Friday, January 11, 2013


Of the many ways business has changed since the dawn of the digital era, perhaps the most seismic is the "death of the end."

Here's what I mean.

When you grew up in print--which many people of my vintage did--there was a limit to how much copy an ad could handle. A page has finite dimensions. Unlike a website, it has an end. You had to learn to make every word count--because, simply, you didn't get many.

Likewise, content. When you had a prescribed and immutable time limit, you had to excise extraneous thoughts. You had a minute. Or 30 seconds. Not 3:16, or :47. Your time had an end. You had to finish.

Shooting on film also gave you limits. A "mag" lasted just about seven minutes and then the camera had to reload. And film was expensive. You couldn't just let the camera run through rehearsals. You had to find your shot and get it.

All these limits, all these endings demanded stern discipline.

They demanded an editor's eye at the outset.

That's all.


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YAGI said...

I think this concept certainly has validity. One thing that seems to be a factor in maintaining the requirement of limits is the attention span of the consumer. Even though there is an allowance of limitless characters, sounds, photos, etc., anyone who has the intent of communicating effectively period has to be able to do so in a finite amount of time.

i believe that limits will always be a mainstay, but the particular way they are represented will change with time...if that makes sense.

Urban Viking said...

This one, and the one about Michael Caine and John Huston last Thursday. . . . . Right on! We need good editing, or better editing than we are getting lately. Where are the good editors? There are precious damned few of them. Maybe the advent of digital everything has sent them packing, or involuntary outplacement by the bean counters. Problem is, after you watch or hear all the hours of audio and video recorded when the equipment was left on, the good stuff, if there was any, is buried up its neck in the chaff. Even a good editor has to get supper and some shut-eye once in a while. Thanks, George.

Unknown said...

There was also a self-destruct switch built into most everything we created. In newspaper, it was a day, in magazines, a week to a month, and in TV, at best, a short flight. If you didn't make your point by then, "Sorry, Charlie" (okay, he hung around a bit longer). As we're often reminded in the digital age, "Be careful what you put out there, because it will stay out there."