Social media has contributed massively to the film industry. Through marketing, production, and even storytelling. On the surface, any film about our culture today includes characters having some interaction with social media (if we’re talking about teenage characters in films then they’re always on the internet but that’s probably just teens being represented through an adult lense). In this three part blog series, I will attempt to examine how social media as a culture is changing the production and storytelling elements of film making. Firstly, I will give a brief overview of the culture of social media and how it has become so heavily integrated in the film industry.
Most obviously because of its logistics, social media’s biggest advantage for the film industry is as a marketing tool. Film trailers can be uploaded to YouTube, and promoted on a wealth of platforms. We all know them; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Even though these platforms have dominated the market for the past 10 or so years, their ease of access makes it more likely that film marketing will gain a wide reach. Well known film studios and actors had the upper hand as they were able to gain more of an audience online faster than those who were just starting out, and they also have the funds to be able to widely promote their product. With that being said, social media has essentially leveled the playing field, allowing smaller film creators to compete with big blockbuster films by posting their content online. Actors and actresses are also no longer forced to go through the traditional channels to get recognition or land a part. They can simply post their own content on social media platforms.
Not only is social media a prime marketing tool for the film industry, social media has also completely altered the entirety of our current culture, and because of this, I like to think of it as its own culture; or cyberculture if you will. Social media platforms have essentially placed millions of users into a vacuum. We get sucked into a world where we have access to large amounts of people and information at all times. The online world seems to move so fast, so it’s only fitting that culture has now done the same.
Ten years ago, memes, slang, and trends would have stuck around for a few years. Now, we can go through dozens of trends all in a 6 month period. We track our years based on the trend of the month, and a meme that was popular a few months ago almost feels like years in the past. For filmmakers, unless they are skilled at predicting future trends, it’s almost impossible to keep up. For example, a film that was in the pre-production and filming stage in 2017, would have humour and references that are outdated by the time of release in 2018. Not to name and shame, but The Kissing Booth (2018) featured pretty outdated and borderline offensive humour, which contributed to it becoming one of the most talked about films of that year.
Now we are heading into the next decade, and despite efforts to bring awareness to it’s detrimental effects, social media is still thriving. As it solidifies itself as a staple element of our culture, how will film production and storytelling change as a result? I will explore this in my next installments. Stay tuned!
Tejada, K 2015 ‘Social Media Marketing in the Film Industry’, A Senior Project, California Polytechnic State University
Lentz, C 2019 ’10 celebrities who used social media to launch their careers’ Insider, 23 October, viewed 4 May 2021 <https://www.insider.com/celebrities-who-started-on-social-media-2019-2
Furedi, F 2014 ‘How The Internet and Social Media Are Changing Culture’ Aspen Review, Issue 04/2014, viewed 4 May 2021 <https://www.aspen.review/article/2017/internet-social-media-changing-culture/
MacBeth, C 2020 ‘Relive 2020 through jokes: A meme calendar you need to see’ Film Daily, weblog post, 29 December, viewed 4 May 2021 <https://filmdaily.co/memes/2020-memes-recap/
Barnet, B, Bossio D 2020 ‘Netflix’s The Social Dilemma highlight’s the problem with social media, but what’s the solution?’ The Conversation, 6 October, viewed 5 May 2021 <https://theconversation.com/netflixs-the-social-dilemma-highlights-the-problem-with-social-media-but-whats-the-solution-147351
@trigoMEMEtry (2019) 2018 Meme Calendar, image, Twitter, viewed 5 May 2021 <https://twitter.com/trigomemetry/status/1079850755459149825
Issacs G, 2018 [Film Production Materials], Image, Linkedin viewed 6 May 2021 <linkedin.com/pulse/how-effectively-use-social-media-promote-your-film-gbemisola-isaacs