Skip to main content


For most of recent history, up until about 60 years ago, the act of creation was just a part of life. Everyone sang or played an instrument or wrote or performed or danced or Something.

But recording technology turned creative output in to a path to fortune and fame. Suddenly, if you weren't exceptional, then why were you trying at all?

This concept is, of course, bullshit.

3 people reshared this

TV never had a real amateur moment, and filmmaking barely did.

TV came close in 69 with the videofreex, but the FCC made sure that any potential home video might have had for artistic expression would be stiffled by distribution problems.

The video resolution of the 80s unlocked film a little (toxic avenger, El mariachi, an absolute glut of horror films and pornography) but distribution was still limited to single physical copies.
Music did. Radio (or rather podcasts) did.
music is now, for sure. Bandcamp represents probably the greatest trove of creative output that has ever existed, and now it's owned by epic.

Podcasts are having a bit of a professionalism moment right now, but it's small and it's impact will remain limited as long as podcasts keep meaning audio or video distributed via rss or atom, and not "radio show on Spotify."
This is why I like PeerTube. I can basically just release whatever I want to, without needing to care if anyone other than me thinks it's any good.
I reject the notion that podcasts have to centralize to succeed. Podcatchers can and have been given a nice UX. Centralization is how the masses understand technology now, sure, but it doesn't have to be.

What I find tends to be the problem is that for many is that the medium of pure-audio is inaccessible. Yet audio video significantly ups the cost, which can be extremely prohibative to make depending on the story you want to tell.
Centralization helps discovery (or rather, helps popular things become more popular), and makes basically everything else worse.

I often find audio only to be inaccessible too, some days I just can't do it. I appreciate the existence of a good podcast when I can focus on it, though.
Ah yes, the discovery issue. I like advocating for federation there.

Podcasts have largely centralized around Apple for this...
The internet changed that. Even before YouTube there was Wax, or the discovery of television among the bees.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wax_or_the_Discovery_of_Television_Among_the_Bees

But now we're well in to the Era of Professionals. TV is what other people do. We're left with infotainment and lifestyle vlogging and playing video games.

If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing badly.

Andrew (R.S Admin) reshared this.

I mean...yeah. Imagine my disappointment when El Mariachi and Do The Right Thing came out, then it all got like...well, the same thing that usually happens, like you said
El Mariachi in particular, when it comes to low-to-no budget filmmaking
Stumbling my way to John Waters sort of redeemed my hope and faith a bit, but still, yeah. What you said.
You know about Cheryl Dunye, Marlon Riggs, Lizzie Borden and Greta Snider?
these are not names I'm familiar with.
yeah. These folks were pushing boundaries and changing what was possible, and challenging the establishment.

And then there were consumed, more or less, by the establishment.

Maybe not so much for Spike, he's still doing it on his terms as far as I can tell, but he is certainly playing the establishment's game, even if he isn't on the establishment's team.
Some of them, for sure. Mainstream contracts and all that.

Spike has had his moments (the videos for the Army, etc.) but overall, definitely.
We shpuld participate in the act of creation. It is a vital part of human existence.

We have nothing to fear but failure and ridiculue.

Failure isn't worth being afraid of. It is worth celebrating.

Andrew (R.S Admin) reshared this.

Ridiculue is trickier, but it's cultural. I have done my best to establish a culture free from ridicule at the maker space. People have room to try new things without having to worry that they won't be good at them.

Not everyone plays by this rule, and most of us slip up occasionally. Usually, recognition and apology comes a moment later, trust is important here.

Andrew (R.S Admin) reshared this.

We have a few regulars who are bad at this. Cynics. Children of the 80s. Those whose self defense mechanisms are dependent upon casting dispersion. Ridicule is a good mechanism for stifling that impulse.

Set new norms. Make a space in which creativity can be explored.
It's a tough one. There are some people who's entire personality it seems is centered around putting things(and unfortunately often people also) down.
it is a big part of online personalities too, but if we can silence that inner cynic, better things will happen.
Absolutely. I see it regularly around fedi and try to cut those people out of my timeline. We all need to vent or have legit criticisms of things sometimes but when that's the majority of the things someone talks about.
Every one of us has a high quality camera. Most of us are reading and writing on it right now.

