Getting the ball rolling

Arizona State University has launched a new course called EnterTech. Not sure about the name but the ideas behind it are interesting. The link to the article can be found on our Emerging Media News list and was published in the NY Times. It profiles a new film school approach to education which is interdisciplinary and ideas based rather than craft focused.

“We are not turning out people who are going to be editors, cinematographers, writers, directors,” said Dr. Lehman, who observed that there are too many such film schools already.

“Ideally we should be teaching students to think of film in relation to new media in a quite different model than we had in the past,” he continued. “It’s not as simple as, ‘We need content for a new delivery system.’ It’s more, ‘We need to understand the new technology and how it will shape entertainment.’ We’re creating a new industry job, as it were.”

The changes taking place in the media and entertainment industries at the moment are quite momentous and an educational approach that embraces this is refreshing. Working in an organisation where new technologies are taught alongside traditional filmmaking crafts has its advantages and disadvantages. But if the scale of change taking place really has Hollywood shaken to its core it is up to educators to look to the future. In five years time the media landscape will look very different to today and our educational approach needs to reflect this.
Lateral thought is what is required here and I’d venture the view that we surface from our ‘production for productions sake’ mentality and spend the requisite amount of time on thought, collaboration and innovation. The Australian media industry tends to have noses either buried in production or grant applications for the next production. In a rapidly changing global environment it’s time to look past the next project and get strategic about the future. There are going to have to be some hard decisions and some productions might need to be sacrificed in order to put the time and effort into brainstorming and innovation.

There are a lot of new opportunities for us to reach global markets and the barriers to entry have never been so low. Isn’t it about time we starting thinking bigger than 2% of the local box office or our tiny (by global standards) TV audience and took some big ideas to the world? This is going to take collaboration between technologists, creative and business people and we need to start the ball rolling now.

Personal opinions are expressed in this blog not those of my employer

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