The YouTube Syndrome

Today, we are connected with media more than ever. The fact that we all hold a videocamera in our hands several hours a day (through our cellphones if you didn’t catch that) has changed the way we live and share our lives with others. But it is not only that but the fact that we have a platform like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to capture it and share it throughout the world in just seconds.

youtube-logoUs who practice and create performing arts have been benefited from millions of videos and we are able to see what is happening in the arts around the world. But this, has also cursed our world and is putting (from my point of view) a big question mark in the standards of creativity and the process and complexity of production.

Let me elaborate. In my everyday job, as a technical director, one of my tasks is to study the feasibility of a given effect, moment, or scenic image that comes to the mind of a member of the creative team. It is an incredibly common practice these days to pop a youtube video on an iPhone and say: this is what I want. (If your slate is clean throw the first stone) I include myself in practicing this. But many people that come up with this have no idea of what it takes, how much budget was used for a specific effect or how many hours of rehearsal and expertise is involved in those executing these videos. That is just talking about ignorance. There is another issue talking about creative plagiarism. How creative is something when it is based on something someone else did? On the other hand, isn’t everything we do inspired at some point in previous knowledge or appreciation?

Where is the line of right and wrong with this practice. On one side I am totally on-board with the easy access to all this material, it has enriched us as a society, as artists, as practitioners and creators of the performing arts. It has also projected many independent artists, and some of this performances through viral videos have landed many important gigs for its performers and creators.  But it has cheapened the way we appreciate these things and we become more obsessed in being the ones executing it than giving credit to the original performers or ideas.

Have you ever done it? I have. But what is your opinion on the line that we should draw in what we do after we see an amazing video online.

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