Video editing isn't a mystical unknowable art. The software is free (kdenlive) and reasonably easy to use. Basic special effects are possible. Simple editing is easy.

I'm not good at this! I mean, I'm good enough for my purposes, but others are faster, more precise, more purposeful. That's fine! Sloppy editing doesn't render a thing unenjoyable.
Maybe we need a fediverse film festival?

What might a fediverse film festival look like? Would you be interested in participating?
Don't you think live streaming is amateur TV?
Sure, in a very mst3k way. I addressed this in a previous thread yesterday.

Game streaming isn't something I really understand, I guess. I support those who do it and enjoy it, but I don't get it (and I worry that it is teaching people that they aren't event good enough at their leisure activities, turning them in to consumers rather than participators in even the act of play.)
Yeah, let's put Game streaming aside – I "get it", but I'm also critical of the business-fication of hobbies in general.

But re your comment from yesterday.

> But now we're well in to the Era of Professionals. TV is what other people do. We're left with infotainment and lifestyle vlogging and playing video games.

Is infotainment/vlogging "bad TV"? Not sure I agree with Era of Profs. Sure, to "make it" on YT you need a certain professionality in investment/equip. these days.

cont…
I'm not saying that infotainment and vlogging are bad TV, no. They are largely a new, and entirely independent form of production.

But they're also not narrative television, you know? It's a different kind of thing.

When I talk about the era of profesionalization, I mean that many people who want to make video content assume that narrative work is off limits.
There are so few filmmakers doing narrative stuff, some sketch comedy folks are out there, but compared to "Look at this old computer" it's tiny.
To be fair, I like "look at this old computer"... but it would be nice to have some variety.
I love "look at this old computer"

My favorite channel on youtube right now is Cathode Ray Dude (https://www.youtube.com/CathodeRayDude)

Gravis releases everything CC-BY (although, only on youtube, so you've still gotta do the whole youtube-dl thing to get a copy) and produces some of the most thoughtful videos I've seen on a variety of early media topics.

Great work.
Ah, sure, true. Didn't think of that. I guess narrative stuff falls into the movie/async/not-live category for me, which is not what I associate with TV primarily anymore. I mean most TV is not live, but given that most in released to online before broadcasted nowadays, TV (for me) is either Live TV or merely a showcase for what's avail. to binge watch somewhere else. But yeah, writing stories is hard and production of those as well, yes.
Ah.

Yes, youtube and various streaming services have done a good job supplementing or supplanting the Talk Show format.

And many youtubers manage to produce something as good as or better than what passes for good enough on actual TV.

It's just in the narrative space, mostly, that there is such a big gap.
Animation seems to have some successful amateur productions, but not enough. Not sure how much of Newgrounds animation counts as narrative.
It's also not nearly as decentralized as podcasts, all animators seem to be chained to at least one big video sharing platform.
(Also I love Helluva Boss but I don't think it counts here, since it's very much not an amateur production)
Sita Sings the Blues stands out here.
I found out about the creator when she started a TERF-friendly fedi instance, so I've been a bit cagey about seeking out her art. I've peeked into Seder-Masochism but it didn't really appeal to me, I think the voice acting was what put me off.
Maybe I should still watch them out of scholarly duty...
I was unaware of that.

Shame.
I think you've been missing out on loads and loads of stuff going on over on Vine back in the days, as well as absolute tonnes of Tiktoks and other shorts. Long-form is harder for many reasons, but short-form amateur narrative video creation is massive, I think.
@fabian
There's also stuff like lonelygirl15, but I think some part of the problem lies in the trouble in finding a good narrative space, and overall in the separation of "fiction" as in "this persona I'm performing on cam" and "this specific story I'm showing the world in an explicitly fictional environment" @fabian
I didn't spend any time addressing vine because it's dead, and because it was constrained enough as to create something wholly new.

Tiktok is a more interesting space that I am not super familiar with. I have seen some good shorts come out of it, but with such a distinct style about them that I'd never mistake them for anything other than tiktoks.

