When you choose knowledge over ignorance; reality over denial; sobriety over escapism – loneliness becomes the price you pay.
And courage, becomes the way you navigate the world.
In Five Minds for the Future, Howard Gardner defines and nominates five mentalities that he deem essential for preparing us for the near future.
Disciplined Mind – mastery of schools of thought, profession or craft.
Synthesizing Mind – ability to integrate ideas from difference spheres into a coherent whole and communicate it to others. The author notes that this especially important in a time filled with ‘dizzying’ amounts of information.
Creating Mind – ability to think about new ideas, unfamiliar questions, new ways of thinking. The creating mind ‘seeks to remain at least one step ahead of even the most sophisticated computers and robots’.
Respectful Mind – awareness of and appreciation for differences among human beings.
Ethical Mind – fulfillment of one’s responsibilities as a worker and citizen.
I agree these are key mindsets we should have in the world of today and into the future, particularly the Synthesizing and Creating minds. However, the author testifies that he has considered a large range of other mindsets and is willing to defend his selection ‘vigorously’. Having said that, he then opts to use partly or mainly anecdotal evidence when expanding on these mindsets. It might be the case that possessing the five he suggests might be sufficient to lead to those other mindsets. However, his case might have been more clear if he did in fact went into more details as to why these minds over the others he has briefly listed: technological mind, digital mind, market mind, democratic mind, flexible mind, emotional, etc. Nevertheless, this was an insightful article with lots to draw inspiration from.
The parts that stood out to me were mostly in the sections that delved into education:
“In our cultures of today – and of tomorrow – parents, peers, and media play roles at least as significant as do authorised teachers and formal schools.”
This put into words something I realised in my journey through this course. One or two years ago, I don’t remember the exact reasons but I went on a science documentary spree for a couple of months. Binge watching any and all scientific documentaries I could get my hands on via Youtube (back in highschool, I wasn’t very interested in the STEM subjects, particularly didn’t understand physics). But it was amazing that as my older, early twenties, self I was able to not only comprehend complicated ideas in physics but, by the end of my custom Youtube ‘course’, was able to synthesize the concepts I understood and arrive at (through my own means) other existing physical concepts. This experience made me appreciate the beauty of other disciplines and the importance of integrating all these fields to better understand the world we live in, and also gave me the confidence to pick up astronomy.
The internet and all its wonders have opened up a world of resources many times more superior than any singular school or university. And that is not to say schools and universities are redundant, they still serve us in many other ways shall we choose to pursue a discipline.
Which leads me to my other epiphany, which is the more important point: media is empowering. I finally understood the role communication and media play among other disciplines in the world. It is one of the most effective, perhaps more direct and intuitive than our current form of formal education, in communicating to, educating, and inspiring people. This ultimately changed my purpose in studying media. Rather than wanting to be an experimental filmmaker, I was suddenly imbued by a greater passion, purpose, and responsibility to affect the world, and perhaps, to communicate to, and share with others the beauty, the possibilities, and opportunities I have discovered.
“The empires of the future will be empires of the mind” – Winston Churchill, as quoted in Five Minds for the Future.
In light of our current pace in technological innovation, and trajectory toward practicality and efficiency in labour, many have been thrown into an growing global ‘existential’ crisis – our jobs, on which we have built our identities, will all eventually be replaced. We as humans are urged more than ever before to seek our ultimate value in society. What are we here for? Why do we work? What part of us cannot be replaced by robots and computers? Some think that it is our ability to be creative, to make random leaps from thought to thought. Will general artificial intelligence once day be capable of that too? Only time will tell. But we might not need to constantly compare ourselves or compete with the machines we design in order to set ourselves apart from them. Being creative, be it in the arts or the sciences, is a unique individual endeavour; and often lead to the most significant contributions to society. Unlike any other skills, I don’t believe we will ever have too many artists, too many inventors, or too many intellectual thinkers.
Last but not least:
“…I’ve discovered a particularly Sisyphean goal: “leading the world in international comparisons of test scores.” Obviously, on this criterion, only one country at a time can succeed.”
