George Lucas Speaks

I didn’t say it, George Lucas did:

Moving Beyond Moving Pictures:



Spring 2007
By George Lucas ’66

When Johannes Gutenberg set out to build a printing press in the mid-15th century,the last thing on his mind was starting a revolution.But by taking advantage of the technologies that surrounded him – oil-based inks, bulk paper making, the screw-type press – and putting them together with his own innovations for movable print, he did kindle an evolution in printed communications. That evolution, in turn, served as the catalyst for many revolutions, both literally and figuratively, which shaped the course of human history. Like Gutenberg, we, too, have arrived at a historic juncture. All the elements are present to push the evolution of communications farther and to shape the technological, economic, cultural and educational landscape for this century and the millennium to come.The question is, are we up to the challenge? At the core of this movement are the techniques of the cinematic arts – movies, television, interactive media and formats yet to be invented – that will change the fundamentals of how we communicate on both a personal and a global basis. While the so-called “digital revolution” is nothing new to anyone who has kept even remotely abreast with developments over the past two decades, what is new, and profoundly so, are the ways in which people of all ages and backgrounds are using these media.Video and audio software now come as standard issue on most computers – turning them from word processors into mini editing and mixing stations. The resulting output turns up in places like YouTube, which has grown to serve some 100 million videos a day under the tagline “Broadcast Yourself.”

You can read the whole thing here.


4 responses to “George Lucas Speaks

  1. An excellent read that supports the new media perspective.

    Those who choose to wax nostalgic for the “good Ol’ Days” of shooting with multi-thousand dollar equipment and multi-person crews are in for a rude awakening – this way of doing things is dying a violent death. It is happening – whether one chooses to believe it or not.

    As Lucas stated, this isn’t about throwing out the word, or in our case, the higher end projects. It’s about adapting and utilizing the new paradigms in media creation that are coming on board daily. The Solo VJ paradigm is one part of this shift in content creation.

    Welcome to the future…

  2. Cliff, you seemed to contradict yourself. First you said those “…multi-person crews are in for a rude awakening … this way of doing things is dying a violent death.”

    Then you wrote, “this isn’t about throwing out … the higher end projects.”

    I just wanted to let you know that you took both positions.

    Both approaches are valid. Both approaches will survive. Both have their pros and cons. The new technology has opened up the flood gates of opportunities for everyone. Who knows how it will all play out. But certainly opportunities have exploded. Anybody denying this, is foolish.

    Mr. Lucas certainly isn’t going to give up shooting with high end gear, is he? Even though he writes about the new opportunities.

    The same goes for journalism (my profession.) The new technology is changing everything, including our profession, and the average citizen’s opportunities to participate. There is nothing anybody can do to prevent the technological revolution. It is “a force.” So everyone should be aware, adjust, and embrace the new technology. But just being aware or embracing it doesn’t mean they will be successful, right? It still comes down to quality.

    What Mr. Lucas said at the end, was the best.
    He wrote… “educators and leaders must make a choice. Either they dedicate themselves to developing and defining this movement, or they run and hide. ….. it’s what happens in spite of us, something we can either use or not use. We can fight change, or we can use it: incorporate it into our lives and take full advantage of it.

    It is foolish for anybody to deny the effects technology. It is foolish for anybody to fight the changes. It is foolish, also, for anybody to claim one side (VJ) or the other side (crews with big lens) are better or will be the ultimate victor. There will be both.

    Focus on your own product.

    Shoot story, edit story, air story. Use whatever tools you have, want, or can use. If you are producing quality, you will make money. If not, you won’t.

    Lucas has made a lot of money. Because he produced quality with great cameras, great content, and a large number of people.

    You don’t have to be George Lucas to recognize the tech changes. And now, you don’t have to be George Lucas to create and publish content either.

  3. no contradiction – I’ve stated in other threads that there will be a place for higher end projects as well as solo vj’s – just lesser in amount of multi-crew projects. The higher end stuff will probably need to justify its expenses more now with solo’s beginning to do more of the grunt type of work.

    Sorry if I came across that way – wasn’t my intent.

    BTW – you response is a balanced assessment of what is happening. And thanks for pointing out my being unclear in a constructive way 🙂

  4. The truth is that the marketplace will decide which 44 minutes makes the air. Only PBS is immune. Broadcast executives will be looking at the bottom line, and some things will be better served by VJ’s. I think the idea behind the “revolution” is not to chop off the heads of the aristocracy as the oppressed millions seek blood, but rather to let a democracy take hold and flourish. It’s hardly freedom of the press if a few networks are controlling all content and choose to air stories about stupid whales getting lost or Anna Nicole dramas. Those proclaiming “Let them eat cake,” will start to become irrelevant, because the marketplace is starting to expect more and, increasingly, is able to find what they want (Thanks, internet!)

    Solo VJ’s are capable of turnaround measured in hours. For television journalism, that’s really amazing. And to think that a show like 5 Takes which melds VJ created content with an extremely small production staff into actual feature content is equally amazing. Add to that the nearly daily uploading of video content to the 5 Takes website, and you have a model that the new multimedia consumer (watches TV on his XBOX, has MP3 ringtones, and (many) never knew a time before TiVo) is starting to *expect* in the news-tainment genre. (Oh, I forgot, Windows Vista is already geared toward interactive multimedia, including broadband TV).

    Of course there won’t be pikes with heads on them leading up to 30 Rock, but the world is opening wide for the new stuff. When I was in college you couldn’t get a degree in video game design, but you can now [as a side note, there were some making games when I was in college, but they were discouraged because, unlike real programmers, they would never be taken seriously, even though one of my friends who designed games drove a Ferrari from the proceeds of one game]. Those who make what the market wants will be successful. As an avid web user, I want to see videos that are interesting first (heck, the video quality from the embedded reporters in Iraq was terrible, but we were all watching it live) and are well produced next. In the journalism department, VJ’s are going to have the freshest content, and I’ll probably be watching that. Watching Bill O’Rielly or Matt Lauer segments that have been just uploaded to the web aren’t going to cut it. We want to see the stuff that’s happening *now*. Plus, as another reader of this blog pointed out earlier, talking head stuff can be read about 3 times faster than it can be watched.

    How does the commercial go? Read about it tomorrow, watch it tonight, or hear it now. We’re getting to where it’s gonna be: Read about it tomorrow, watch it tonight, or watch it on your mobile device now. The ultra-fast turnaround is going to be in demand and the demand will grow. As soon as somebody makes a video iPod that can accept a wireless video push (technology that exists, but has not been configured that way for consumers yet), things will be changed forever. Ask top record industry execs how they feel about mp3 players: the consumer was never supposed to have that kind of power, but they do, and the world changed forever.

    The moral is, that there will be both, but starting even now, the balance of power is shifting (perhaps slowly) over towards the VJ side as the marketplace wants faster, newer, better; as they always do.

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