Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's In A Name ?

One of the very part time roles I enjoy very much is being external advisor to the validation board for City University here in London. Essentially the role involves looking at the post graduate courses in run by Ravensbourne College - one of Europe's best known and most well respected technical film schools, which is shortly to move to its new purpose-built campus.

At our quarterly meeting today there was a lot of debate about the names to give to courses and it struck me how the tautology of television is rapidly changing. 

Once upon a time the term 'broadcasting' was mainstream; now it shares the billing with terms such as 'streaming', 'on demand', 'downloads', 'webcasting' and even 'IPTV'.

The idea of a large film crew involved in well organised productions is also giving way - so what do you now call someone in their bedroom with a global audience of ten million a week for their vodcast ?

What do you call someone who crowdsources the talent they need to produce feature films ? And then go on to distribute and promote it themselves ?

All of a sudden the term 'film-maker' seems inadequate.

On the other hand terms like 'discovery' and 'narrowcasting' are under-represented in industryspeak since they have not yet taken root and the roles they describe are not yet commercial enough.

Every industry has its meta language and it would be sad to see 'best boy' replaced by 'electrical assistant' or 'key grip' by 'camera movement operative', but it is time to start a new lexicon for the movie industry that we work in.

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