The digital era has seemingly made out of anyone, who cares to take the time, a director. With a few bucks you can technically make a short film even on your iPhone. If you have big bucks to spare, a rich uncle, a flourishing business, or inherited dough, you can rent out or even buy the latest camera on the market and make your own indie feature film. You can always raise the money for production through revolutionary websites that make it that much possible to make your film story a reality (figuratively, not literally). All you need is to put a crew together, a few actors, usually a family member or two and a few locals, and voilà! The next thing you know you are out there distributing it through Netflix, trying to sell it at a film market, or sending it to Sundance. Sounds pretty doable.
What the Lumière brothers did at the turn of the last century is almost what Instagram’s new buddy Cinemagram does today. Have you seen it? I saw it this morning ( I know, slow, but if you read this post you’ll understand why) . It’s a phone application that allows you to “animate” your picture… in seconds. They call it the cinema of instant touch phone picture-taking. I call it the Cinématographe on a chip (not the kind you eat).
With the flood of films though, something else seems to be happening: content and production value have shot up because competition is high, audiences demand that they be fully transported and invested in what they are watching and maybe as a way for filmmakers to separate themselves from “film-doers”.
So the digital era has not only changed the way we make movies and edit them, we truly do live time biologically different from the audience who sat through the infamous film snippets of the Lumière Brothers, but it has also created a need for some exceptional talented individuals, high production value and most importantly a very good story which you can’t cram in your Cinématographe, I mean, Cinemagram.