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Bill Murray Lost in Translation

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In Time Movie

Early this year, Nathan Harden wrote about a bubble on the verge of bursting, saying that “Big changes are coming, and old attitudes and business models are set to collapse as new ones rise. Few who will be affected by the changes ahead are aware of what’s coming.” He was writing about higher education and the migration of university curriculum’s to the web, but he could have just as easily been talking about the film industry and our relationship to it as viewers. The parallels — particularly the emerging dominance of schools releasing lecture content through online networks — are apt. Minus the “free” part, of course. We all know about Steven Spielberg’s prescient-sounding condemnation of the top-heavy studio structure, and it’s easy to imagine as we watch the landscape of studio offerings roll by with their capes in hand that a fundamental shift in focus has already happened, but Harden’s piece got me thinking not of the content being created, but the structure of the movie’s themselves. Specifically, the 2-hour average hero’s journey that represents the most-typical formula. Approximately a billion thinkpieces have been written on the internet’s encroachment into the stale-as-popcorn atmosphere of the movie theater, and they all come to the conclusion that something big is going to happen. My question is whether movies will be able to survive in their current form when that paradigm shift happens. My guess is that we’ll have to greatly expand what we think of when we think of “movies.”

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