Tag: new media

All you need is a good story

Technology has made it possible and easy for us all to produce work that looks professional, I think we increasingly tend to forget that what really distinguishes something as meaningful and good is its concept. We all get caught up in creating projects of spectacle, that pander to a notions of professionalism, by using techniques and effects that recreate such a image, but looking a little deeper what you find instead is unmotivated actions that are just plain empty.

24aThat was one major point I felt was missing in a lot of the films I saw tonight at NTU’s Arts, Design and Media (ADM) showcase tonight. Aesthetically speaking, most of these films were a pleasure to look at. Moreover, the filmmakers had professional equipment such as dollies and cranes to work with, but more often than not, they were not used to advance the film. The very important question of why was put aside.

Perhaps what was really sorely-lacking was the ability of story-telling. That is a problem I find myself having to come to grips with as well. Telling a story is often the best way to get a message across; it is one thing to have information, but presenting it in a form that is palatable is increasingly becoming an important tool in a world of information overload. I suppose one way that film-makers turn to is to create an aesthetically pleasing film, but how long and deep can the engagement with the viewer last? Moreover, it has become so easy now that this will become the domain of amateurism instead and one will need to find other ways to stay above the pack.

In a similar fashion, the government’s recent initiative to engage the public using new media formats such as the MDA rap video and the KPE Underground launch are really interesting because it shows their willingness to reach out to us using these new mediums. Perhaps, Marshall McLuhan was correct to say that the medium is the message and by using these platforms, the government believes its message will get to us. Indeed, these initiatives have generated that buzz and a spectacle such that people will take notice. However, I think at the end of the day, what is at the core of the message really matters. The question is how do people perceive it and is the effect as intended?

Thus, at the end of the day, its the story that really matters. A good one performs in all formats, but a bad one needs a good format to help it stand out.

On a separate note, I think ADM’s efforts to showcase its students’ works is really commendable. I wish my school, School of Communication and Information (SCI), would provide such support too. In this way, more critical education can follow because our works will be scrutinised by the general public and at least each other. Just as importantly, I think our parents and loved ones can see for themselves why we spend hours toiling in school perfecting out work.

Another interesting idea came out of seeing the showcase, that is inter-school collaboration between ADM and SCI. Perhaps, the schools can combine resources like equipment and staff to provide a more holistic environment for film production. After all, both are under NTU’s College of Arts, so there exists a basis of sorts for closer links. Maybe an bi-annual feature film production can happen, where students from both schools send in joint-proposals and funding will come from the school. Who knows, maybe in the near future, both will break away to form a film school?

Alas, we know there is a lot of red tape and politics involve. The easier route would just be for students from both sides to get to know each other and work on each other’s strengths to do films that you love.

The rewards of the long tail

longtailThis semester I had to take a module in media management and one of the biggest things affecting it today is without a doubt the digital age. Unfortunately, I think the class failed terribly to address this development and in the midst of studying for the exam, I found a Economist.com podcast interview with Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, the best half-an-hour lesson on the future developments of the media market.

In essence, the changes in the media market can be explained by the long tail (see left), a demand curve for products. Mainstream media’s revenue currently mainly comes from a select group of products or hits such as the music industry earning most of their revenue from a pop star like Britney. In the new media landscape however, as costs and barrier in producing and distributing media decrease, the market can sustain a greater variety in products and creates niche markets such as indie music. Thus, in order to maximise revenue, media companies should go for volume instead of specialisation, offering greater variety to its consumers and thus earn the new media revenue too.

On another note, here are a list of great events coming up (the rewards of a long tail economy?) that I plan to attend for my own reference and so that people can find out about them too. Most of them are related to design and architecture because theSingapore Design Festival 2007 (coincidentally, similar colour scheme with this site!) and ArchiFest 2007 is happening these couple of weeks.

  • Signature Singapore… Old Forms, New Options | 6 Dec, 10am – 8pm |
    This one-day conference shall discuss and explore the notion of “Signature Singapore”. What makes Singapore unique from other world cities? What is Singapore’s signature urbanscape? How best could planners and the development industry contribute to strengthening Signature Singapore?
  • Singapore 1:1 Island | 17th Nov – 31st Mar | URA Centre
    A look at architecture in Singapore from 1965 onwards to tracks its economic and social progress.
  • Screening of “Opera Jawa” by Garin Nugroho | 4th Dec, 730pm | National Museum
    As part of the Singapore International Film Festival Fundraiser, which has no main sponsor for the upcoming festival, this particular screening is a musical film inspired by the “The Abduction of Sita”, a classic found in the Ramayana. [Error corrected]
  • The Way of Asian Design | 30th Nov, Fri, 930am – 530pm | NTU ADM
    A 1-day Panel and Seminar on design from the Asian perspective
    Find out more >
  • Have you ever smell the rain | 20th – 30th Nov | Forth Art Gallery
    A 3rd solo painting exhibition by Tay Bee Aye. In this series of works Tay examines the notion of happiness and belief, questioning whether our senses are being corrupted, on how information are being process and use as a gauge to measure our happiness.