CinemaTech
[ Digital cinema, democratization, and other trends remaking the movies ]

AD: Fans, Friends & Followers

Friday, February 13, 2009

What's the Right Word for Those People Formerly Known as the Audience?

I'm down in DC today for the excellent 'Making Your Media Matter' conference... and I will try to post some audio later today from a panel that just took place about outreach, marketing, and audience-building.

Afterward, I wound up talking with some of the conference participants about terminology.

Media-makers today live in a world where the people formerly known as the audience can do so much more, and contribute in so many new ways...

They may help finance your film.

They may help contribute research to a documentary...or suggest people for you to interview.

They may help scout locations for a narrative feature.

They may submit footage or edit sequences that wind up in the finished film.

They may post comments on your blog, or video responses to your YouTube channel.

They may submit a song that winds up being part of the soundtrack.

They may help you organize house parties where the film is shown, or help you find bigger venues in which to show your film (theatres, churches, libraries, etc.)

They may help you spread the word once the film is available on DVD or as a digital download.

They may review it on Netflix, Amazon, or their own blog after they've seen the DVD.

So...

Is the term "audience" outmoded?

The audience used to be a cinema full of passive, hopefully appreciative, consumers of your work.

Obviously, a big chunk of people who see your film will still be passive -- they watch it in a theater, on a TV, on an iPod, and do nothing else.

But some percentage will be much more active and engaged.

Are they patrons? Collaborators? Your community? Your supporters?

Co-conspirators? Team members? Partners? Associates?

I'm asking: what term feels right for you?

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