Perhaps out of superficiality, I was greatly amused by Howard Gardner’s analogy for policymakers’ vacuous proclamations about education goals. Having said this, I think the contradiction beneath is one that needs to be addressed. The importance of finding a meaningful purpose or value in education is something that society – parents and young people themselves – needs to realise as well.
In ‘Finding Time in a Digital Age’, chapter 7 in Judy Wajcman’s Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism (2015), she opens with a description of what economist John Maynard Keynes anticipated almost a century ago: increased productivity from technical progress will eventually alleviate the time and effort needed to produce and supply humanity’s material needs. Yet instead, Life is even more rushed in the accelerated digital age when the opposite was predicted. She argues that reducing of work hours as one way to alleviate time pressure. She attributes these long hour working conditions to a capitalist economy, hyper consumption, and a lack of public forum of what is a good life and what value and place leisure should have in it.
Her quote from sociologist Juliet Schor is only too relatable:
“they work too much, eat too quickly, socialise too little, drive and sit in traffic for too many hours, don’t get enough sleep, and feel harried too much of the time.” (p.167)
Whilst many have adopted the perspective that: the solution to our ‘temporal impoverishment’ is to return to a ‘naturalistic’ lifestyle and escape from technology, Wajcman’s analysis does not favour this as the answer. She highlights the complex duality technology have in our lives. On one hand, it has the ability to maximise our productivity, experience differently, and allow us to connect, produce, and operate in ways that weren’t possible before. On the other, we are constantly distracted, consuming and working as we are always connected.
The author’s commendable pragmatism, in response to the reactionary approach through returning to ‘nature’, shows great clarity and rational understanding beyond the emotional. She even proposes that we can find new approaches to adapt to our current environment. Just because technology has sped things up in our lives, doesn’t mean we can’t use technology, as we always have, to assist in improving human capabilities to adapt, to be versatile in new environments. This is demonstrated in the time management phone app that Wajcman mentions in the beginning.
“Smart, fast technologies provide an unparalleled opportunity for realizing a more humane and just society, only we need to keep in mind that busyness is not a function of gadgetry but of the priorities and parameters we ourselves set.” (p.184)
Wajcman also identified that, with the convenience of technology (particularly our personal devices, cloud services, etc), our divide between work and leisure seem to have dissipated.
This blurred lifestyle is something I experience on a daily basis, mostly working wherever I can fit it in. Some days I feel glad to be working from home and being able to spend time with my dogs, not realising that I am often not spending quality time with them, rather, bringing the mess and stress of my pursuit of my career into my ‘personal life’ and letting it invade the time i have set for other parts of my life. Whilst I have no complaints to putting in as much as I think I should for the results I desire, I have realised that I also desire and should cherish the companionship I am so fortunate to have at this point in my life. Which makes it difficult to prioritize one over the other. Incidentally, I have never thought this lifestyle I have unintentionally taken up might have anything to do with the fact that the integration of technology into our lives have made it possible to work anywhere we can, or want to.
This reading shed light on some subtle and sometimes unnoticeable factors that we should be reflecting on in our daily practices and work-life balance.
Why the video trump the book in the Quest for communicating his ideas
Cal Newport, 2012, ‘The Clarity of the Craftsman’ in So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work, NY Business Plus, ch.4.
Just as I was about to write a #triggered rant about this reading after I finished it, I decided to read up on who Cal Newport actually is… who he is writing to… and what he was ultimately on about.
As evident in his publications, they are mostly aimed at high schoolers or college students:
- Deep Work (2016)
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You (2012)
- How to Be a High School Superstar (2010)
- How to Become a Straight-A Student (2006)
- How to Win at College (2005)
I also stumbled upon a Talks at Google video in which he makes a bit more effort than the book does in addressing the issues and explaining his ideas. But first, let’s breakdown the issues in the text.
Firstly, it is really difficult to understand the full context of this text without the rest of his book. So my critique of it is subject to the lack of certain contexts. That is, the author may have clarified or defined some of these points earlier in the book.
