2021 will certainly go down as the year of shifting tides, turning points and the one constant we all have – change. So I wanted to personally take a look at some shifts that I feel will show their effects on our ideas, art and the things we create.
The Female Presence – Women in the film industry has been growing over the years, thankfully. 2018 takes that conversation to a new level. We can see the pendulum swing in the new roster of films with leading ladies showing up in films such as Beach Rats, Lady Bird, Mudbound and Wonder Woman. These films and their energies relate to pushing the inclusion of women at all levels of the filmmaking process. The lenses through which we represent our culture are changing and its a welcomed spirit.
Intersectionality – Cultures are interacting, growing and intersecting each other. It’s starting and the influences are showing but we certainly have a ways to go. In the late 80’s, academic Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term intersectionality to explain the overlaps of gender, race, sexuality and class and their effects on bias and discrimination. In this respect, 2018 is the year of intersection.
Religious Resurgence – Religion in the creative media industry? Yes. Knowing our place in life is a key component in everyone’s well-being and mindset. The sense of belonging and knowing where we are will always be with us. It is the role of filmmakers and creators to create resources for these stories. More than ever, we need to be reminded that what we create and its messages change the world and have a real impact on people.
Streaming Wars – Content is king. Consumers want to be in control of the entertainment they binge on. Netflix has certainly been ahead of the curve in that trend. Netflix is committing $15.7 billion in original content, and Disney has purchased Fox Entertainment for $52.4 billion in order to strengthen its assets in the streaming wars. Silicon Valley has disrupted Hollywood as well. YouTube is now ushering a sea of changes for the independent creator, distribution channels and yes, showing up on your TV with their recent media subscription service. Audiences yearn for good content and know how to discern it. While this has strengthened the adage saying that great is the enemy of the good, it also means that independent filmmakers now have to explore smaller streaming platforms and self-distribution very thoroughly and be creative in their outreach to audiences in order to make a splash.
Interactive Storytelling – Consumers want power over the content they watch. It’s not just about how they consume it, it’s also how the story is told and its actual outcomes and narrative. Gaming and film are blending. They both are narrative forms, and the overlap is increasing. The level of control and immersion that audiences are now looking for means more interactivity in narrative storytelling. It’s time to build worlds and bring those stories not just before audiences’ eyes, but in their hands as well.
Creativity Meets AI – Artificial intelligence is on the verge of provoking massive changes in the world as we know it. Don’t believe it? Well a robot learned all that humanity has ever known about chess in four hours. But what happens to AI when it comes to creativity? Creativity and art, by their very definition, rely on conscience and instinct, both very human traits that (thankfully) can’t be reduced to, and indeed are the very contrary of algorithms. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t experimenting. MIT researchers have taught AI to get emotional over movies. (Really, it’s down to story patterns.) An AI wrote a sci-fi short film, with inconclusive results -for now.
2021, Bring It On – Audiences are yearning for more. More representation, more practical applications to new mediums, more immersion in new worlds. Audiences want creators to conjure up worlds that can both represent the real world accurately and change it for the better.
As creatives and shapers of culture we need to be on our mark and create experiences the world can immerse themselves in and revel in: art that is fully real and fully poetic at the same time.