Not users, not generated, not content

I loved this comment from Michael Rosenblum on my response to BBC ONE Controller Peter Fincham’s speech before the Royal Television society, below, reacting to this line of Fincham’s: “User generated content is great but…..” Says Michael:

I think it only fair to point out to our friend at the RTS that Harry Potter was ‘user generated content’, that JK Rowling was not a ‘professional’. In the world of print, which produces some pretty good stuff, EVERYTHING is ‘user generated’. Soon, the same will be true in TV.

: Proving his point, The Times reports today that a talent agency is now scouting online video stars.

  • http://www.elementarychef.com Trudy W. Schuett

    Too bad UTA Online’s website http://www.utaonline.net isn’t live! They do have an e-mail link.

    It’s a good idea tho, for those of us who’ve been writing for the ‘net so long we have a hard time speaking the language (and dealing with the snail’s pace) of traditional agents.

  • http://deleted Mike G

    “Harry Potter was ‘user generated content’,”

    Well, it certainly USES Roald Dahl and Tolkien something fierce…

  • Ben

    Does “user-generated” have to mean “individually generated”? Part of the appeal of television and film, for me at least, is the idea of a collaborative medium, with individual specializations and cooperation among peers. While the production model certainly could use simplification, I would hate to see the Harry Potter movie as shot, directed, and acted by J. K. Rowling.

  • http://deadtreeblog.blogspot.com Jonathan Potts

    I understand what you are saying Ben. On the other hand, last night I once again got sucked into watching the fabulous “Unforgiven”–produced, directed and starring (though not written by) Clint Eastwood. Plenty of other examples abound. (Many directors write their own films, and some even shoot their own films.) And it seems to me there is plenty of money made every year by C-level stars doing their one-man and one-woman shows.

  • http://oodja.blogspot.com Jersey Exile

    Huh?

    J.K. Rowling didn’t have an agent? An editor? A publicist (or several)? Someone to do the layout and cover art?

    Fortune-cookie utterances such as Mr. Rosenblum’s make for great sound bites, but what is he really telling that hasn’t been true since the beginning of time? Until you get that contract, every professional is an amateur.

    But as for his assertion that all books are “user-generated content”, that’s just silly. Even the blockbuster authors know better than to market spew that hasn’t seen the touch of at least one editor’s red pen.

  • http://eclectchap.blogspot.com/ button

    Oddly enough, Mr Fincham may not be very well-informed. The BBC is a very large organization covering a diverse and broad spectrum; but it also covers local matters with local stations and assignments. What you get out of it can depend on how deeply you want to drill into it. As an illustration, recently I drilled into 2 local pages such as the Manchester website page. When you look at a local spot like this you’ll find: Video Nation, Blast and other user-generated content. The BBC has been encouraging local participation and submissions in an evolving situation which seems to represent a developing awareness that at least some of their content is the product of a 2-way street.

  • Mumblix Grumph

    The publishing world, flawed as it may be, acts like a hell of a filter against crap.

    J.K. Rowling had to impress many MANY people before the world got to read about Harry Potter.

    For every Harry Potter book, there are 483 awful fan-fiction novels involving gay Star-Trek plotlines.

    If everyone can be “published” on-line, am I going to have to wade through 500 novels of dreck before I find something good?

    Will there be an “editorial” board that does the leg-work? Can that editorial board be trusted not to be merely a shill for political leanings?

  • http://www.rosenblumtv.com Rosenblum

    Before the invention of the printing press only Monks (professionals) wrote and they only wrote one thing – the Bible. (which had pretty good ratings, quality and market share in 1400 AD). The invention of the printing press opened up the world of writing to anyone and everyone. Did it produce a lot of junk (print youtube)? You bet it did. Did it also unleash quality that the Monks could not even dream of? You bet. Is a free press in any medium messy? It only work if it is.

    The world of print evolved to create filters, agents, newspapers, publishing houses and Amazon.com. The world of video will ultimatley follow suit. If you want to see where video is going to be in a generation, look at the path print has followed. FCP and DVX100 are the printing press of the 21st Century.

  • ronbo

    I think it’s a stretch to claim that all print is “user generated content” except in the tautological sense that everyone who writes, reads.

    On the other hand, I think this is an intriguing point: “The world of print evolved to create filters, agents, newspapers, publishing houses and Amazon.com. The world of video will ultimatley [sic] follow suit.”

    Why doesn’t Gresham’s Law apply to content? Why don’t new media drown in their own crap? I don’t know, but Rosenblum is clearly right about print and I wouldn’t bet against him about video.

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  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    “Before the invention of the printing press only Monks (professionals) wrote and they only wrote one thing – the Bible. (which had pretty good ratings, quality and market share in 1400 AD). The invention of the printing press opened up the world of writing to anyone and everyone.”

    With respect, that’s poppycock. First of all, it ignores the history of writing – the Greeks, Romans, Persians and Chinese all had professional cadres of writers (poets, historians, philosophers, merchantile scribes) that wrote volumes and volumes. Secondly, the invention of the printing press didn’t “open up the world of writing to anyone and everyone” – that was the industrial revolution, which produced a much greater demand for literate, numerate workers.