The author seem to take for granted the words he uses mean the exact same thing to everyone else, and fails to acknowledge any room for interpretation. He doesn’t define any of the terms he chooses to use repeatedly throughout the text. From the contents page down to the actual text itself, the author is prone to oversimplifying his concepts and other ideas he is referring to. And by doing so, reveal the complex relationships between them even more.
Some semantics worth elaborating upon would be:
“Be So Good”:
Good at what? Good in what sense? Not once throughout the text does he actually elaborate on what he means to be ‘so good they can’t ignore you’. What does this author define as good? Why good and not best, or better? Good is such an elusive term!
More Importantly – One might contemplate on the varying degrees on our individual scales. What do we all think is good, or good enough? Good for you might not be good enough for me, etc.
The writer interviews a handful of performers and establishes that whoever his readers are, no matter what kind of career or work they are involved in or plan to pursue, they should take on the “craftsman mindset”. Firstly, he doesn’t explain or contextualise his case studies. He generalises and ignores the various natures of different types of work. It almost feels like he was too lazy to go into depths. By emphasising ‘crafts’, it implies to readers they should obsess over the medium or means in which they create or work and not focus on what you want to do with it. Why give it such a misleading name?
“what you can offer the world” & “what the world can offer you”:
These phrases are not only vague in what they’re actually saying, but only seem to invoke by feeling in the readers that one is good for you and the other clearly not. By saying ‘what you can offer the world’, he could very well mean something along the lines of contribution to the larger things we care about (he does provide a better example in the video). But one can easily interpret this line as offering your services to the market, which many more people (in retail/hospitality for example) actually do and think they are “serving the world”.
The writer uses strong and subjective language and again, fails to elaborate when needed. In the video below, he actually does address what is it about the word “passion” that he is against. This might also be addressed in a previous chapter in the book, but it is certainly not clarified within this chapter. In the video he speaks specifically of the “follow your passion” mindset, which he explains as being problematic due to the assumption that we all have preexisting passions and can be matched or assigned to specific jobs. In other words, he is saying don’t think of passions as the jobs you seek. Which is really good advice, only he didn’t really do it justice in the text. In the text, he seems awfully bias against anything to do with passion or self discovery; which honestly befuddled me.
‘Second (reason)…the deep questions driving the passion mindset – “Who am I?” and “What do I truly love?” – are essentially impossible to confirm. “Is this who I really am?” and “Do I love this?” rarely reduce to clear yes-or-no responses. In other words, the passion mindset is almost guaranteed to keep you perpetually unhappy and confused…’
By listing a few generic examples of “deep questions” and then jumping to an extreme and far-fetched conclusion that: the passion mindset (which is not distinguished enough in the text from passion itself) will leave you ‘perpetually unhappy and confused’, He seem to assume he has achieved his explanation.
That argument projects, whether he intended it or not, a fundamental logical fallacy: Sophisticated questions are difficult to answer, so let’s not worry about them. It even sounds more like: life is not about living for yourself, it’s about ‘the quest for work you love’. Surely, he ain’t suggesting that, right? But by downplaying these philosophical questions while he continues to market his quote “be so good they can’t ignore you’ for the fifth time in the last ten pages, it positions his ideas in a very misleading context.
My conclusion is that this guy actually does make a lot of sense when he talks about these ideas in the video. But his text falls short in delivering the same. His Q&A in the video also brings out and clarifies his perspective even more.
What he wanted to say from this video:
- Passion is not an entitlement nor does it preexist. It does take work to discover something we can call a sense of purpose. That purpose shouldn’t be about matching an interest to a job. And it often will overlap with what we need to contribute or offer to the world. Part of this might involve trying different roles, doing or making, dedicating those hours to immerse oneself in those environments to find out what in life fulfills or satisfies.
- Achieving more ‘general lifestyle traits’ such as: autonomy, power, respect, impact, time, affluence, etc. are what gives people a real sense of satisfaction in what they do. Not the specific work itself. There are many possible paths that leads to these traits.
- Building up the skills that you can offer to the market and will make you valuable. This maximises your opportunities and allow you to take control of your working life and lead towards achieving the more general traits in life that create fulfillment and satisfaction.
