The time of the passive consumer has now passed as the Internet and communities online have become ever so present in our lives. What was once media that one was to use the sense of sight, such as television, newspapers and magazines, nowadays the consumer actively engages with the media produced and as a result the individual can become the producer and the amateur. This presents new challenges to the amateur producer in screen media as their role is no longer as straight forward as before. While they create content that others can consume it differs still from the professional’s content and difficulties arise in terms of copyright, payment and ownership.
Youtube is a perfect example of a screen media platform for amateurs around the globe. It is a place where amateur videographers, musicians and comedians go to share their content with others with common interests to view. It is also a place of active participation for fans who want to create fan related videos, engaging with the content that they love in their own unique style. The internet gives way for fans of cinema to become cinephiles through the amount of information available to them through sites such as IMDb and Reddit. These cinephiles actively create content on Youtube for other cinema lovers to experience in terms of reviews, mashups and fan made trailers; one such trailer being the fan-made ‘Blade Runner 2049’ trailer showing a compilation of clips from official trailers but also clips of the actors in previous films, giving fans a larger feel of the film and those participating in it.
While the amateur in this day and age can easily access tools and information to aid the production of their content the trouble and challenge arises when one is looking to break the barrier from amateur to professional. This is certainly relevant to amateur filmmakers and musicians who turn to Youtube as a place where they can share their content free of charge and create an audience. Many filmmakers in particular resort to Vimeo to share their films, but channels such as ‘Future Shorts’ who not only show short films weekly by various filmmakers, but also acts as a pop-up festival around the globe. Many channels such as this aim to help amateur films become more widely accepted and well known as a reaction to the challenge faced by amateur filmmakers.
However, amateurs that started on Youtube have been able to break the barrier between the amateur and the professional. A culture surrounding the Youtuber has been growing larger and larger each year as these producers of content began to be paid for their videos by Youtube for advertisements played at the beginning of videos as well as product placement. With the ability to make a living from their videos Youtubers such as Casey Neistat, a vlogger and filmmaker, they can update equipment and software resulting in professional looking content.
Even Youtubers such as Dan Howell and Phil Lester have created communities and fans who in turn create content such as fan art and fanfiction surrounding the two personalities and so the transition from amateur to professional is completed. They appear in physical media such as teenage magazines ‘Shout’ and ‘Oh My Vlog’ which only emphasises their popularity and celebrity status. Yet, the overwhelming amount of content available on Youtube and sites like it means that very few are able to break out from the status of the amateur. While, certainly, amateur content is more readily accepted than before it difficult for creators struggling to find a unique style.
‘Blade Runner 2049 [Fan-Made] Trailer’. Youtube, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnVCRSvudtM
Tehran, Kaveh. Victor | Future Shorts. Youtube, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-5tl56kSpQ