‘This Is The End’: Digital Artefact Contextual Report

DA Access Links

Concept

My concept focused on the impact that social media is having on the film industry in terms of production and storytelling. I chose to present my DA as a blog series consisting of three posts, as this felt like the best medium to articulate my thoughts. My goal was to gather as much information as I could on social media’s recent past to gain some reasonable insight into possible futures. There isn’t a lot of published research surrounding the future of the film industry in terms of culture. I had to draw my own conclusions based on the knowledge I gained from popular media and my own understanding of the current culture on social media. 

Methodology & Background Research

As I was a young teen immersed in social media during the early 2010’s, I mostly pulled from my own memory and researched articles from popular media sites to back up my thoughts, while also gaining some new knowledge from these sites. I chose to focus my approach to the DA challenge on the short and medium term future from now until 2030, with a brief mentioning of the long term future in 2050. My projections were based on the current culture we experience today and my observations of the recent past. 

Some of my research:

Relive 2020 Through Jokes

  • Description: Provides a calendar of the most popular memes in 2020
  • How it was used: I used this to demonstrate the fast paced nature of social media. Jokes can become incredibly popular one month and be forgotten the next, we are constantly moving to the next thing.

Twitter Shows Influence of Buzz on Movies

  • Description: Data analysis on how word-of-mouth on social media impacts the box office revenue of films.
  • How it was used: The film industry has a monetary incentive to listen to the opinions of social media users, as they are the ones who have the most influence on the projected box office revenue.

Kelly Marie Tran Breaks Her Silence

  • Description: An article about the abuse that Kelly Marie Tran experienced on social media following the debut of her character in the Star Wars franchise.
  • How it was used: Social media has allowed fandoms to have a direct line of contact with the actors in their favourite films. I used this to give some context into the toxicity that social media sometimes produces.

Beyond Creepy Teeth

  • Description: Details the Sonic The Hedgehog (2019) controversy and the work to redesign the character.
  • How it was used: The most relevant and defining example of social media impacting film production.

James Dean, who died in 1955, just landed a new movie role

  • Description: Covers the rise of CGI actors, notably James Dean, being used in films to depict actors who have passed on.
  • How it was used: Helped me to consider the future of CGI in films and how it could be used more frequently and extensively.

Donald Glover: Fear of ‘getting cancelled’ makes entertainment ‘boring

  • Description: Reports on Donald Glover’s tweets about his opinions on the negative impact ‘’cancel culture’ is having on the quality of entertainment media
  • How it was used: To demonstrate that even those who are in the entertainment industry think that media is being negatively affected by our current culture, and if we continue in this manner then content will become more lackluster.

Lecture content

Cyberculture

Cyberculture of Social Media: Identity as Trash of Information

  • “Cyberculture on one hand provides emotional satisfaction to users of social media, on the other hand creates a new culture that is completely different from the reality of the formal environment.” (Hakim & Quroatun ‘Uyun 2020, pg. 136)
  • Helped me gain a deeper understanding of cyberculture and how it is impacting identity and communication.
  • Formed the basis of my thinking around how the ‘rules’ of social media and cyberculture have impacted the film industry over time and how they will do so in the future.

Multiple Futures

Making People Responsible – Wendell Bell

  • “Many social scientists do not respond to such a challenge because they remain in the grip of the widespread belief that making value judgements objectively is impossible” (Bell 1997, pg. 332)
    • I found it difficult to comment on the ‘preferred’ future of social media culture, as cultural values are subjective. While the patterns of societal values can be speculated upon, it’s difficult to make sound predictions based on scientific reasoning and methodology.
  • “Futurists also attempt to forecast the most probable futures given specific situations, sets of circumstances, and particular alternative courses of action.” (Bell 1997, pg. 328)
    • These were the main strategies that I used to give my thoughts on how the future of the film industry could evolve in various ways.

Feedback & Iterations

I received several peer comments on my Beta presentation that gave valuable feedback on the structure of my posts. I had already posted all three of my blog posts prior to receiving this feedback, so I chose to edit the blog posts to incorporate some of their suggestions. This comment by Kara suggested that I include sub-headings to break up some of the text. This also felt helpful for the parts of my blog posts that didn’t contain as many images, as it was difficult to find relatable images.

I also adjusted some of the points in my blog posts to include more notes about ‘toxic fandoms’, as the comments from Bronte and Kara had briefly mentioned the impact of social media fandoms on entertainment media. While their comments suggested discussing how fandoms impact the trajectory of television shows, my main focus was on the film industry. I adapted these suggestions to better fit my core focus and my prior research.