In my own experience:
Having gone through many of these phases throughout high school and 8 years of vocational and higher education, I can relate to his message in the video about focusing on attaining the skills or qualities you need before pursuing the larger, more fulfilling projects later in life, which will present themselves as you maximise your opportunities.
When I was in high school, family, my partner, and close friends often questioned and expected me to have a passion in the creative arts. They expected that I knew I was going to be a photographer for the rest of my life if I chose that path. I would never know how to respond to those expectations. I knew I wanted to be in the creative arts, but photography to be exact? I would tell them that I am pursuing photography until I discover something else in a similar field.
After a good 5 years in the field of contemporary art, I transferred to Media, and did a crash course in philosophy through my early electives. It wasn’t until I started being interested in the broader world that I found some sense of purpose. I became curious and begun to understand the world around me: science, technology, education, and other global and social issues. All of a sudden, filmmaking didn’t matter anymore. I had the epiphany that the medium I am training in is not the end game. It only provides the means for me to communicate or help others communicate important messages. I looked at the skills and abilities I have acquired in the past few years: art direction, photography, digital editing skills, technical knowledge and experience, experimentation, conceptual development, creative methodology, critical thinking and ability to think philosophically, crafting communication through multiple mediums. These skills and abilities can now be used to achieve a more fulfilling purposes of communicating important and valuable messages or be used to contribute to and solve more significant issues I care about.
Purpose unites skills and passion. Newport defines skills as what you can offer the world, and following your passion being what the world can offer you. On the contrary, I would argue that: Skills are what the world offers you which enables you to more purposeful work and pursue what you want to offer the world.
Ramon Lobato & Julian Thomas (2015)
Chapter 3: Work
This excerpt outlines the problematic work conditions of the informal media economy. In the rapidly growing and evolving media economy, it is a constant struggle to properly evaluate and measure the appropriate financial rewards for evolving and new emerging media work. With vastly different natures of work ranging from freelance journalism, production crewing, or game designing and programming, this chapter stresses the instability of creative labour and the challenges of regulating these industries.
This is a tricky and delicate problem. Not sure what to make of it. The current economic system and the way we value labour and resources are not in line with the work-life balance from the individual’s perspective. There is no fair standard to measure and value the quality of the work we make or hours we spend “doing” it. We are currently mostly victims of this. But if these industries become heavily regulated, would that lead to more restraints on smaller startups and independent media groups or individuals who were enabled by informal, entrepreneurial structures and crowdsourcing capabilities? Leaving the winners to be those who have large enough capital and can afford paid labour? As pointed out by the article the diverse natures of work grouped under the roof of media makes it hard to address this as a single issue. Also, I find it difficult to grasp the concept of the proposed “flexicurity”.
New media: storytelling & reality (Working title)
Bibliography: (in progress)
Ryan, M 2011, ‘The Interactive Onion’ in New narratives: stories and storytelling in the digital age, R. Page & B. Thomas ed., University of Nebraska Press, U.S., pp.35-62.
In this text, Marie-Laure Ryan outline varying definitions and opinions from theorists and authors of interactivity in new media. She then argues that, like the layers in an onion, there are different levels of user participation and interactivity in digital texts:
- Peripheral Interactivity
- Interactivity affecting narrative
- Interactivity creating
- Real-time story generation
From predefined stories with several outcomes to games which allow users to create their own modules or levels, Ryan analyses and dissects a wide range of examples of digital texts to demonstrate the various degrees of interactivity involved.
The article addresses different foundational theories previously applied to new media interactivity, and objectively reviews the different narrative structures and levels of participation in the demonstrated examples. This text can be useful as a guideline to interpret the levels of interactivity in current and future new media works. However, this article was published in 2011 (five years ago). Given the fast-shifting landscape of new media, there may have since been more recent experimental new media works which have challenged or transcended the defined levels of interactivity listed above.
Pavlik, J.V. & Bridges F 2013, ‘The Emergence of Augmented Reality (AR) as a Storytelling Medium in Journalism’ in Journalism & Communication Monographs, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 4-59.
