Monday, August 12, 2013

Opinion: Instant Media = Instant Impatience


When you refresh the news feed on Facebook, you get new posts. When you check out reddit, you see new images on every page. When you tweet, it gets picked up in a handful of moments. VIP tickets sell out for Celebration Anaheim inside of six minutes, rumors fly across the internet about Jaden Smith’s casting before you can say “Poodoo!”. 

The twenty-first century is a wondrous time for technology. We now live in an age where “social media” has been transformed into “instant media”. This has been a benefit to humanity in many ways. Information on the Boston Bombing was at a feverish level. Presidential election results were tweeted across the planet. Websites advertise that you can get fantasy football scores in real time. In 2010, more Americans got their news from the Internet than from print, illustrating not only the grip technology has on us, but the demand for instant news. 

But all is not well in Star Wars Land, thanks in part to instant media. 

At D23, Disney’s convention held every other year in Anaheim, Disney Chairman Alan Horn was booed by the crowd when he dished out very little about Episode VII and said, “I really wish I could tell you more.”
This came a full twenty-four hours after Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, had already said the company would be “somewhat speechless” when it came to Star Wars news. That’s right, he had come out and said not to expect anything. 

Twitter exploded with such wonderful nuggets as: “WHERE’S THE INFO, DISNEY?” and “Why isn’t JJ on stage right now? So lame.” My particular favorite was a tweet that said: “Disney proves they understand the modern Star Wars fan by disappointing them and taking their money.” 

This coming with JJ Abrams only being on the job a whopping six months. In filmmaking time, six months is barely enough time to assemble a writing team and start storyboarding. The problem is that work takes time, and quality work takes even more time. 

Internet users and fanboys in general are at odds with themselves and they don’t even know it. The Dark Side of the Internet tells us that we deserve information right now. Give us a title, casting info, a picture of a set, anything to appease the masses at the Anaheim Coliseum. But the Light Side calms us by telling the mob that anything worth doing is worth doing well. 

Worse still, there is the knowledge (almost a certainty) that anything Disney reveals will be not only devoured by instant media, but shredded by it as well. Fanboys across the internet would dissect any image for every scrap of information, which would fuel rampant speculation, and eventual outrage at the possibilities that come with every rumor. 

Don’t believe me? When it was rumored that Ian McDiarmid might have a role, the internet exploded. People condemned it as “borrowing” from the previous movies. It was widely slammed as being nonsensical or laughed off as yet another hoax. How about the sheer horror people feel when Hasbro announces their next line of collectible action figures? Could you imagine the outcry if the title had been revealed? Or an actor announced? 

We don’t want this rushed. Sure, our hearts race when we see “Orange Harvest” crates, but honestly, we want this movie done well, not done fast. Would it be great to be a fly on the wall at Skywalker Ranch? You bet your asteroids. But Yoda and Obi-Wan were right, we must have patience.

“This movie, a long time have we waited. All our lives have we looked away, to the future, to the next announcement. Never our mind on what we have, hmm? What we appreciate! A title, heh! A plot reveal, heh! Fanboys should crave not these things.”


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