Tuesday, July 16, 2013

That Word, That Horrible, Horrible Word

I chastised a member of our engineering team the other day for using the word. It wasn’t entirely fair; the word has fallen into common parlance, and is a short catch-all term for what we’re all about. But dammit, I cannot abide its use, and every time I hear it it makes me angry.

The word, of course, is CONTENT. That hideous catch-all term to describe that stuff you watch on the internet. It's fine legalese and suited for a site's Terms of Use page, but dammit, let the word remain there. I love that the internet has made so much available for so many people, and that it brings deserving work to people and communities who may have no other venue for it. But does this ease-of-access turn movies into fast food, something to be lightly engaged and easily discarded if it doesn’t immediately engage the viewer? The use of the word “content” plays into that commodification. Hollywood certainly looks at movies as assets to be sold and leveraged, and the experience of movies is devalued when we play along, either as passive audience members or lazy filmmakers.

Of course, Jaman exists to enable you to find something new and different to watch online. But we sincerely hope that you’ll resist the comfortable non-engagement that the word “content” represents, and that you’ll engage the movies you find here with open mind, open heart.

The engineer mentioned atop this post once asked me if I agreed that some movies were simply bad. I honestly (naively?) want to believe that this isn’t the case, that any movie that survives the extended and often difficult process of creation is informed by some spark of passion that redeems a miniscule budget, less experienced filmmaking, etc. But this morning, writing this piece, I will go to the wall to say that yes: any movie made by one who considers oneself, first and foremost, a content provider is going to suck. Give me a storyteller, anytime.

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