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Netflix to make Original Programming

affiliate linkThe folk at Netflix decided that is a good idea for them to make their own content by signing House of Cards to an amazing 2 season deal (check out Deadline for more).

I'm not sure this is a good idea.  YouTube and Hulu have done the same type of thing lately, and it all just makes me sigh.

Content platforms should be Platforms, not producers.  There is an inherent conflict of interest when your business is about both, making content and distributing it.  They will naturally push their original content more than the content of others...

I would love to see them take the idea of being a platform to the next stage instead.  Provide tools for independent producers to submit their content easily, and curate that content, to keep the quality of your offering up to your standards.

Am I making to much out of this?  Let me know what you think.

Myth Makers

All well written Speculative Fiction tales are a part of the fabric of the new mythology.  This is true whether the author meant it or not.  Every story we see/hear/watch is unconsciously compared to the stories we live by.  If the new story aligns with, adds to, alters, or changes that story, it has become a part of an individual's personal mythology.  Simply calling something myth or mythos does not make it so.  Only when that alchemy occurs and the story is adopted by others does the story become myth.

Pure Mythology

While that may sound pretentious or mystifying, it is, in fact, a plain statement of fact:  Pure mythology...

  • is fiction that gives the reader/viewer a true experience of being alive.
  • is drawn from the archetypal well of dream that invests meaning into the text.
  • is written in such a way that it connects with the reader to impart clues to understanding profound mysteries.

Any writer who truly engages their imagination in the creation of their work does all three of these things, often without conscious thought or action to do so.

When a writer or artist is set free of commercial and popular demands, and allowed to penetrate and explore their own creative vision, the result can be pure unencumbered art.  The more corporate the art of writing becomes, the less interesting, and true the result.

Many fans are tired of the homogenized work that is becoming more and more common in the industry.  We do not need another company driven by profit margins, or another author whose self-important propaganda obscures the art.  We need writers and artists that love what they are doing.  That is why we are here.  We are looking for something better.

Return of the Cultural Cycle

mythos Project: Shadow Manifesto As we discussed in the Project: Shadow Manifesto, In the era before copyright, "stories, heroes, melodies, and lyrics belonged to the people.  Stories were told, and retold.  Numerous visions of each story competed against each other.  The best were remembered, collected, retold, embellished, and built upon.  The rest were forgotten."

Stories used to have to fight for the attention and memory of  the populous.  Now they fight for the attention of an editor or producer who is often more interested in making a quick buck than telling a great story.  But things are changing!

The advent of the internet and the various methods of print on demand have opened up the floodgates for anyone to publish a story, movie, or song that wants too.  We are returning to the old survival of the fittest model but with one major difference.  We lack the common space for this free exchange of stories to take place.

Only a small fraction of YouTube's traffic searches for the video they watch.  Most rely on others.  And when it comes to text or audio, where do you go to find what you are looking for.  The chance of discovery has increased, but so have the odds against being able to find something new.

For the vital role of the Cultural Cycle to return, we have to discover new and better ways to enable discovery of the new stories.

Copyright, not the only problem

Each generation must retell the tales of the preceding generations in their own context to keep them relevant.  This cycle has been broken by copyright, but this is not the only problem facing us.

  • We are not teaching writers to create lasting works.
  • We have not made it easy to find these works.
  • We have not made it easy to share these works.
  • We have yet to find a way for these to writers to easily make a living from their work without repeating the problems of the past.

And there is one last problem, and its a big one:

Marketing Mythos

The word “Myth” has become a marketing term.

It has gotten so bad that people have started rebelling against the very notion of myth making, assuming it is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

We have to fight this trend and realize that myths are just the stories that give our live a sense of meaning and purpose.  Without them, life is dreary hollow place.  To quote the Manifesto again:

We need writers and artists that love what they are doing.

We need fans who are not afraid to speak their minds.

We need places in our towns/cities and online where we can meet and share the few gems that we find from the industry and from the independent artist, writers, and filmmakers who are still following their bliss rather than the dollar.

Now we need to look at what a myth really is, and how we can spread them easily.

Boxee and the Digital Future

boxee The new build of Boxee is out, and I got a chance to play with it today.  The new build offers a lot of new features:

  • Netflix, for the Mac version only.
  • a new Hulu – looks more like hulu.com, enables you to login (so you can get your Hulu Queue), works faster, and playback should be greatly improved on Apple TV
  • a new YouTube – new look, as well as higher quality video playback. some of these YouTube clips look pretty good on your 46” LCD
  • a new CNN, Flickr, Picasa and Apple Movie Trailers – we’ve re-written all of these plug-ins to work faster and look better
  • Boston Globe’s The Big Picture – it’s a great photo-blog, which we really like, and thought could be pretty cool in a 10-foot experience. if you’ll like it we could bring much more of these type of services (let us know!)
  • integration with MTV Music – when you click on an album you’ll see a new option to let you watch music videos of the artist. check it out. MTV said they can give us higher quality videos, and we have a few more ideas for providing a great music video experience on boxee
  • theWB – on our quest to bring more TV content to boxee theWB is the latest addition. it means shows like Buffy, Babylon5, Firefly, One Tree Hill and The O.C. are now available on boxee

First Impressions

Well, I have to give it mixed reviews.  I love that Boxee is trying to bring together all of the online streaming options into one place.  I installed it on my AppleTV, and I have to say, I am a fan.  These are features that should exist natively on the AppleTV and they turned a something I loved into a device that I am now fanatical about.

There are a couple problems.

Netflix does not work on the AppleTV

I am not sure if this is because of the AppleTV’s processor or the fact that Netflix streaming service relies on Silver Light and a heavy dose of DRM.

This is not a deal breaker, and the folks at Boxee are committed to trying to make it work.  If they can make it work, then the AppleTV will become the best media center I could imagine.

The new Hulu Interface.

While I like the look of the new Hulu interface, I don’t find it as intuitive as the old one.  It could just be that not used to it, but I didn’t find it as easy to use as the old one.  My biggest complaint, is that after I watched a show, I had to drill back down through the show menu to pick a new show.  If there is a “back” botton, I didn’t see it.

All and All

I would have to say it is an improvement, and it shows what Boxee will eventually be able to do.