Are you there Netflix? It’s me, the viewer.

Netflix has gone on an impressive and rapid journey from what used to be a video rental site. With a content library valued over $11 billion, it’s hard to imagine they only entered the original content game in 2013 (albeit with a huge bang with House of Cards).

What a golden time that was – not only were we as the public spoiled for choice in terms of quality TV – we were changing the way of content consumption, and the streaming services had our backs. The audience had the power. We could watch what we wanted, when we wanted, without having to pay for a hundred throw away channels to accompany. And for that, who did we have to thank? Netflix!

But the dream seems to be coming to an end. Gone is the star rating system that let you personalise your viewing library which then translated to a percentage indicating how much you might like something. While the five-star system is not the most complex, surely the team at Netflix can’t think that a binary thumbs up or thumbs down can possibly give them any indication of what you like as a viewer with any accuracy or intricacy?

Despite this, Netflix uses their algorithm to decide what new content they make and it really shows. In the last year and a half, I no longer see that Netflix Original stamp to signify quality because now there’s a 50/50 chance that what I click on will be a dud. And at the rate Netflix keeps churning out original content, that is a lot of duds stacking up.If something’s in the zeitgeist, you can bet there will be several iterations of it to pop up silently and pushed out to you when you next log in to your Netflix account. Whether or not I’ve given something a thumbs down, or if I’ve never watched an erotic thriller or murder documentary before in my Netflix history, those Netflix originals will stay glued to the top of my page.

My real issue isn’t that they are killing my viewing vibe. It’s that they are killing diversity, discovery, and the nuance of the human brain. If you consider Spotify, they are constantly helping users to discover new artists, new songs, based on your increasingly complex listening habits. Their Discover capability isn’t by any means perfect, but it is wonderfully human, it tosses in the occasional repeat artist, doesn’t hold favour with any particular label, and aims to expand your horizons beyond what you already know. Netflix, on the other hand, makes browsing frustratingly difficult, suggests shows and films to you not as an individual but as a general demographic group, and takes advantage of the fact that they have instilled a new viewing behaviour in the majority of us.

So my question to you, Netflix, do we even matter as an audience? Shouldn’t you try to woo us, not rely on the fact that you’ve trapped us in and that we’re just  mindless robots bent on bingeing that we’ll just resort to watching whatever crop autoplays next? But I suppose that’s the price we’re meant to pay for an ad-free oasis.

 

 

What We’re Watching: Dunkirk

This week it’s more ‘What We’ve all Watched’ than ‘What We’re Watching’.  Unsurprisingly, many of our movie savvy team have seen Nolan’s latest epic, Dunkirk. Here are everyone’s two cents on what looks to be a modern classic.

Trailer

 

Team Seenit

Kirsty  “I normally hate/avoid war films and went to this one somewhat unwillingly. However, it was actually ok. Showed the horror of the situation without being unnecessarily violent and it built up characters you cared about. I thought it was quite powerful the way it showed the same scene from different points of view. Overall, it reinforced for me how lucky I am to be born in an era of peace where we get on with our neighbours and that war should be avoided at all costs.”

Nick R  “A bleak look at what it means to be stuck on a beach without a good book”

Allison “Expected nothing less from Christopher Nolan. A beautiful cinematic experience, both visual and audio. The cinematography was so on point. I’m amazed at how they managed to make such beautiful, rich scenes from something so ugly. My only complaint was that I wish all of the actors had been unknowns. Also kind of wish the last 20 minutes or so hadn’t happened. I would have been happy if it had ended without the optimistic resolution.”

Dave  “I’ve put money on Dunkirk for best sound Oscar

Will  “Hectic. A reminder why you don’t holiday in northern France in May.”

Robbie  “It might have been Tom Hardy…..”

Jordon  “Loud noises”

 

A Real Review

If our opinions didn’t satisfy, check this interview with Nolan where he discusses the interesting use of time across all his films.

 

This post is done… kirk (lols)

Playlist of Guides to Story Writing and Telling ✍️ 🗣

In some cases, storytelling – at least in a movie – has two prominent outcomes. You could leave your audience breathlessly at the edge of their seat at every scene, by establishing a compelling narrative and setting up a transition of emotional values; there is also the potential of leaving your audience more interested and astonished at the perfect ratio between sweet and salty popcorn in their mixed large at the cinema.

Stay engaged as we highlight useful sources that explain the do’s of story writing and some anecdotal pieces that put this into practice!