And the platform is among the least trustworthy in the world, so that's difficult to deal with.
I do want to say that there are people who do game streaming where "being good" is the point, and some where "hanging out" is the point.

The second one is more interesting to me since it's like...

When I was a kid, I would play games with my friends and it didn't really matter if we enjoyed them since the playing wasn't really the point, it was more about having something to do while we hung out.

The best sorts of streaming I have seen have been more like that, friendly voices just hanging out in chat and the game is more there to be a thing to do to fill in silences
Oh for sure! That's a really cool thing.

But, like, are we doing that instead of meeting people and playing games with them?

I probably wouldn't have a ton of IRL friends today if I had that kind of access to strangers as a kid.
Yes. I'd be interested.

I suspect it could be just like the online conferences people have been putting on PeerTube, but with films instead of talks.

Maybe have live Q&A after?

Andrew (R.S Admin) reshared this.

I like that idea a lot.

Peertube + Jitsi + matrix + a decent little web page.

Seems simple enough.
I would absolutely be interested in participating in a film festival. Not sure what it'd look like more than a bunch of people making and sharing films.

Andrew (R.S Admin) reshared this.

Alright, fediverse film festival it is. I'll start working on the logistics.
I know it's not really feasible for an online event, but I'd really like to participate in making indie films with others with the same interests.

One person can't do everything, but they might not know others who can and want to participate.

For example, I can write scripts and possibly act and edit, but I don't have any experience with cinematography or anything else related to film production.

Is there a "simple" way for local creators to organize and start making initially?
We do that through the makerspace here.

A craigslist ad or facebook group can help.

We've also been experimenting with virtual collaboration, there's zoom style talking heads (which can be integrated in scifi shows as other ships, for example) and there's stuff like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY4oV3mhixc

Just do it, and ignore the fact that folks are on webcams, you know?
See Captain Isotope for example on how the zoom style cameras can be used for com-screens in scifi around the 3:30 mark in this video: https://www.osi74.com/index.php/aiovg_videos/captain-isotope-s1e01-bing-the-merciless/
Okay, logistics:

1) we do most of this through peertube.

2) There's a website (and probably a gem cap) with info. Probably hosted on like neocities or whatever.

That bit is easy.

But then like, categories and awards. Do we crowd source votes? That seems like it could go badly. So we have judges, I guess? Yeah. Judges.

And prices. I can fund a couple of prizes through the maker space.

That seems like the way to go?
https://www.peppercarrot.com/en/webcomic/ep22_The-Voting-System.html

I'd be very excited to see such a film festival! The thing that would keep me from participating is that I think I already have enough projects.

Though I am very curious to see how easy Blender Grease Pencil would make it to add visuals to Gregg Taylor's audio & stories... Would make it easier to share my favourite show! I do have a visual design in mind.
Have you seen the motion comic they did for Panda?
Yup, I have! Can't say it does much for me though.
Well, give me a C.A.G.E. and then I won't have to worry about time management...
I'm afraid it'd be overly self-referential, with too much meta content, like too many conversations and posts are here atm imho
things haven't been this meta here in years. I'm not worried about that.
I've been making videos long enough to remember when a frequent lament was that there "wasn't any good video editing software for Linux."

Maybe there was, but a decade ago it wasn't well known.

Now we have more good video editors than we have good audio editors. That competition is important, I think.

(I personally have been using OpenShot, because it has Mac and Windows versions so I can recommend it to my students regardless of their OS ... as long as it isn't ChromeOS.)
Openshot isn't bad! I've used it a lot when I had a mac.

I settled on kdenlive because it was more stable, and *significantly* faster on my linux boxes.

But I don't really care what folks use, you know? As long as they *do* something.
We're on the same soapbox right now, I think.

On the HS level there's a trend towards Premiere or Final Cut, because those are industry standards and some of our kids are getting hired right out of High School.

But here in Middle School? If it can trim a clip, string a few clips together, and add a title/credits, I don't care what the students use.

Most use Capcut on their phones if given the choice. Having seen it I can't stand to use it myself, but THEIR learning isn't about ME.
I've been trying to find a good video editor for Android to recommend for folks who don't have computers.

