In this interest of full disclosure, unlike these 100 or so tweet-happy scientists, we haven’t mastered Twitter yet. Yes, you can follow Flavorpill, and we try to update our feed every few hours or so, but we haven’t gotten to a place where it’s second nature. It’s kind of like that scene in Big where Tom Hanks is playing with the crappy skyscraper toy and keeps telling that scary dude that he just doesn’t get it.
Now that that’s out of the way, you’ll understand why we’re skeptical about this post about how will Twitter affect the future of documentary filmmaking.
A self-proclaimed “active Twitter user” PBS blogger Amanda Hirsch asks doc filmmaker Louis Abelman (Lumo) to envision ways he might use the site as part of his storytelling process. His response:
“Since the only kind of documentary work I’ve been involved in has been vérité style, in which the camera must stay with the subject for a long time, potentially years, in slow and deliberate accumulation of material that will be distilled down, I can see similarities between that process and Twitter. Certainly you can observe a lot about someone by reading the accumulation of in-the-moment information they have left behind in tweets. In that sense, it is similar to vérité. It is, at least to those who use it un-self-consciously, a window into personality. If a documentary subject were a Twitter user, you would definitely want to follow their feed — it would be a gold mine of inside information that could lead to new ideas and possibilities in your film.”
Maybe we’ve been following the wrong people, but thus our experience with Twitter has been a mixed bag of extremely helpful links and insider industry info coupled with personal remarks between users that go over our heads. Thus we can’t imagine the director of The Cove combing through the most famous dolphin trainer in the world’s feed for additional material. OK, not a fair example, but if we’re being honest, the only recent doc where we can imagine Twitter providing a value to the filmmaker is American Teen, a movie that was the polar opposite of vérité.
Are we being creepy Luddites? Are there people out there who have harnessed Twitter as a creative tool? Tell us!