Networked empowerment : the internet as medium for environmental filmmaking
Shoemaker, Jennifer Anne.
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Whether the Internet represents a true revolution in human communication or is merely a much-hyped relative to existing media is the subject of much debate. However, regardless of whether the Internet represents revolution or just evolution, it does provide a unique and unprecedented opportunity for environmental filmmakers to engage viewers in a thoughtful dialogue about how to improve the quality of our natural environment and the health of its inhabitants. This thesis examines how the Internet's capacity for nonmarket individual production and peer collaboration provides the basis for a new Internet film aesthetic that filmmakers can use to share stories of environmental crisis and hope. Specifically, the essay explores three storytelling techniques that work well within the medium of the Internet - the use of personal voice, the encouragement of community participation, and an embrace of a nonlinear structure. The thesis concludes by arguing that, rather than abandoning traditional, market-based media and relying exclusively on the Internet, environmental filmmakers have the most potential to affect change by creating films that can be adapted to work in a variety of media. The Internet may not be a revolution in itself, but it can be used as a tool for environmental filmmakers who seek to revolutionize our society's views about the environment and our place within it.