Is Capcut usable? I know you said you don't like it, but does it work?
It's good enough and the kids like it, but for phone editing I've been recommending Kinemaster. It's "freemium" to remove the watermark but otherwise it's multi-track editing on iOS and Android.

I have counterparts on the high school level who rave about Kinemaster.
> Video editing isn't a mystical unknowable art. The software is free (kdenlive) and reasonably easy to use.

Free yes - as in beer and as in speech - but easy to use? I've tried a wide range of free code video editing apps on both GNU/Linux and Mac, and that's not been my experience. Maybe I wasn't using a powerful enough PC for what the apps needed at the time, but that's a moving target. Any links to reliable HowTo guides would be much appreciated.

# # #
I learned how to do this stuff a long time ago, and have just been transposing those skills to whatever latest software is in front of me, so I don't have any specific recommendations, unfortunately.

That being said, we're doing tutorial videos on everything, including video making, at a rate of about 1 a month right now.

I can't make any promises, but we should have some good video editing resources available online in a few months.
So far, they're mostly internal stuff for the makerspace, about our specific equipment, etc, and they're on our local file server.

There are also only three videos so far, with a fourth in progress.

They'll live on the makerspace peertube account once I manage to find time to get it migrated to it's new server.
Great stuff. Be sure to let us know.

@me
Oh I doubt I'll ever shut up about it.
I have said elsewhere that the ability to be creative also provides protection against deception as we understand how communications work.
and the recorded version "is the piece"...

No, every time you play it, it's a little bit different and everyone else plays it a little bit different.
Participatory culture ftw! We have a 2010 book about it called Playing Reality, pretty happy with how it came out
interesting. Tell me more?
Reminds me of a Lawrence Lessig's 2007(ish) TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q25-S7jzgs
that's also a good point.

There's a million ways to make a career as a writer and very few of them involve being rich and famous, but we've been poisoned by celebrity culture.
You should sing if you enjoy singing... every one else can just suffer
Broadcast and cable distribution also had an impact.

In a world where entertainment was performed one had to not only be in the same time but the same place.

Recording transmits performance across Itime. Broadcast and telecoms transmits performance aross space.

Then there are the mechanisms for cultivating and entrapping audiences --- in a live-performance world either audience travelled to acts (venues, performing art centres) or acts to audiences (tours, travelling acts). With broadcast, cable, and online networks, audiences were bundled for subscriber or (more often) advertising revenues.

And yes, you had numerous variants on the theme:
  • Books and newspapers replaced racontours, lecturers, and town cryers.
  • Discos replaces live-performance clubs.
  • Cinemas replace small-town "opera houses" --- actually general-interest performance and meeting halls.
  • Talk radio and television have replaced "holy rollers" and religious tent revivals.
And of course expanded and transformed the old models.

Your observation that television never really had its amateur hour is an interesting one --- even within smaller towns, broadcast spectrum was too limited to support more than a small number of channels, content creation sufficiently expensive that belonging to (and being gate-kept) by an established network was largely necessary for both content and advertising contracts, and monopolies emerged quickly.

"Public access television" emergeged in the US largely in the 1969--1971 period, though remained limited in scope until the emergence of cable, and even then, limited in actual accessibility and significance.
I've written about Public Access TV before and I don't want to go digging it up right now, but the short version is that Public Access TV was a conciliation prize, as actual access to the public was significantly curtailed by actions from the FCC.

There were Amateur productions and regional shows. Captain z-ro, Space Patrol, even the current Captain Isotope, all regional broadcasts.

But it's not exactly the same.
And you're right that broadcast media changed a lot of things, and made access to performance spaces less easy.

I just lament the days when people made art and told stories and wrote things down for the love of doing it.
Right.

I'm trying to "yes-and" your earlier toot. I've been thinking of how technology has changed information, and am coming to see that as having several components:
  • Recording -- access across time. Related: re-creation / reproduction.
  • Transmsision -- access across space. Related: Reception / receivers.
  • Touring -- moving performances to audiences (sort of a a high-end transmission)
  • Assembly -- aggregating audiences.
  • Curation -- creating archives of many works. Libraries, public or otherwise.
  • Gatekeeping -- the role of controlling access to works, performances, audiences, production capabilities (as with film) and/or compensation
  • Compensation or interests --- propaganda, patronage, advertising, butts in seats.
There are interesting relationships, trade-offs, and synergies between these. As well as a very long history (Catholic Inquisition, Rome, Greece, scribes, etc.).

