This question is being tackled this month by students from the Department of Media and Communications and the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, who have joined forces with industry giants Google, YouTube and M&C Saatchi for a two-day 'film hack'.
Sacrificing traditional equipment and time, our MA Filmmaking students used an Android device to put together a film in just two days. Temporarily abandoning the customs and practices that have formed the basis of their studies, the students called upon every ounce of creativity and nous under the watchful eyes of our industry partners.
All films were shot in London 'Dogme-style' using the same basic set of equipment; camera phones, zoomboxes, and Final Cut Pro. The broad theme for the films was 'How people connect' and each team was assigned a genre and prescribed start entirely at random.
If the mobile phone represents the future of filmmaking, then video sharing sites could be the future of film distribution. The films have now been uploaded to YouTube (take a look at the films here), with the teams' energies now focused on promotion. The best film - judged by a panel of experts - will win £1,000 for the team and the video with the most hits after a fortnight will win a further £1,000.
Like any film distributor, Filmhack participants will need to think about their target audience and make sure that their video chimes. As Malcolm Gladwell famously points out in his book Blink, "There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis," and this is the ethos we encouraged our students to hold while creating their films. Forget the three-minute blockbuster trailer, YouTube videos now need to make an immediate impact with users having the option to stop or continue watching after five seconds.
There's no doubt that our students have learned an incredible amount in those 48 hours from working with each other and, crucially, with partners from industry. But knowledge sharing is rarely a one-way street, and our partners tell us that they glean as much from these collaborations as our students do. Indeed Lisa Thomas, CEO of M&C Saatchi told me the project promises a 'powerful blend' of expertise, greatly enhanced by the 'fresh and talented film-makers of the future from Goldsmiths'.
The most successful teams at Filmhack will be those who work well together and, under immense pressure, produce compelling content that connects with a demanding digital viewer. Winning over an audience is not a new challenge for film-makers but creating, casting, directing, shooting, editing, producing, distributing and marketing in the space of 48 hours certainly is.
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