My time at SXSW was the trip of a lifetime. Experiencing the Austin culture alone was amazing, let alone the time at the festival. Overall my favorite part of SXSW was me being able to listen to famous actors/directors/ producers. I have an interest in the film industry and having the opportunity to interact with these people was incredible. According to many of these professionals, technology will change the future of filmmaking. Today more and more people are spreading their message through social filmmaking and posting them on social media sites like YouTube ie: documentaries like the recent Kony video. One component of social filmmaking is that the audience appreciates its authenticity that other television programs such as reality TV and websites don’t capture.
When Pantene wanted to promote their Beautiful Lengths campaign, they hired a company that specialized in documentaries called Flow Nonfiction to create a video that captured the campaign’s mission. After traveling to different high schools and taping teenage girls cutting their hair to donate to cancer victims, they posted a video on Pantene’s Facebook page. After a few weeks, the page received millions of Facebook fans. Pantene took this opportunity to interact with these fans by encouraging them to donate. They were able to “donate their hair” on Facebook, and the message would show up on the donor’s newsfeed and posted on their wall for their friends to see. In addition to sending an authentic message and reaching people on an emotional level, Pantene said that creating a documentary was better for them than a short commercial or regular advertisements because potential donors were able to view the video anytime they wanted and send it to as many people they wish. More and more companies are following in Pantene’s footsteps such as Tide who is just finishing up their video.
Filmmaker Ann Lewis was sitting behind me at a social filmmaking panel and I had the pleasure of talking to her for about fifteen minutes about the connection between technology and the future of filmmaking. She is now creating a website and social media to promote her videos. Actress Lisa Kudrow and a director at HULU discussed the presence and future of web series on the internet. According to them, this will be the future of entertainment as more and more people will decide what they watch instead of flipping through stations on the television. Director Kevin Smith talked about how implementing technology has changed his career. Currently he is focusing on an online podcast instead of directing. He said he prefers it this way because he can communicate with his fans and give them what they want instead of making a movie and hoping for the best. Travel channel star Anthony Bourdain uses Twitter to connect with fans of his show. He also said he looks at recommendations his fans’ tweets on where to visit next, what to eat, and where to stay. In addition he also makes his own videos not related to his show and posts them on his website to attract fans. He also said that he and his producers tweet drunk more often because he says his audience enjoys it.
The bottom line is that more and more companies are implementing technology to their particular brand. Their particular platform they use to convey their message to their audience base is depended on what their message is and what effect they want the message to have on people. There has been a substantial increase in social filmmaking to send these messages. Many companies ask for audience participation on their product such as live tweeting their opinion of the video or asking for donations. Out of all the panels I attended at SXSW they all emphasized AUDIENCE INTERACTION in order for the message to be successful, meaning that it reaches the targeted audience and that the audience wants to act. Filmmaking helps with audience interaction because upon viewing the video they are emotionally moved and most likely have an incentive to act.