I didn’t receive any feedback from my audience. As a result, I looked to friends and family for their thoughts on topics I could discuss. Some of the ideas I incorporate into my blogs were:

  • CGI Actors – eg. James Dean
  • Reboots and remakes – eg. another Batman recast
  • Chris Rock comments on ‘cancel culture’

Audience & Utility

With each blog post, I posted an accompanying tweet to notify my audience. These tweets received a lot of views, yet didn’t receive much engagement. Most of the views on my blog posts came directly from WordPress. I also received several WordPress likes on these posts. I targeted my BCM325 audience on social media, but I received more of a film audience on my blog posts. In hindsight, I could have used additional hashtags and the polling option on twitter to increase engagement. I utilised several hashtags on WordPress to broaden my audience.

My goal with my Digital Artefact was to explore the power that social media users have in changing culture. I wanted to showcase that the film industry is aware of the demands of their audiences through online platforms. By recognising the potential power of social media, users have a chance to utilise social media to their advantage to create the future that they would like to experience. The social utility of my project can best be summarised by Bell’s quote, “Futurists aim to help people become more confident, effective, and responsible actors, both in their personal lives and in their organizational and societal roles.” (Bell 1997, pg. 328)

Conclusion 

The lack of research in this area limited my ability to present data that could accurately indicate the impact of social media on the film industry. However, I believe the connections I made between current cultural standards and films being released is a foundation for examining this notion. I think this digital artefact would benefit from the podcast platform, as there is a lot of discussion to be had about the nature of social media and the film industry. As we saw with the peer comments, there are a lot of topics that could be incorporated into this discussion, particularly in the realm of fandoms and the television industry.

References:

Alexander, J 2019 “James Dean, who died in 1955, just landed a new movie role, thanks to CGI” The Verge, weblog post, 6 November, viewed 16 May 2021 <https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/6/20951485/james-dean-new-movie-cgi-recreation-finding-jack 

Bell, W 1998 ‘Making People Responsible: The Possible, the Probable, and the Preferable’ American Behaviour Scientist, Vol 42(3), Nov-Dec 1998, Special Issue: Futures Studies in Higher Education, p. 323-339

Eagan, O 2017 “Twitter Shows Influence of Buzz on Movies” International Journal of Interdisciplinary Research <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330015918_Twitter_Shows_Influence_of_Buzz_on_Movies 

Hakim, L & Quroatun ‘Uyun, Z 2020 “CYBERCULTURE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: IDENTITY AS TRASH OF INFORMATION” Orasi: Jurnal Dakwah dan Komunikasi Vol. 11, No. 1, pg. 136-143 <https://www.academia.edu/44908201/CYBERCULTURE_ON_SOCIAL_MEDIA_IDENTITY_AS_TRASH_OF_INFORMATION 

Lee, C 2020 “Beyond the Creepy Teeth: How Sonic the Hedgehog Saved Itself” Vulture, weblog post, 14 February, viewed 16 May 2021 <https://www.vulture.com/2020/02/the-sonic-the-hedgehog-controversy-and-redesign-explained.html 

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/ 

Sparks, H 2021 “Donald Glover: Fear of ‘getting cancelled’ makes entertainment ‘boring’” New York Post, weblog post, 11 May, viewed 21 May 2021 <https://nypost.com/2021/05/11/donald-glover-cancel-culture-makes-boring-tv-and-movies/ 

Say ‘No to Peer Pressure, and ‘Yes’ to Peer Commentary, Vol. 2

Just as we did when we posted our DA pitches, we have been asked to comment on our peers’ beta presentations. I was really excited to see how my peers were coming along with their projects, and ready to pick up on some tips, both through their presentations and their comments on my presentation. I felt a bit more prepared to comment on their presentations this time around, given that this is our second round of peer commentary and I believe I have a better understanding of the lecture content.

Comment One

The first comment I posted was on Bronte’s beta. Her DA is a short film and script about her own mental health journey during the covid period, that also aims to discuss the future of mental health in cinema. Bronte wants to pursue a career in this field, so this project will be contributing to her overall portfolio and experience. This reminded me of a Wendell Bell quote from the week three lecture, “The past is not a guide to the future. The past can be transcended. Conscious decisions and efforts to achieve great purpose can shape the future.” (Wendell Bell, 2003 [1997] p.14) I was impressed with her integration of her own future in her project, as well as the future of cinema, which I had to mention in my comment. 

