Pulling Threads

When I first started working on this movie, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. A film about Web 2.0? How could I resist? Once I came up with an idea, I worked furiously on the screenplay. By the end of the process, I was even scriptwriting in my dreams. I finally started filming with exactly two weeks left to the due date. Didn’t really bother with sleep anymore, and my friends began to complain that I was never around. This has probably been one of the most exhausting experiences of my life, right behind hiking in the French Alps at age seven and junior year of high school. But you know what? I made a movie

I promise that, going into this, my intentions were the very best. I was going to make a movie about Web 2.0 in an interesting, creative way. I wanted to explore the properties of Web 2.0 as a reflective medium. How could I ever have thought that it would be just that? I should have known that it would end up being something else entirely. This sounds funny, but I’m not quite sure what this film is. Just as it has been one of the most exhausting experiences, it’s also been one of the most intensely personal things I’ve ever created. I try to write from what I know, so it’s no surprise that I keep seeing myself in the characters. But I’m still astonished.

A secondary goal of mine was to use this film to showcase not only my art, but other people’s as well. Tyler, the poet (in real life and on screen), wrote the poem he reads in the film. Brady Earnhart performs his own music. I loved the idea of this film serving a dual purpose in that way, and having art within art. Not only man-computer symbiosis, but symbiosis of minds. Once the internet is involved, it becomes infinite symbiosis, with chains of inspiration weaving everything together.

I swear that this movie had plot at one point, which is pretty unusual for me. Not anymore. (Blame flow.) My friends joke with me about how nothing I make ever has a plot. I always shake my head, laugh, and say that I’ll do plot “next time.” But now that I think about it, does there have to be plot to make something meaningful? I think the closest I can get to describing this film is suggesting that it is a cinematic stream-of-consciousness, of sorts. But not just one person’s consciousness; what happens when you use the internet–Web 2.0–to create a montage of thought, emotion, and reflection? We often view cinema as showing us the world “through a lens”, just as we describe the internet as showing us the world through a computer. But for both film and the internet, I think it would be more accurate to say that they show us the world “through a mind.” Because what you’re really looking at is another person.

Despite the fact that the finished product is radically different from what I expected to create, I think I like it. At some point during those long, sleepless nights of editing, this movie transformed into something new. The one question I dread (but always get from people when I say I’m making a movie) is “what’s it about?”

Nothing. Everything. Maybe you just have to grok it yourself ;)

 “How different is online communication from real-life interaction? I use the phrase ‘real-life,’ but how far away are we from reaching the point at which there is no significant difference left? We already have online banking, retail, art galleries, databases, journals, education… even entire virtual worlds and communities. Pretty soon the internet will be as real as everything else we experience. Maybe it is already. And what happens then? Will online life replace ‘reality’? I don’t think so. In any event, that’s not the really interesting question.

What will happen to ‘real life’ once it and the internet interpenetrate? How will our offline lives change? Will we emphasize the division or embrace the symbiosis? Most of all, will we let this new cornerstone of our lives inspire us in ways that have never been possible before? Increased communication expands innovation exponentially.”


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