Before I get buried in work this week, I'm posting below part of an email I sent to Jay Dedman, whom I just met this weekend on the web. Part bio, part manifesto, it fills in some background on what I'm doing and why.
I wrote it just before I found Brandon Fuller's MT plugin. The tools are coming. What happens after that will be interesting. A MoveOn for media and social change?
(click MORE for the whole rant).
You asked for topics. I'll give you a narrative.
To review my life stages: musician, ethnographic filmmaking beginner,
idealistic PBS editor apprentice, nonlinear editing pioneer, network TV
hack, jungle stomping Maya maniac, community media developer and
weblogger. Now I'm looking for a better way to do all that.
I've got the shooting, editing, posting, local network building down, more
or less. So I'm trying to grab time as I can to learn about RSS, enough
terminal and Perl to try Grumet's scripts, sufficient familiarity with
BitTorrent to understand what Drazen is doing (or at least take advantage
of it), towards making posts of videos in enclosures easy enough that I
can start posting my NYC and Maya videos. Then keep moving in that
direction in the community - PS 188, Girls Club tech centers, net radio and video.
And if I keep a hand in TV, I think it will be a useful tool for getting executive
approvals on cuts, or doing long distance editing. I have a house in
Mexico. My dream is to sit there looking out over the town and the
volcano, doing some useful work in my later years. That can be done now if
you are a programmer (I'm not) a writer (maybe) a composer (yes) but
bandwidth limitations prevent the kind of offshore video editing I want to
do. That could change. And if I can do it then, anybody else in the world
will be able to do it. Then of course the economics of being a media
professional change completely - they already have for the most part - but
I've been riding that wave a long time.
So RSS/enc/BT is going to be useful on a number of levels: personal P2P
media publishing, personal broadcasting, custom network aggregation into
PVRs (like Grumet's PTV), and professional services. Googling for
"enclosures" I keep running across a Disney link - they've run with it for
broadband distribution already. Now it's time to tackle the tools and
bandwidth issues for the little guys. I keep watching for the municipal
wireless to happen here beyond the office worker theme parks (Bryant, Wall
Street, okay Union Square is closer) but that's why I'm determined to find
a way to give it away in our neighborhood. For me the digital divide is
Avenue D. Gentry behind us, housing projects in front.
Let's assume we get the tools and bandwidth, within the next year or two.
We get the killer app - what then is the killer content? Is it enough that
we can do these things? What is compelling in P2P media? Is this just
going to be a delivery system for porn and DVDs? A way to actually see a
blogger's cat? Is it going to be the elite chat system or the web version
of cable public access (marginal now, you've got to admit), while the
media storm goes on around it? Or is it going to enable, empower, create
economic opportunity, add your own cliche? If I get it for the projects on
Ave D, is it full of crap downloads the next week? Or does it bootstrap us
all to something else?
As we invent this, we're still in the fun, pirate, let's-put-on-a-show
stage. I'm savoring it. I went through this at the three "big" networks -
"Hey, we're turning shows around on our desktops! The suits and the unions
don't know what to make of us, but we're the future!" It turned into another version of the hi-tech sweatshop.
Now I'm trying to get a longer view. And if anybody is going to make money on it, we better be prepared to share the wealth. Otherwise it just makes the digital
divide wider. And that divide, by the way, is as close as the next guy on
Anyway, that's the manifesto off the top of my head right now. Feel free
to pass it along.