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Filmism.net Dispatch February 24, 2012

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The democratisation of the web, the leveling of the media playing field, the producer is the consumer. You've heard all the superlatives about the Internet and services like Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, GarageBand and everything else that's supposed to give us all a voice. But I see a very different thing when it comes to the movies.

Firstly, the vast majority of money spent advertising and marketing a movie goes to TV ads, still the pinnacle of old media and (we're told) anathema to kids with their texting and tweeting ways even though (we're told) they're the ones who go to the movies.

Secondly, 'new' media is about small enclaves of localised interest that rarely spread. When it comes to global reach, it's little more than a promotions add-on for old media brands and personalities (one in the same in Hollywood). The most vocal Web 2.0 proponent in films is Kevin Smith (http://twitter.com/#!/thatkevinsmith), who's twitter feed has over two million followers and who famously/infamously traded on nothing but his profile to launch his last film Red State. He subsequently boasted (loudly and often) about how he opened and travelled with a film that made its money back with no traditional advertising.

But here's what should be kept in mind amid all the web-iversing about Smith's new marketing paradigm. I'm not one to detract him from the success he's met by marketing himself directly to fans via his social networks and podcasts, but it was a following he collected entirely using old media methods. He became famous for his movies, most of which were advertised on TV and in print.

You see the same thing everywhere. Benicio Del Toro joined Twitter about a year ago, followed everyone who followed him (I was one of the tens of thousands who paraphrased 'OMG BDT is following me!') and he hasn't posted a thing since. Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, joined just a week or so ago (http://twitter.com/#!/TheWookieeRoars). Currently at 6,685 followers, he's just offered a Wookie roar to anyone who can guess what someone named Angie is cooking from the picture he posted. Riveting stuff. And only tonight, comedy star Steve Carell (http://twitter.com/#!/stevecarell) joined Twitter and as his first tweet ('I am in.') made its way across the web his account has already ballooned to 86,000 followers.

If the web were truly a level playing field, novelists, scientists, researchers, designers, journalists, directors, doctors and engineers would have hundreds of thousands of followers and people promising sound effects in text, telling us what they're watching on TV or posting pictures of their dogs would take their rightful place.

Because some very intelligent and engaging people are ignored for offering considered opinions and mining the Internet for interesting ideas and celebrities talking about their dinner attracts the attention of millions, we still very much live in an old-media world.

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