Kat Cizek and the People Formerly Known as the Audience

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It used to be that if you wanted to watch a movie, you bought a ticket, went to the theatre, and waited for the lights to go down and the picture to come up. The audience would hush, and then in the dark cinema, the story would begin.

But with the rise of the Internet – specifically the social web, where people share their own movies about everything from a baby’s first trip to the dentist, to remixes of popular dance moves, to harrowing footage from natural disasters – the dynamic of who is telling stories, and who is watching, is rapidly changing.

According to Youtube, 72 hours of video are uploaded every minute, the equivalent of three full days of watching. Some of those video creators are aspiring filmmakers, some are hobbyists, some are just using the platform as a (very public) daily diary.

All of them are the people formerly known as the audience. Gone are the days of the passive viewer; Now everyone has something to say.

katcizekSo what does it mean for the filmmaker, the journalist, or the documentarian, when almost everyone – anywhere – has the ability to record, upload, and share content? It means that the stories we tell change, as to the ways we tell them. Director Kat Cizek, whose web-documentary Highrise incorporates stories from around the globe and a range of user generated content, thinks that all people are inherently storytellers.

Cizek says,The human capacity for storytelling is huge, and that is part of our DNA. As complex as DNA is, that’s how complex our capacity for storytelling is, but in different ways.

Check out Kat’s interview with rdigitaLIFE, to hear more about her thoughts on transmedia, the evolving way we tell stories, and “the people formerly known as the audience.”


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