This is a guest post by Craig Love - just quietly Craig did rather well for himself at the Cannes ad awards held in Cannes, France recently. He's based in Hong kong. He shares some sound thinking about technology, novelty and those wah-wah-wonderful folks who want you to believe technology is the answer. (What was the question?)
Some years ago, I watched some episodes of series on the history of Hollywood films. One episode was about the arrival of sound, and it included a fascinating interview that I think applies directly to the state of advertising today.
Hollywood had spent years learning how to make good silent movies, then new technology arrived, and for a while, they forgot everything they had learned, not just about making good silent movies, but about making good movies at all.
They interviewed an old film-maker who had been around at the time. He explained that when sound arrived, nobody really understood it, but you had to have it.
Consequently, for a brief but unhappy period, the most important person on set was not the director, or the star, or the producer, or the cinematographer or the art director, but the sound man.
If these guys, who mostly had no background in film-making, wanted to they could effectively direct the movie from the back. And some did.
Armed with microphone and BS, the sound guy could declare, 'No that doesn't work for sound. Have the stars walk over here and say it this way. Otherwise you'll have a bad case of the wah-wahs.'
The result was a lot of really, really bad movies. Bad movies with sound, but bad movies nonetheless.
It took some years for the industry to learn that sound, important though it is, should enhance rather than over-rule the arts of storytelling, emotion, cinematography, acting, and directing which the industry had built itself on.
Today, instead of 'sound-men' directing from the back (and none of this btw is meant as any slight on the skilled professionals working in film sound today), advertising has a host of 'digital / social / data / IT' experts who know fuck all about advertising but are calling the shots from the back.
The result is a lot of really bad advertising.
It will eventually pass, but for now, I would say that today, advertising has a bad case of the wah-wahs.
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