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1 4 9 HOLLYWOOD REMIXED Movie Trailer Mashups, Five-Second Movies, and Film Culture 6 While film blogs offered film audiences a significant way to connect with each other across geographical distances, the popularization of video sharing via YouTube, beginning in late 2005, offered a new means for film fans to connect with each other and to reflect on the practices associated with film culture. Like film blogs, video sharing allowed audiences to discuss and debate their favorite films and television series with the added benefit of being able to upload, edit, and share video with unprecedented ease. At the same time, web video also provided a means of reinforcing the cultures of anticipation associated with the promotion of Hollywood films, essentially turning fans into laborers in the production of value for popular movies. While there were a number of other video sharing sites that appeared much earlier, the narrative framing of YouTube led to its widespread adoption as the primary site where video sharing takes place and as a symbol of the cultural and industrial shifts that were taking place within film exhibition and production contexts. In fact, any understanding of YouTube must recognize the crucial role of the social sphere in determining the dissemination and use of new technologies, as Brian Winston has observed.1 In this sense, the sudden popularity and widespread promotion of web video as a cultural form reactivates many of the utopian claims made on behalf of digital cinema. Like film blogs, YouTube promised the enticing possibility of greater participation to users who were told to “Broadcast Yourself.” The result was a vast proliferation of videos 1 5 0 R E I N V E N T I N G C I N E M A that were posted to the site, with 65,000 videos uploaded to YouTube alone every day. Similarly, the promoters of YouTube sought to connect this access to participation with wider narratives of community and diversity, emphasizing an image of inclusiveness and diversity. This image is one that is often expressed via videos that seek to link people from across the globe through associative editing techniques, suggesting a world community of people with shared interests and values. However, while this image of community became a crucial means by which YouTube was promoted, other features of the site—namely, the anonymity that allowed other users to leave intentionally offensive comments—led to these attempts at community often being undercut. Finally, YouTube’s organization also potentially had the effect of privileging certain kinds of videos at the expense of others, in particular its use of ratings to reward the videos that received the most views and highest ratings. These popularity ratings not only feed a rhetoric of discovery that might stoke relatively traditional fantasies of stardom; it also potentially shaped the kinds of content that users would submit to the site. In this sense, YouTube’s populist promise to revolutionize entertainment was constrained by these conscious and unconscious attempts to shape the site’s content.2 Many of these new possibilities came together around the unplanned release of Robert Ryang’s fake trailer mashup “Shining” in October 2005. Remixing footage from Stanley Kubrick’s horror film The Shining (1980) into what appeared to be a family comedy, the mashup quickly went viral as a number of bloggers linked to it soon after it was posted on the web. While most of these links offered little commentary, they brought millions of viewers to Ryang’s video, which was eventually posted on dozens of humor sites such as College Humor, in addition to being distributed across multiple video sharing sites. Even though “Shining” was hardly the first remixed trailer, much less the first to appear on the web, the uncanny disjunction between Kubrick’s horror film and Ryang’s remix enabled the video to find an audience very quickly while spawning a number of imitations and video responses, as others experimented with the fake trailer format. The video crystallized, for a number of observers, a shift in the relationship between fans and filmmakers, between producers and consumers. As a result, a number of observers were led to argue that the consumers were becoming empowered, often at the expense of the movie studios. And while the entertainment industry has embraced movie and TV remixes when they are beneficial, these videos also represent a subtle means for video creators to talk back to the industry. By looking at fake trailers, I...


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