When the Internet was created and people started using it on a large scale, the Internet was mostly a one-way street. It provided information about a certain topic or organization, and that was about all you could do with it. If you wanted to create a website yourself, you would’ve had to be a professional programmer. Since Web 2.0 took off, the possibilities of sharing information with each other became popular. Nowadays, we couldn’t imagine a world without social media and other content sharing websites.
When we transfer this situation to the world of movies, we can see that the movie industry is still in a Web 1.0 stage. After over 130 years (!), going to the movies is still a static experience. As Conal Byrne, editor in chief of HowStuffWorks.com describes:
“You have a group of people sitting in a dark, very sort of secretive environment, experiencing a story in a very 2-dimensional way. And afterwards, they publish reviews on the story, they criticize it, it inspires conversation, etcetera. It is a bit of a shared experience, but it’s still a one-way street.”
He couldn’t be more right, because frankly, that’s all there is to it. After 130 years you show up, watch a movie, be entertained for an hour and a half and then you go back home. It is information giving.
So like the Internet, could it be possible to create a movie in which people can participate and be a part of? Probably, yes. When we look at the gaming industry, the massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG) are very popular. What happens in these games, is that there’s a large group of people, interacting in the same online, virtual environment together and sharing an experience there. The people from HowStuffWorks, as do we, think that eventually, there will be a fusion of the two forms of entertainment. So, as they describe it; a story with the look and feel, and deep narrative and seriousness of a movie, mixed with the functionality of a game like World of Warcraft. So when you go to the cinema, or even at home, you immerge yourself into a virtual world, where a story takes place that you become a part of and you can, to some extent, control. The difference with a game being the seriousness and details of a movie.
This projection of future innovations is something we can imagine the movie making industry moving towards. Besides this prediction, there’s a lot of speculation online about the future of movies. People think that the large cinemas will disappear and make room for small theatres within malls and convenient stores. Other think the movie theatre will disappear completely and be replaced by booths in which you can download a new movie onto you tablet or phone and watch it when convenient. As the future advances, the tablet and phones will be replaced by a storage device that’s planted in your brain. We’ll see about that. There’s also speculation on becoming an avatar, much like in the movie, with which you can actually partake in the movie. If you don’t like the movie you’re in, than you simply ‘jump’ from one movie to another. Sounds cool!
Whatever the future might bring, all the prediction done in this article are still far away from where we are today. As we stated earlier, the movies are still in a Web 1.0 state, so let’s first try to break free from that, and take it one step at a time from there.
– Written by Stefan Volders (Blog Post #7)