The articles I provided focused on the representation of mental health in storytelling. The first article takes a more critical approach, noting the myths and stereotypes and their negative impact on audiences. The second article contains facts and statistics about the discussion of mental health in entertainment media, and offers some solutions as to how the representation could be improved. I felt these articles were appropriate for looking at the future of mental health in cinema.

I loved the creativity of her project. I think it’s such an original idea that is clearly a result of her passion for art. I have no expertise in this area, I’m just a consumer, and so I found it difficult to provide feedback on the DA itself. The only feedback I had for her was the cohesion between her update posts. I had a little bit of trouble following her update posts between the amount she had on her instagram and blog. Having a bit more of a connection to her blog posts through her instagram would provide a bit more accessibility for her audience.

Comment Two

My second comment was on James’ DA, “The Factories of the Future”. His project is a series of video essays detailing the future of manufacturing. I admittedly don’t know anything about manufacturing or factories so this was a little bit of a struggle to give appropriate feedback. The topic he chose to focus on has a wealth of information about the future of the technology in manufacturing, even in regards to the specific year he mentioned in his beta video. The first article I chose to recommend was based on the year time period he aimed to discuss, which was what factories might look like in 2071.

James’ presentation had me thinking back to the lecture on think tanks. This was what guided my search for another resource that I could recommend. I came across the Brookings Institute, which has a website with a large amount of information on technology and manufacturing that could contribute to his research. Both resources that I recommended provided many links and pages. I thought that since I do not have a lot of knowledge in this area, that I could provide resources that have a lot of information for James to choose from.

I was slightly confused about his discussion of some of his background research. My critique was a minor clarification of his main topic, and I gave him my thoughts on whether or not he should lean into that aspect of manufacturing a bit more. James has far more expertise and interest in this area, so he would probably have a better understanding of what to include, but I felt it was appropriate to offer this suggestion.

Comment Three

My final comment was on Alex’s beta presentation. Alex’s DA is a TikTok account that focuses on the representation of AI in popular culture, by giving reviews on films that feature AI. She mentioned in her presentation that she struggled with connecting her TikTok’s to the lecture content. Giving her lists of film recommendations felt a bit too obvious, so I wanted to make sure that the resources I linked in my comment had some sort of connection to the lecture material. Both of my resources mentioned the research of futurists in the area of AI, the first article specifically connecting to AI in films. With the second article, I tried to lean more towards films we haven’t watched in class, as the content she showed in her presentation seemed to be branching out from our weekly screenings. I also didn’t know what films she’s already reviewed besides her mentioning iRobot in her presentation. In hindsight, I wished I had provided sources that would be more beneficial to her background research, and only focused one source on giving further film recommendations.

A large portion of my feedback consisted of giving her advice to increase her engagement, as she stated that this was an area she sought to improve. I recommended involving other platforms in the promotion of her TikToks. She had already mentioned the use of reddit in her presentation, so I suggested also posting her TikToks to Instagram Reel’s, as well as linking her TikTok account to Twitter and her blog. This is also because I found it quite difficult to access her TikTok in order to give her more beneficial resources. Other than that, I absolutely love this idea, as it feels very appropriate for the DA challenge and her beta presentation was very engaging.

Reflection

Overall, I believe I provided some helpful information for my peers as they reach the final stages of their projects. My comments had more of a link to the lecture content than the first round of peer commentary, as this was an area of commentary that I aspired to improve. I also felt that the resources I provided could add valuable insights to their research. Additionally, looking at other beta presentations also got me thinking about aspects of my own DA, and how I could be doing more to promote engagement with my blog posts. Thinking critically about how my peers could connect their DA’s to the lecture content also gave me some insights into the other ways I could incorporate the course material into my own project. 

References:

Moore, C 2019 “Futures Studies: Trajectories and Planning, Part 2” Lecture Video, BCM325, University of Wollongong, delivered 17 February, viewed 17 May 2021 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YD78w4I3jg&gt;

Bell, W 1997 (2003), The Foundations of Futures Studies: Volume 1, Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, pg. 14

‘We’ll Do It Live!’: Live Tweeting Critical Summary, Vol 1.

For the subject BCM325, we have been asked to participate in weekly screenings of films that pertain to the subject material. We engage with these films through live tweeting, posting both our own original tweets and interacting with other classmates tweets. In this blog post, I will be recounting and critically evaluating my experience with live tweeting thus far this semester.

Image: deSingel

Week One: Metropolis (1927)

The first week of live tweeting proved to be challenging. The tweets that I posted felt as though they were surface level observations; mostly pointing out aspects of the film and its context that I found interesting.