This monograph is a study of augmented reality and its transformation of storytelling in journalism and the uses of it in journalism storytelling in the past, present, and future. The article begins b providing a detailed background to: the transforming of journalism content, the infrastructure for wireless AR, and the diffusion model established by Everett M. Rogers. The article is broken down into a case study of the situated documentary, extensive interviews on mainstream AR applications, followed by a round table discussion with media experts, and future projections for the implementation of AR storytelling in journalism.
Using a multi-method research approach, this article provides a detailed report into the current industry speculations for augmented reality storytelling in journalism and media. Published in 2013, this study remains relatively up to date but as mentioned in previous annotation, the new media landscape is rapidly transforming.
Alexander, B 2011, ‘Chaotic Fictions; or, Alternate Reality Games’ in The new digital storytelling: creating narratives with new media, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, pp. 151-161.
In this chapter of Bryan Alexander’s book, he explains the history of the alternate reality game (ARG) in literature and its rise in the digital realm. Alexander explore examples of ARG storytelling used as promotion for films and other transmedia brands. The author also refers to an analytical approach proposed by Sean Stacey, founder of the website Unfiction, to analyse ARG projects:
- Authorship: how much of the content is created by ‘puppet masters’ or players
- Coherence: how clear are the boundaries of the narrative
- Rule-set: How much of the content is predetermined
Alexander is a researcher, educator, consultant and futurist. His book, in which this chapter belongs to, attempts to contextualise the recent and future trends in new media technologies and their influences on the innovation of storytelling. There are many examples in this chapter which demonstrates the elusive nature of ARGs and its various experimentation to blur the lines between fiction and reality. However, the analyses of these examples are brief and there are yet to be enough theoretical discourse on ARGs to draw upon. This source can be used as an overview to the topic of alternate reality games or narratives.
Alexander, B 2011, ‘Augmented Reality: Telling Stories on the Worldboard’ in The new digital storytelling: creating narratives with new media, ABC-CLIO, Santa Barbara, pp. 163-173.
In this chapter, Bryan Alexander looks at examples of augmented reality (AR) content. Whilst the chapter mainly outlines the technologies and applications of AR, the author addresses some interesting challenges the AR landscape will face in the near future towards the end of the article: technical demands such as processing power; usability, adoption and resistance; and legal ramifications regarding copyrights or intellectual property.
Alexander is a researcher, educator, consultant and futurist. His book, in which this chapter belongs to, attempts to contextualise the recent and future trends in new media technologies and their influences on the innovation of storytelling. The chapter offers only a brief analysis of the implications of AR on storytelling and instead leans toward a general outline of the technology. This source can be a well-structured breakdown of the key aspects of this topic; particularly the practical applications of AR.
Pangburn, D.J. 2016, ‘Sci-Fi Vlog Tells an Anatomically Strange Story of Body Parts’, The Creators Project, blog post, 15 April, viewed 1 August 2016, <http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/sci-fi-vlog-tells-the-anatomically-strange-story-of-the-modular-body>
Kondoz, A & Dagiuklas, T 2014, “Introduction” in 3D future internet media, Springer, New York, pp.1-5.
Kondoz A & Dagiuklas T 2015, “Introduction” in Novel 3D media technologies, Springer, New York, pp.1-7.
The special report from Chris Lederer and Megan Brownlow have identified 5 Shifts in the global Entertainment and Media Industries
- Demography – young markets are growing more rapidly than old
- Competition – ‘Content is still king’
- Consumption – rise of subscription content services. The competition is in distribution rather than content.
- Geography – fastest growing markets are Indonesia, India, and Peru; but those generating greatest absolute dollar growth is still U.S. and China.
- Business model – growth of technology and digitization driving the shift in relationships between large companies and giving way to smaller ‘specialist’ companies; forging new business models and industries.
Points of Interest:
‘Content is still king’. Companies are expanding globally but tastes and cultures in content remain local. Local content is still important within the global market.
Interesting point about the big battles tends not to be for access to content. Not only is content more abundant, more accessible due to the growing amount of “prod-users”, but distribution is no longer scarce. Hence there will be more competition between cable networks, online platforms, and telecommunication companies fighting over gaining access to distribution.
