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July 24, 2006
The Internet, Video, and Feedback
On the Discovery Channel last night, I watched for the first time the documentary Grizzly Man, which delves into the doomed love that Timothy Treadwell had for the Alaskan grizzlies.
And it got me excited yet again about how the Internet has the ability to remake what we think of as video and storytelling.
Disovery channel did an interesting thing. After releasing the movie, which is a documentary about the fellow who lived for 13 summers among the grizzlies before being killed by one of them, the director then went back and talked again with Treadwell's friends about what they thought about the movie and the world's reaction to it. It's a tricky thing to do and to me it was pretty unprecedented. When you tell a story that has a point of view, you have to decide what points, after interviewing lots of people, illustrate the theme. And you're never quite sure how people will react. Of course there is never only one story that's true, because we're complex beings. But the most important thing in any story is to be fair.
What made me excited about how video is progressing online is the potential I imagined in the future to do the feedback much earlier after the release. And, as with this special on Discovery, broadcast it right alongside the original work.
Because the original work was a video, it's much more powerful to see his friends respond on video, together in a room eating cheese around a table. And then to see how the director splices in different pieces to illustrate the points the friends are making. With the Net, you can do that now right away.
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It certainly was interesting to see the feedback from Timothy's friends. This type of response form can take on new dimensions leveraging the Internet as a communication channel for content creator to consumer.
I didn't realize that Werner Herzog was responsible for this follow up documentarty (I only caught the last 20 minutes) but got the distinct impression from Treadwell's friends comments that Herzog was not involved--seemed like they kept attacking Herzog and defending Treadwell's schitzophrenia.
Posted by: zak at July 24, 2006 01:32 PM
it does bring up a lot of ideas about "interactivity" (heavily in quotes) in movies. some DVDs are so frustrating with their "extras" that amount to a rambling director talking about how great the project was. there could be discussions by critics, actors, victims. and of course the movie house isn't going to pay for anything that doesn't toe the line, so it has to happen outside-the-box.
Posted by: schadenfreudisch at July 26, 2006 10:19 AM