Sunday, November 30, 2014

Visual vs Textual Means of Communication and Entertainment

      Books and other written works have been around for ages and ages. Books that are thousands of years old are still read today, books that are over fifty to one hundred years old are made out be classics and held in high esteem. These forms of written communication, entertainment, and storytelling are almost timeless. Written works are not the only form of storytelling and entertainment, in the present, or in the past. Another form of the art of portraying a story is through plays and through acting. Plays have been around also for extensive amounts of history. Some of the plays that were created long ago, such as Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet have been around, performed as they were written, for centuries. Books and plays have been around, in generally the wording and way they were created through the ages. What makes these forms of storytelling so resistant to time? Before we answer that question directly, we need to look at some of the ways we now have to tell stories.
     In the Twenty-First century, and even way back through the Twentieth century, other mediums of storytelling were invented. The biggest and most prevalent creation was the pre-recorded visual depiction of a story which could be shot at different times and molded together. That creation came to be known as the movie. The popularity of the movie grew and grew into the incredible entertainment industry of today, that rakes in vast amounts of money. Movies are a great way to visually represent a story that would otherwise be made into a book or a play. New movies are being created all the time to continue the industry making money and also to keep viewers interested. If new movies are not made, people quickly become bored with movies as the movies become older. A movie as a story is good to be told once, or for one generation, and then for the most part aren't of use any more. "That's not true", one might say, "Movies like Snow White, King Kong, and West Side Story were made as movies long ago and are still watched today." That brings up a strong point, but the problem with that line of thinking is that the original creation, the movie that was first made about the story has become obsolete. Movies are only good for a small chunk of time until they become useless and have to be given up or remade to still hold interest. What is the difference between movies and books/plays? Why does one stand the test of time and the other fade away after a few years? 
      Movies, books, and plays are all forms of telling a story to an audience. The same story could be told from all three of the different perspectives, but last better as a book or play than as a movie. The difference that creates this inability of a movie to last through the years is technology. The one thing that makes a movie so great is also the aspect that causes the demise of the product. The general trend with technology is extremely simple to follow and easy to understand. A new invention or update comes out and is able to be purchased or acquired, the product (movie, game, software, even hardware) is highly bought for a few years, a new movie, a new computer, or updated software comes out, and the old version is obsolete and almost worthless. Technology works in that vicious cycle of being the newest, best, and most sought out tech for a few years and then becomes completely worthless just down the road. Through looking at how movies are bought and watched, it is easy to tell that the bane of technology versus time transfers into the realm of communication and entertainment. Movies as communication are not able to last well, because they are a form of technology. Books and plays on the other hand, can last for an extremely long time due to the fact that they are not based upon technology or the new version. Technology has served to help destroy our communication and ability to story-tell well.

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