Twitter has a huge impact on how we express ourselves. Never mind the critics that accuse Twitterers of being shallow, narcissistic and obsessed with their food. Twitter is all about sharing the small moments that compose our lives, and Frank Kelly is trying to do a film with those shards of existence.
Kelly is an independent filmmaker from Ireland, with two shorts in his resume. His latest project is built around Twitter: he’s asking 140 volunteers to shoot footage at the same time, showing what they’re doing at that precise moment. And how is he putting it all together? Via Twitter.
I like the expedient nature of the website and how information, through concise messaging, can be communicated immediately to mass groups. It inspired the theme of connection. From there I began to build the structure around the idea taking the number 140 as a cue.
There have been many critics of the site, calling it a waste of time. I wanted to see if I could use it as a tool rather than a distraction and see if I could use it to unite people to create something valuable and tangible, a piece of art.”
The level of synchronicity and sharing in web communications has risen tremendously. Mindcasting and lifestreaming are concepts becoming more and more common everyday for users. I asked him where is this taking us. He said he wants to take us outside.
I’m not sure. For me I want to take 140 further, I want it to become more than just a film but a life experience, so everyone involved can take it back into the community and use the experience to connect with other filmmakers, their environment and people around them.
But he has some concerns.
I worry that people will get swallowed up by their online existence, that’s why the essence of this project is to get back outside and experience and think about life, real life, and our connection to it, to our planet and each other. It’s not an environmental piece; it’s a piece about remembering who we are. I hope that’s what the internet will do, not to serve as a distraction from life but to be a tool to enhance life.
Bigger, not smaller
Frank Kelly has been taking some advantages of social networking on the web, though he says it has no impact on a personal level. But professionally, it’s been rewarding.
As an independent filmmaker who has no funding and is still trying to break into the film industry, the internet is an essential tool to continue to create work and connect with like minded people. It has allowed me to create a channel for my creativity.
It has helped me greatly and indeed influenced me in a direction I never imagine I would go, or ever be able to go in – the idea that I could coordinate 140 filmmakers worldwide so quickly, and then synchronise them to film together would have been impossible for me to do 10 years ago.
And they come from all over the world. By the time Frank answered to my questions he was just a few volunteers short of the required 140. I asked him if he felt the world was getting smaller, and if a smaller world means a better world.
I don’t think the world is ‘getting smaller’, I think it’s bigger, there are more opportunities to travel, to connect, to see and do things we couldn’t have generations ago. When my parents were kids international travel was for the rich. Not now, anyone can go anywhere for very little. It has opened to world up to all of use, whereas before our world was smaller, it was our hometown, now it’s anywhere we want to be.
In his point of view, it doesn’t really matter where his filmmakers come from.
As humans we’re the same, we share experiences – we all feel pain and love and sadness etc. We want the same things: happiness, care, love, food, clothes and the same for our children, that has never changed and never will. We share those universal similarities. And technology, or the fact that we can communicate so quickly now, won’t change that.
Perhaps the fear is that as we become more connected we become more the same and begin to lose our culture, our identity. I don’t think that’s going to happen and I don’t see that being able to share our individuality is a bad thing either. The internet has allowed us to experience more, share more, see more, be aware of more and celebrate our diversity. I think it has taken down many barriers that distance, geography, race, religion and culture have put up. It has allowed us to educate ourselves and understand more about our neighbours.
And he sums it up pretty neatly:
At the end of the day we’re all human, we need to be connected and we need to share our existence on this planet.
The 140 filmmakers will be connected and sharing next June 21st at 8pm GMT.
Frank Kelly can be found at www.frankkelly.blogspot.com about his work as a filmmaker, frankasides.blogspot.com about other work and thoughts and eyethroughalens.blogspot.com as a photographer. He also has a podcast on iTunes via his company www.palestoneproductions.com. And, of course, he’s on Twitter.