Given that Metropolis is a silent film, it was difficult to focus on the story while also engaging with the tweets posted by my classmates. I found that I would often miss key themes and story elements by reading the tweets on my timeline. Conversely, I would pick up on plot points that I missed through reading those tweets. These tweets provided more of an analysis of these plot points, which allowed me to further understand the themes of the film.

Additionally, I found it difficult to conduct research about the film during the screening, as I couldn’t simultaneously focus on reading articles and watching the film. As a result, I felt that my tweets this week weren’t as structured and insightful as they could have been.

Although my tweets didn’t feel as in-depth as the tweets of my peers, I received replies that further elaborated on my ideas. This allowed me to engage with the film and my peers in a more meaningful way.

Image: Tablet Magazine

Week Two: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

This week, I made sure to conduct research about the film prior to the screening. I drafted several tweets focusing on important elements of the film that I was able to gain further insight on through reading articles. For example, this tweet highlighting one of the defining features of the film; the score.

By doing this I was able to pay more attention to the film and interact more with my peers, as I wasn’t trying to look up articles during the screening. I was also able to spend more time researching and reading through articles that I thought were relevant to the live tweeting experience, which meant that I didn’t feel pressured to find content to tweet within the time frame of the film. Fortunately, I had already seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, so I had a general idea of themes I could research and plot points I could discuss; making draft tweeting far easier this week.

As a result, I was able to focus on the film itself and generate tweets that were directly responding to moments in the film. This tweet, for example, was in relation to the scene where Hal sings ‘Daisy Bell’.

Image: Fiction Machine

Week Three: Westworld (1973)

Unlike the past two screenings, I had not seen Westworld (1973), nor the television remake. Hence, drafting tweets prior to the screening was difficult as I had no knowledge of the film’s plot or themes. The background research I conducted mostly included interesting facts about the film so as to avoid any major spoilers. 

The knowledge that I gained through prior research allowed me to respond to others with facts that elaborate on their tweets.

As this was the third screening, I had begun to see similarities between not only key plot points, but perhaps the context in which the film was created. Although potentially incorrect, I attempted to examine how filmmakers at the time were projecting their view of the future. Seeing as this was the first screening that was not a film I had already watched, I felt more comfortable connecting to the subject material by relating it to a film I was familiar with; that being 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Image: Story Grid

Week Four: Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner was a similar live tweeting experience to Westworld, as I had also not seen this film. While I knew of it’s cultural significance, I had no idea what the film was actually about or how it related to the subject content. This resulted in a similar debacle where I didn’t want the film spoiled entirely, but still wanted to conduct background research.

While I had several drafted tweets and made some observations about the film, most of my engagement this week was through retweeting.

My tweets this week could have been stronger. Although I was able to extend my thoughts through my responses, I felt as though my peers gave far more in-depth insights into the film. 

This is definitely an aspect of live tweeting I hope to improve over the next few screening sessions as the connection between the films and the BCM325 subject material becomes clearer. 

Image: NewStatesman

Week Five: Ghost in the Shell (1995)

This week I aimed to improve my inclusion of the lecture content. As I had completed a majority of this blog post by the screening this week, I attempted to use my self-reflection towards improving my live tweeting. I conducted prior background research that focused on topics that were discussed in the week five lecture. 

While I achieved this to a certain extent, the inclusion of lecture content in my live tweeting continues to be my main area for improvement, as evident by the lack of lecture discussion in weeks 1-4. I also attempted to focus more of my tweets on analysing the themes of the film, which included deep insights about the philosophy of what it means to be human.

By steering my background research towards the topics discussed in the lectures, and how these topics relate to the film, I should improve my tweets immensely. I also aim to practice connecting key plot points and themes to the lecture content during the screening. As we progress through the semester, I will continue to focus my live-tweeting practices on improving in these areas, which will hopefully lead to higher quality tweets in my next self-reflection post.

Say ‘No’ to Peer Pressure, and ‘Yes’ to Peer Commentary, Vol. 1

A few weeks ago, my peers and I posted our digital artifact pitches for BCM325. Over this time, I personally have come to realise how my project could be improved. I came to this realisation through feedback from my tutor and our progression through the course material, as well as my own rumination. 

As a part of our assessment, we are required to comment and give advice on 3 of our peers pitches. By analysing their project pitches and having to come up with feedback, I have further realised aspects of my DA that I didn’t consider, as well as areas that need to be revised. I will go through these as I go over the pitches I commented on.

