Saturday Links: Super, DVD Box Sets, Klosterman

A few links to celebrate the end of finals week:

  • One of the more compelling aspects of digital cinema is the increase in access to production discourse for the average movie consumer.  John Caldwell touches on these issues in his important book, Production Culture, and I tried to address those practices in Reinventing Cinema.  Now as DIY and indie filmmaking are developing a more recognizable presence on the web, I’ve become interested in how these conversations about movie production have become tied to the practices of film promotion.  With that in mind, I’m intrigued by what Ted Hope is doing with Twitter in his role as producer for the upcoming film, Super.  Using Twitter’s new list function, Hope has curated a list of 30 cast and crew members involved in the production of the film, as a way of building interest in the film.  It helps that one of the cast members is Rainn Wilson (The Office), who already has a massive Twitter following, but once again, we can see how social media tools are altering and expanding notions of film culture.
  • Via The Film Doctor, I found this interesting interview with pop media theorist Chuck Klosterman, where he talks at length about the role of the web in mediating fan cultures and practices.   Among other observations, Klosterman argues that the web has intensified and transformed the celebrity process.  He also notes that fans [of Twilight in particular] “have incorporated this film almost like a verbalized cog in their conversation.”  Film stills sent via email or posted on Facebook or MySpace pages become, as the interviewer puts it, an updated version of the emoticons we might have sent in the past.
  • Also worth noting: On Film in Focus, Jenna Bass has a recent post listing essential (online) resources on film festivals.
  • Finally, Slate’s Grady Hendrix has a discussion of his distaste for the DVD box set, calling it “the newest and most terrifying form of ritualistic abuse we inflict on one another.”  DVD purchasing in general is down, but I think Hendrix tackles some of the reasons why box sets, in particular, may not always be welcomed as gifts.  I disagree with some of his basic arguments, however, in particular his claim that “Television episodes were never meant to be viewed in rapid fire order.” Perhaps that’s the case, but show like 24 and Lost very easily lend themselves to the kind of intense viewing that DVDs offer, and I likely would have never survived my dissertation without Buffy breaks–2 or 3 episodes per night after a long day of writing during a time when I didn’t have TV reception.  To be fair, I likely wouldn’t inflict an entire TV series on an unsuspecting relative, but DVDs in general, with their power to anthologize and curate, have reshaped TV discourse, and that’s something that shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed.  

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