Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Young people these days
Just finished watching The Outlook for Someday, an awesome example of Generation C in action, with some old media help.
The competition gave young filmmakers a chance to get their view across on sustainability, and - this is the genius part - present their film personally to a famous person of their choice.
Watching this, I quickly realised I am getting old. Not because the young filmmakers looked young, but because their messaging seemed so unsubtle.
Most of the videos were full of words. Numbers, facts and direct challenges that absolutely failed to move me. They did, however, make me feel vaguely uneasy, which is what a lot of green messaging unwittingly does.
The best ones told a story. As Steve Denning proved to me (by telling a story) numbers, statistics, directives, boxes and arrows don't create change, but stories do. Why? Because when we hear a story, we can't help but put ourselves into that story and ask "what would I do?" Admittedly my favourite films didn't get into that level of detail, but they did get into the emotional territory that helps move us towards feeling inspired enough to take action.
I've got to take a step back and give kudos to one of the films that took more of a journalistic approach. Instead of just stating bare facts, Ally Palmer talked to a whole bunch of key players, including "the bad guys", Genesis Energy. I thought that was a step in the right direction - getting all the viewpoints on the table so we can make an informed decision.
Coming back to my main point, if stories change things, why aren't our young people telling stories? The obvious answer is, it takes time and life experience to get stories that feel real. But there's something else. This generation is faced with problems more potentially disempowering than any generation before. This is bigger than the depression, bigger than world war II, and slightly bigger than the threat of nuclear holocaust. Global warming has the potential to suck your spirit dry of hope and resources. Or it can energise you. So, nitpicking about storytelling style aside, it was awesome to see and feel the energy, drive and passion of these young filmmakers, expressing themselves authentically.
Big ups to Ilai, who did most of the documentary camera work and worked some really, really long hours on the project!