The study points out Government regulations as an important third factor; and that those markets which are most heavily regulated have some of the most growth.
This was a fascinating point. This is evident in countries such as South Korea and China. Previously, the South Korean market was regulated in such a way that it demanded its domestic theatres to screen a certain amount of local films. This contributed to a huge growth in the local film making industry. China’s restrictions and blocking of giant successful tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Netflix was used in the study to exemplify how the restrictive environments tend to limit what companies broadcast and publish, who owns them, ‘with a common focus on maintaining indigenous ownership and control.’
It is suggested that this often takes form in government funding for local content, regulations that prevent excessive outside influence and protect local artists. This is perhaps not just happening in Asia, but also in our local industry in Australia. I have always seen how problematic it is that our main source of funding for any creative projects is governmental funding. Not to be harsh, but this just reveals how crippled our film industry is. Sure there are production companies in Melbourne, largely for producing TVCs rather than making films, but take a look at our theatres and commercial cinemas, it is almost as if they are operating as two separate industries. It is also an indication of the scarcity of opportunities available. From what I can see, one of the largest cause of this problem is the lack of audience. The lack of demand at the moment for Australian content; which also leads to stagnate competition > leading to poorer quality of content being produced (and ultimately being screened) > affecting the market’s expectations of local content. Why is there the initial lack of demand (post-70s/80s) is another research project for another time.
Self-driving cars + 3d printing + A.I. + Designer babies + Economics = Best Reading Ever!
In The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2016), Klaus Schwab provides a global economic perspective on how the fourth industrial revolution is changing the way we live, work, consume, and think. Schwab highlights the mega-trends in science and technology which have lead to today’s physical, digital, and biological revolution. These new developments and innovations have significant impact on the economical, political, social, and individual levels.
Some areas of the reading that I found interesting or sparked some insights:
On the nature of work
The on-demand economy:
Projects are being compartmentalised and outsourced to independent workers around the world. ‘A series of transactions between a worker and a company more than an enduring relationship’ (p.47). We can already see this trend in media and other creative industries. Not only do more creative workers establish themselves as freelancers compared to workers in other industries, but this also appears to be the trend in the larger collaborative structure of creative industries e.g. when major production houses from the U.S. outsource visual effects work on their films to Australian companies, or when smaller production companies – who tend to specialise in areas of graphics, sound, and other production areas – collaborate on a larger scale project themselves.
The downside of the human cloud:
I have always been excited about the collaborative, content sharing and networking possibilities opened by crowd-sourcing. ‘Belonging to a global virtual network’ (p.48) is a very appealing thought to me. But it had never occur to me that there was a downside to it. Whilst enabling greater opportunities for skill sharing and more diverse ways of making a living, this new form of employment is currently under-regulated and prone to exploitation as companies are free from the requirements of employment regulation such as minimum wages, taxation, and social benefits. I am not disgusted by this new perspective, but appreciate how complex and delicate this fast-changing, technologically-driven economy is; and how this text has broaden my views on this topic. There is always two sides of a coin to consider. As Schwab summed it up: ‘it all depends on the policy and institutional decisions we make’ (p.49).
The importance of purpose:
Though this segment was brief, it struck me most personally. Younger generations are beginning to realise and understand the importance of viewing work and life as a unified concept, and the importance of passion and purpose in both. However, as work become more of a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life rather than a means to make ends meet for the younger generation, the economy is evolving to be more compartmentalised, and less personal and communal.
Karl Marx’s concern and Buckminster Fuller’s words contextualises a question I have been trying to figure out since the start of this year: For the past six months or so, I have been thinking hard and thorough about my strengths and weaknesses in terms of my career. I know myself well enough to say that I am thoroughly a generalist. This is my biggest strength as it gives me the ability to intuitively understand the world around me through the relationship of parts. But this is also my biggest weakness as the industry is heading in the opposite direction – particularly in its value of specialisation within the crowd-sourcing and skill sharing landscape. In this regard, I have very little to market professionally.
