it pretty much came down to my desire to reach larger audiences with my video productions.
Back in those days, the equipment available was quite limited. For those working with a non-Hollywood budget, the production values were too low for cable TV, motion picture theaters or even VHS tape distribution. Hence, I was not able to reach a larger audience.
Today, the equipment available to anyone wanting to make video is incredible. Anyone can produce excellent video by using equipment costing less than $5,000. Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me has been a success in motion picture theaters and produced with affordable equipment. Morgan has succeeded in reaching a larger audience – millions of people in spite of the fact that he was rejected by the film school at USC five times.
With the proliferation of distribution options increasing almost as quickly as the explosion of high quality low priced equipment, the future seems bright for reaching larger audiences. Since the launching of Videomaker in 1986 there are now hundreds of TV networks hungry for TV shows, DVDs are cheap to duplicate and mail, and downloading DVD quality videos has become commonplace.
Somehow, Morgan Spurlock has cut through the media fog, while people like George Johnson of www.dreamerthemovie.com are still having difficulties reaching his audience. Norman Solomon describes media fog as a haze that surrounds us; mass-media fog-banks sweep in front of our vision, clouding the imagination, and allows only glimpses of better possibilities.
However, why is it that reaching larger audiences is important in the first place? Personally, I feel that there’s too much inspiration locked in my mind and I need to get it out. I need to see if others understand me. I want affirmation that my perspective is valid and can help build a better world. While I don’t have profound ideas worthy of an agenda item for the United Nations (this week anyway), I do enjoy making people laugh, question assumptions and evoking emotions of joy, despair or pity, just to name a few of the feelings video production can induce.
People with a desire to express themselves are drawn to the video production craft for these reasons. They seek collaboration in forming collective social beliefs. They seek to entertain. They seek to be storytellers.
The stories we tell reflect who we are and make us aware of our connection to humanity. They are the reflection of our experiences. We use stories to teach each other lessons about life, so when we tell stories, we attempt to make a point. Video is a great medium for making points.
Matthew York is Videomaker’s Publisher/Editor