Even within the field I find relatively little treatment of these. It's been insightful for me to consider and reflect on these.
"Television never had its amateur hour" seems to be the same sentiment as "the revolution will not be televised" (ie, because television production was a very capital-heavy endeavour), which was very true for its time.

I'm somewhat optimistic that the massive availability of cheap phones and notebooks makes *production*, at least, of reasonable-quality media much easier.

But I worry that monetization and (IP or political) censorship could make *distribution* hard.
Uh... wasn't TV's amateur hour called public access? I distinctly remember mst3k started with nearly nothing.
mst3k was not public access, it was a local show like some of yhr other I've mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

The closest TV had to a real amateur hour was Lanesville TV from The Video Freex, and the fcc shut them the fuck down.
Is there anything else which comes remotely close?
  • Videotape distribution?
  • Closed-circuit?
I'm guessing that YouTube and web video were really the first big mass-creator breakouts.

There was some earlier experimentation with multicast Internet protocols such as Mbone, though that never really developed (apparently ISPs were opposed):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbone

@alienghic @natecull
@natecull

Broadside TV, Lainsville TV, TVTV, and the stuff that the Gophers did.
this is much closer to what I meant.

Distribution is solved today, discovery is the new hard problem.
Which raises the question of what the problems in performance / creation / entertainment are:
  • Creation
  • Production
  • Promotion
  • Discovery
  • Monetisation / business model
  • ???
It's as if these are edges of some polygon where raising one vertex (making it more attainable) renders the others lower / more difficult.

A large part of this is the inherent rivalrousness of attention, whether at an individual or collective level. For any individual, community, society, etc., no matter the size, there are only ten "top ten" positions. Zipf's Law / Power Functions mean that there's a tremendous fall off with lower rankings on that list. A day has 24 hours, 14,400 minutes, and 86,400 seconds. There are roughly 1,000 months, 4,000 weeks, 30,000 days, 700,000 hours, 42 million minutes, and 2.5 billion seconds in a lifetime.

Those can only be filled with so much, and each time committment denies another.

(Am I taking up more than my share?)

What is a common heritage? How large must that be for a common culture to even exist? What does that consist of today? Homer? The Bible? Qaran? Harry Potter? MCU?

@natecull
So I see the problems we need to solve as Filming, Editing, Distributing, Promotion/Discovery, Funding

Early DIY video producers talked of Narrowcasting. Making things for a specific, narrow audience. That's possible today.

It's common today.

We don't need universally shared experience, and a TV show doesn't have to hit millions of eyeballs in order to sustain it's creators if it's made in a sustainable fashion to begin with.
Truth, generally, though identifying what the minimum viable practice is might be worthwhile.

There's also the distinction between casual / hobbyist / amateur production, teaching / training (of new producers), and of the actual professionals.

In narrowcasting, there's narrow in space (e.g., locally-oriented production and audience), or by interest, e.g., a specific community-of-interest, whether that's artistic, professional, academic, practitioner / artisan, etc.

The narrowcasting model seems most appropriate for the latter.

On funding, it's interesting to note that public broadcasting in the US divides support amongst the central networks (NPR, PBS, PRX, ...) --- central organisation, stations (to which the bulk of actual federal support monies goe) --- distribution, and various production groups --- studios, projects, programmes, and the like.

Production itself is divided amongst central networks, individual stations (with larger ones typically producing a few "tentpole" programmes --- WBUR's "The World", WHYY's "Fresh Aire", WBEZ's "Wait, Wait", WNYC's "Radiolab", etc.), as well as independent / freestanding productions not associated with a specific station / affiliate / network. There are of course many, many small-station / local-interest productions as well.

@natecull

This website uses cookies. If you continue browsing this website, you agree to the usage of cookies.