Everything about television is changing. First the machine –literally the TV in your living room–became a widescreen skinny-pop monitor, then it became a substantial part of the world-wide-web with online content streaming. Now with all the new-wave Vimeo web series, Twitch live streams, and Youtube channels around, it’s hardly even possible to categorize what’s TV and what’s not.
The obvious criticism here is content clutter: there is an insurmountable amount of content created that we end up with too much to watch, and we eventually get lost in the vortex of consumerism with a decreasing attention span and a narrative apathy reducing audiovisual perception into a bland complement for a quick dinner.
That doesn’t sound too good, does it?
The point is: this is an argument about quantity – the numbers.
The counter is: this is surely a form of independent collectivism.
Which makes this your first chance to make your own show!
Abundance and accessibility of cameras is nothing new to the millennial generation. An average smartphone camera today shoots high definition video. As a matter of fact, the new iPhone 7 boasts a 12-megapixel camera with a wide-angle lens at f/1.8 aperture, and a secondary telephoto lens at f/2.8. Without getting too deep into the technicalities, I would certify that this equipment could even take you through art school with only a few more software and hardware additions.
Besides the phone camera, if you have a DSLR lying around somewhere, go for it! People make feature movies and show at festivals using only DSLRs nowadays. Or you could always go for the retro look with a cheap MiniDV camera from eBay, but you will also have to deal with the cassettes, and turn them into digital form if you want to upload it online.
Sound recording could be a little trickier compared to video. Some wise man at some cold corner of internet once said the only distinction between a semi-professional production and America’s funniest home videos is the sound quality. If you’re shooting with your phone, the sound will simply not be on par, if any dialogue is understandable at all. Wind will bog down your microphone if you’re outside, and the room acoustics will bog down everything indoors without a boom mic. You might have to spend some hard-earned cash if you want quality sound in your videos, but this will likely be the majority of –if not the only financial investment you have to make to get started with your own show.
Lastly, you will need to edit your videos before you upload online. The industry standards in terms of software would be along the lines of Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, but as I just said, this is the industry standard – as in the filmmaking industry. This is not only expensive software, but also fairly detailed and difficult to use with a steep learning curve. There are tons of free video editing software around for beginners that are easy to use and cheap and/or free.
Once you’re finished writing, shooting, and editing, there is one last thing to do: upload! YouTube and Vimeo are the most popular video-sharing platforms. Create your own channel, upload your videos, and share them everywhere, all for free. Of course it’s not easy to get Netflix to approve and produce your own show for you, but some of my favorite TV shows have started out as independently created web series on YouTube and Vimeo. If Amy Poehler happens to come across your videos on YouTube on a lazy Sunday afternoon, you might just be the next Broad City on Comedy Central.