 

How to Evoke Emotion by Lessons from the Screenplay

YouTube

In this video, Lessons from the Screenplay opens, “It would be easy to think that a complex story like Game of Thrones is told in a complex way, but in truth, it’s exactly the opposite.” Become educated on the fundamentals of storytelling with this instructive piece and understand how to keep a 23-minute action scene – with limited dialogue – exciting.

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What We’re Watching: Midnight Diner and The Story of O.J.

Each week, we’re asking the team what they’ve watched recently that really stood out to them. Here are this week’s selections:

LEEROY’S PICK: Midnight Diner (2014)

“It’s a really lovely story about how different people’s lives intertwined with each other.”

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What We’re Watching: The LGBTQAlphabet, Preacher, and Baby Driver

Each week, we’re asking the team what they’ve watched recently that really stood out to them. Here are this week’s selections:

MARA’S PICK: The LGBTQAlphabet

“It’s beautiful because it’s really inclusive and really strong. I love the end: ‘I have a huge number of people behind me and they all look f*cking fabulous.'”

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Seenit Academy Season 1

And that’s a wrap! Our first season of Seenit Academy has come to an end.

For those of you who haven’t tuned in before, Seenit Academy is your one-stop shop for all things Seenit, filmmaking, and filming with your phone. We want to help everyone not only use Seenit to it’s full potential, but to also improve as filmmakers overall!

Our first season introduces the do’s and don’ts of filming on your phone, including things to avoid like not making eye contact and bad lighting, and things to look out for such as interesting backgrounds and how better to frame your shots.

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iPhone: The Game-Changer

Some years ago my mobile served around three purposes: sending a text to Mum to update on my whereabouts (if and when I had the credit), setting personal-bests on Snake, and composing polyphonic ringtones to the freshest jams.

Fast-forward however-many years and things have changed somewhat. Today on my phone I’ve pleaded with my mother to stop tagging me in cringe proverb posts on Facebook (‘To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world’. Seriously.), I’ve played Sonic the Hedgehog (this used to require a console, TV, cartridge and controller), and I’ve listened to some fresh jams on my commute to work.

Okay, so some things haven’t changed a whole lot, but it’s pretty insane how far the mobile phone has come and how important it is to all of us. Whether you’re sending an email, taking a selfie, making a spreadsheet, banking, booking a holiday, seeking a date, listening to a podcast, or showing your gran that dog-face Snapchat filter, one thing’s certain: take away our phones and we would lose our minds.

The release of the iPhone, 10 years ago today, can take large credit for the transformation of mobiles and the way we use them. It was a major catalyst for the smartphone revolution that has impacted the way we create and consume forever.

iphone

Said revolution has presented brands and companies a chance to connect with audiences, track behaviour and create meaningful content that resonates. With the majority of ad spend now going on mobile, the mobile-first (or increasingly mobile-only) approach is becoming the standard.

But these days a mobile isn’t merely a device that allows you to binge on cat videos (let’s take care of priorities, though). It’s also a ridiculously good camera, making us all creators in our own right.

Audiences now have the opportunity to quickly and easily express their views through video (see Instagram Stories or Facebook Live), and tapping into this rising video revolution has become a desire for brands who want to harness user generated content for themselves.

It’s given them the ability to collaborate with people like never before. The growing desire for brand trust and authenticity along with the need for transparency and involvement in the workplace means it’s no surprise more organisations are realising the benefit of producing with their communities.

The first iPhone helped pave the way for all of this, and will continue to have a big say in what comes next.

Bless that little brick.

Spotlight: Introducing Kiteka

Seenit has partnered with Kiteka, a new initiative empowering female entrepreneurs and business owners in Uganda by providing them access to smartphone technology.

Six Kiteka members make up the film crew as they share scenes their day-to-day lives and more all using the Seenit app. This is a story about integrity and empowerment and celebrates the achievements of some truly inspiring women.

Last week, Kiteka launched officially as the first all-female, all-mobile digital outsourcing network for female entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and premiered the trailer for the first official Kiteka film to be released this summer. Keep a look out, there’s more to come.

You can read more about the launch event and the Kiteka initiative here.

What We’re Watching: Ken Norton, old school glamour, and one of the most creative horror films to date

Each week, we’re asking the team what they’ve watched recently that really stood out to them. Here are this week’s selections:

AURELIE’S PICK: 10x Not 10%, Product Management by Orders of Magnitude by Ken Norton

“It’s all about remembering to take a risk and to challenge your assumptions! To create the best value you should always keep that in mind.”

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