Comment One

My first comment was on Emma Jenkin’s pitch – Chae Media’s Future. Chae is Emma’s company that she created with two other partners, Chelsea and Hannah, as mentioned in her video. Chae is a company that aims to “help those who need a helping hand” in areas such as student lifestyle, wellness, food, art, etc. Emma and her co-founders intend to create a podcast about the future of Chae as pertaining to their 5 year business plan. Their podcast will cover topics related to the BCM325 subject, such as the screenings and lecture topics, as well as topics that discuss aspects of their company.

I struggled to come up with feedback for this pitch presentation, as it was clear that their business is already established and has a following on several social media platforms (i.e. Instagram and Tiktok). My comment could have included more feedback on how they can deliver their podcast effectively, so it can gain more of an audience. 

As I stated in my comment, I don’t know anything about running a small business, nor how to grow and establish one. The research that I included in my comment was an article that laid out several business goals that might be ideal in the first year of establishing a small business. My reasoning behind this was to provide guidance and possibly some inspiration for goals as they create their 5 year business plan. The second research link that I included was how to remain adaptive and the competitive benefits that this has for a business. This was my interpretation of the possible futures segment of the ‘multiple futures lecture’ that I believe would benefit their business, as it is important to consider many possible obstacles that they could face and account for these in the business plan.

Comment Two

My second peer comment was on Taylah Ide-Miller’s pitch – The Future of the Film Industry. Taylah intends to create a 15-20 minute video essay centred around how the film industry will evolve, specifically in regards to remakes. She also wanted to explore which major film company is predicted to produce a lot of these remakes.

As this DA concept is similar to mine, albeit different as we are focusing on other areas of the film industry, I applied a bit more personal interest in this comment. My comment included more questions that she could potentially pose in her video essay, allowing her to explore more aspects of how films will be remade in the future. This line of questioning was inspired by the 6th purpose of future studies, ‘Interpreting the past and orienting the present’, as discussed in the week 4 lecture. Remaking a film is a great way to examine how historical values have changed, as certain aspects of the past film will be re-evaluated in order to reflect the current societal values, ultimately projecting how we want the future to progress.

The first article that I included pertains to the questions that I asked in my comment. The article is about films that include discussions of gender identity, disability, race, etc. being remade and how these topics of discussion are transformed or even subverted. The article itself is behind a paywall, however the abstract contains a lot of information about the direction of the article. The references below the article also provide many more resources that support the research. The second article I included was more about the current state of film mediums and what this means for the future of the industry. I did this to provide a different perspective on why the film industry may change and how it might do so. 

I misspoke in my comment, she is only doing one video essay, but she is segmenting her video in order to make the content she’s covering easier to digest.

Comment Three

My final comment was on Alina Hager’s pitch – The Future of Marketing. Alina aims to produce a blog mini-series, consisting of 7 posts, that also include podcasts. These blog posts will be about the future of the marketing industry and will discuss specific topics, such as the use of AI in marketing and the potential of space ads. 

Alina’s concept was well researched and she included many references in her contextual post. With the research that I included in my comment, I aimed to find an article that she did not reference and that further explored one of the example topics she stated in her video. The first article I included was about the future of the marketing industry being shaped by the integration of AI. The second article I included was about where the marketing industry is predicted to be in 2030 as technology evolves and shapes how audiences are receiving these marketing strategies.

The feedback I gave Alina was regarding the promotion of her blog. I recommended using other social media platforms (such as Twitter and Instagram) to allow users, specifically her target audience, to discover her blog content and ultimately build a larger following.

My Reflection

There are several aspects of these pitches that made me evaluate how I’m going to execute my own DA. I gave more thought to how I will promote my blog series, as there were social media platforms that I had not considered, such as reddit. I also realised that I did not outline my target audience in my pitch. As my DA intends to touch on aspects of the marketing industry in regards to how films are marketed, Alina’s pitch concept has given me more ideas as to how I can further explore this topic.

In terms of my comments, I believe I provided good research that could help my peers develop their DA content. I posed several questions in each comment in hopes to encourage my peers to further develop their ideas and the overall execution of their DA’s. I struggled to provide a lot of feedback in terms of the assessment criteria, as I believe these pitches fulfilled the criteria well. However, this was an element of my comments that was lacking and has a lot of room for improvement. Additionally, I was able to refer to the lecture content to a certain extent, but I wasn’t able to connect my knowledge to all of the comments. I also believe I could have referred to the lecture content more effectively. I aim to improve these areas of my commentary as we move towards the Beta Assessment Task.