Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On Media

What will the 21st Century bring for the creative sector? It's looking increasingly like it will bring software into the creative fold as the all embracing medium which all content will be subsumed into. This will likely be a century long process, one at the end of which, we will look back and see the beginning of the 21st century much as we look back and see the early days of the 20th, scratchy radio, daily newspapers with different editions through the day, early film, experimental television research, and telephones being for the wealthy only.

The initial scrabblings at the frontier of this process have two early promising starts. One is ebooks, the arrival of tablets as a primary computing platform has already started to be the engine for the re-invention of books. Currently it is very much along the lines of what my generation first imagined back in the mid-Eighties, embedded media, limited interactivity along pre-defined routes, non-linear story-telling. As the century unfolds the mixing of coding into this practice will result in evermore sophisticated forms of interaction and experiences.

The other area of interest is the emergence of long-form drama, on screen or on television as a major force. It is the first medium other than gaming to have a level of audience immersion we've not seen for quite some time. Given the challenges independent cinema now faces, the opportunities here for innovation are huge. How the viewer interacts may extend to enhancing the main storyline, about diversions which illuminate characters and relationships, about behind the scenes footage and commentaries which indicate process and intention. Building in many ways on what extras have provided but with a much more integrated approach, indicated by Sony's early explorations of clicking on a script page to jump to the scene in question on the DVD. This likely as not will be a running option within any film as it plays.

Software, software, software... Time to plan on integrating it, no matter which creative field you are in. Coders will be a key component in creative teams as the century progresses.