On the impact on governance
The impact on power:
The fourth industrial revolution has created a world that is more integrated, boundless, and empowering. But these liberations comes at a price. Schwab points out that:
‘With growing citizen empowerment and greater fragmentation and polarization of populations, this could result in political systems that make governing more difficult and governments less effective.’ (p.67)
As evident in the lack of regulation in the new work landscape, governments and legal systems around the world are often struggling to keep up with the fast-growing developments of the online and technological economies. Adding to this delay is the growing public engagement via the empowerment of social networks.
Power is becoming more elusive:
‘As Moisés Naím puts it, “in the 21st century, power is easier to get, harder to use, and easier to lose.”…With a few exceptions, policymakers are finding it harder to effect change…Micro-powers are now capable of constraining macro-powers such as national governments’ (p.68).
Whilst social empowerment is a liberty I do not take for granted, social opinion is gradually becoming a red herring among political debates. Leading to political parties trying to winning popularity contests rather than paying attention to game-changing developments and their significance. It is not just new economic systems that need new regulations. As Schwab emphasised, the advancements in the biological sector are the trickiest to regulate. Not only are we absolutely unprepared for the world these developments are leading us towards, but the ontological questions they challenge us with are ones we have not yet been able to successfully define.
Other topics in Schwab’s text that intrigue me greatly on which if I choose to elaborate, this post will not be delivered on time, even with the “backdating” feature…
The Internet of Things!
Bioengineering and its ethical implications!
Virtual and physical integration!
The dynamics of discovery!
The biggest reward of making Sketchy Students was being able to apply practically, and experiment with, the audience research we have done prior to the campaign. Although we did not actually crowdfund for the project, a lot of thought had gone into making the decision to focus on audience engagement rather than taking a huge risk and jumping straight into crowdfunding. Most of the research pointed to the importance of building and establishing a fanbase before even thinking about crowdfunding. This is not only essential to convincing the audience or patron of your skills, product and credibility, but also ensures at least half the work is done by the time the crowdfunding commences. I gained more insight into crowdfunding when I had to question what is it that we have that is marketable to an audience.
Through process of making, and online engagement, this campaign revealed insights that we would not have gotten from reading articles alone. For example, the timing of the release of our final episode “The Final Hurdle” during everyone’s final assessments that week; or learning how to communicate and collaborate effectively within a large group.
I also learnt that in a campaign like ours, and for the purposes of crowdfunding, the characters and talent is much more important than the little stories we tell in each sketch. This emphasis is mainly due to the interactive nature of our campaign, and our sketches are not serial but rather self contained stories. Therefore, what remains our constant sellable product are the overall features of the project, the characters, talent, and style. Creating capturing characters is very important. This may not be representative of all crowdfunding or social media campaigns, but a large number of them rely on marketing their talent and assets as a testament to the value of their product to their investors.
In the management team, the nature of our tasks overlap across all three teams. So we worked closely together although we were initially delegated to different teams as “communication officers”. I learnt that in an attempt to centralise communications between three teams of the campaign, the existence of a management team resulted in the isolation of each team. This structure discouraged other team leaders to interact and work with each other. And that interaction was compromised in an attempt to keep a consistency of the project’s aims across the entire campaign. Moreover, the management team should not really exist outside of each of those aspects of the campaign, there is nothing to manage if we exist as a separate entity from the rest of the teams. This also lead to expectations of the management team being somewhat overseers or head of the campaign, having to come up with the structure and direction of the campaign for everyone else. Whereas it would have been better to have this done as a class before the campaign started.
To me, Digital Directors was different from the other studios and projects I have done in the past. First of all, I was able to produce something which had an audience outside of the class environment and the studio presentations. Although releasing episodes every week was a stressful and intense process, knowing each week we are actually getting responses and views from the real world – albeit mostly friends and family – it was all worth it.
The next thing I want to explore is the practical applications of our crowdfunding research and campaigning experience in a real project outside of class. I believe the Digital Directors studio has equipped me with skills to source diverse and alternative funding in order to become a well informed producer or director and to sustain a career in media.
More about the process of making here.