Aristotle, Poetics, Mobile Movies...
I've recently been reading Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters. It is a fascinating book. You don't have to be a screenwriter to enjoy it or understand it. I'm not a screenwriter, but I appreciate the craft of screen production. Moreover, I really love stories. I read lots of them to my kids.
When I first wrote about Mobile TV on my website, someone emailed me with a rant about how ridiculous the idea of Mobile TV is. Their "argument" was that with increasingly accessible plasma screens and other home-viewing goodies, who in their right mind would want to regress to a pokey little screen on their mobile.
Last week I encountered a similar doubter who wasn't sure about Mobile TV. However, I don't agree. I actually think that eventually there will be a breed of "TV Watcher" who only watch TV on their mobiles and seldom watch the big screen, except for feature-length movies of course. Here, I agree, the home entertainment centre is a clear winner.
The point is that a compelling story will be sufficient to allow mobile viewing to work. The challenge will be delivering the story in a short space of time and probably making it episodic. This poses a challenge for screenwriters and movie producers to become a lot more creative in their craft, but I am confident that a new breed of creatives will take up this challenge and succeed.
Within this craft, we can expect multiple genres. I am utterly convinced that documentary and educational material will become more important in this context, even for the younger age groups that we might otherwise associate with a diet of mind-numbing rock video downloads.
Some of the best stories are real ones. I recently watched startup.com and found it fascinating - a real human drama. Some of the stories of great people of the past are astoundingly brilliant. To be totally honest, I have only found joy in some of these stories through telling them to my children. The reason is that a child's book is distilled down to the basic elements of the story, which makes it so accessible. I think, and hope, that the same can be done with short films on mobile.
This might seem like a dumbing down process, but let's look at the context. We're not talking about replacing full-length documentaries and detailed historical tomes with snippet-TV. We're talking about using a new medium to open up these topics to a wider and time-starved audience, who might otherwise sit around playing Snake. After their bite-size introduction, they might, as we have found in my home, make their way to more in-depth treatments and find joy in education.
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