A Short History Of The InternetI get emails and facebook messages nearly every day from filmmakers and screenwriters who claim that new media is unworthy of their time and attention.

I strongly disagree.
New media, and it’s cousins, social and interactive media are here to stay. It is very relevant for filmmakers to understand the new media world and how it will impact onto their own projects.

Like any phobia, fear is often the result of misunderstanding and ignorance of facts. Let me try and put that straight with a short histoy of new media:

A Short History of New Media

1969: The First Internet

In the height of the Cold War, the internet is born to link university research programmes, The US Department of Defense funded the Advanced Research Project Agency which developed a protocol ARPENet which has become the basis of out internet. Speculation is also rife that the real reson for this new communication system ws to allow for an alternative communications in the event of a nuclear war.

1971: The First Email

Ray Tomlinson, born in 1941 discovers that it is possible to send message by adding the icon “@” to the computer’s hostname and the recipients user name. This earns Tomlinson the credit of inventing email.

1983: The First Cell Phone

Motorola releases the first commercial cell phone with a £3,000 price tag and a one hour talk time.

Lo To No Budget Filmmaking1989: The first Information Management White Paper

Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientest, delivers a Information Manangement white paper. Many think this was the birth of the World Wide Web as we know it today. Berners-Lee also developed the cocept of a browser capable of navigating all the websites on the net.

1989: The First MP3

Karlheinz Brandenburg and a research team in Germany publishes his doctoralthesis: Digital Music Compression resulting in the birth of the MP3

1988/90 The First DSL

New high speed cables operate ten times faster than dialup modems. This allows users to listen to msuic and watch movies online, creating the nightmare scenario of digital piracy.

1990: the First Mobile Phone Web Browser

Mobile phone users are able to log onto the internet using GSM. Connection speed is very slow.

1993: The Great Firewall of China

The Chinese government launches a firewall to block anti-regime content.

1993: The First CD Burner

Several manufacturere introduce CD burners meaning that piracy gets easier.

Filmmakers Foundation Certificate1994/95: The First Web Yellow Pages

David Filo and Jerry Yang work on a catgorization of the exploding number of websites. This directory became Yahoo.

1994: The First Banner Ads Sold

HotWired starts selling banner ads. Their first customers are AT&T and Zima. The firt banners achieve an astounding 30% click rate (the percentage of viewers who click on a banner vs the number of viewers). 2010 rates are closer to 1%.

1995: The First Raindance Film Festival Website

A simple 4 page website is launched making Raindance one of the first commercial websites in the UK.

1997: The First Commercially Available Blank CD’s

Consumer are able to buy blank CDs for the first time.

1998: The First File Sharing Site

College student Shaun Fanning launches Napster. The music industry is now faced with a real crises.

1998: The First Google

A test version of Google.com goes on-line. It is one of the first search engines that combs the net. At the end of the year, Google has registered 25 million websites and accounts for 80% of web searches.

Raindance Film Festival1998: The First Portable MP3 Player

Retailers sell portable MP3 players for the first time.

2000: Google Starts Selling Ads

Google invents keyword advertising, which now account for over 90% of Google’s profits.

2000: The First Dot Com Bust

Internet hype reaches a zenith and bursts, with millions lost by speculators and investors.

2001: The First Wikipedia

Wikipedia is born and now has over 10m articles in over 200 languages.

2001: Apple Launches iTunes

iTunes is launched and shows the music industry how it can profit from downloads.

2001: Blank CD’s Hit Number One

Blank CDs sell 182m, recorded CDs 172m

2001: The first iPod

Jon Rubenstein designs the first iPod which is launched on October 23rd

2003: The first Myspace

Tom Anderson lauches a social networking site that will redefine communications and culture.

2003: The First Voice-over-IP softwarre

Skype launches free telephne calls over the internet.

Write and Sell the Hot Script2004: The First Facebook

Harvard student Tom Zuckerberg develops the social online network ‘Facebook’ for fellow students.

2005: The First Youtube

On February 14, 2005, the co-founders of Youtube.com, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim registere the url.

2005: Murdock Buys MySpace

Price tag for MySpace is $580m

2005: The First Movies Sold on iTunes

Movie finctionality is added to the popular iTunes store.

2005: The first Day/Date Screenings

Raindance Film Festival and sponsors Tiscali launch the first day date screenings of movies playing in cinemas and the internet at the same time.

2006: Online Travel Agents

Travel and tourism shift their core businesses to the internet.

2006: Google buys Youtube

The reported pricetag is $1.5m

Raindance Open House2006: Facebook Goes International

Previously only available in the USA, Facebook accepts students in foreign universities.

2006: Internet and Porn

The porn industry, like the music industry, is reeling from the abundance of free titty movies on sites like Youporn.com. It is estimated that revenues could drop by 50%

2006: The First Tweet

Twitter.com launches. The short 140 character message length means that information can generally be found quicker than in conventional media.

2007:The First Google Book

Google starts scanning books and it’s library soon exceeds 1m titles.

2007: The First iPhone

iPhones and web enabled iPods account for a staggering 60% increase in web traffic

2007: The first Pay What You want Music Album

Radiohead releases In Rainbows themselves and without a traditional music distributor.

2007: Raindance launches Raindance.tv

By 2010, over a million views a month on the distribution partner platforms on Raindance.tv.

2008: The First Internet Political campaign

Barack Obama uses social media to raise more than $150m.

2010: The Pope On Twitter

The Pope has had a Twitter account since 2008, but on January 26, 2010, the Pope encourages the priesthood to use social media to spread the Word.

2011 Wikileaks Unleashes Official Fury

Julia Assange has lessons for filmmakers in what became one of the most publicised litigation suits in the world.

These changes are not evolutionary. They are revolutionary. To survive as a filmmaker in today’s environment you need to develop a strategy.

Did I miss anything? Please add them into the comments box below.

About 

Elliot Grove is the founder of Raindance Film Festival and the British Independent Film Awards. He has produced over 700 hundred short films and also five feature films, including the multi-award-winning The Living and the Dead in 2006, Deadly Virtues in 2013 and AMBER in 2017. He teaches screenwriting and producing in the UK, Europe, Asia and America.

Raindance trailer 2017

Elliot has written three books which have become industry standards: Raindance Writers’ Lab: Write + Sell the Hot Screenplay, now in its second edition, Raindance Producers’ Lab: Lo-To-No Budget Filmmaking and Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice).

In 2009 he was awarded a PhD for services to film education.

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