Posted by Amanda Chapel
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Do you know Loren Feldman? You should. We love ‘em. He's not always correct, not always poignant, not even in PR. But he’s TOTALLY authentic. President of 1938 Media, he’s a Web-video guy with a New Yorker edge who every so often hits one out of the park and into our backyard.
Here’s one. F-bombs notwithstanding, this one happens to really hit a nerve. It absolutely indicts us and underscores THE central issue of what’s wrong with PR today. We’ve been seduced by technology and forgot our business is an art. To repeat Loren’s mantra, “It’s not the equipment; it’s the athlete.”
We've taken Loren's warning to heart. We too intend to take a shot at making video; but we approach it humbly. We did our homework and are all set with tech, system and workflow. But now we wait for a visit from our muse. She has been very good to us in the past but we do not take grace for granted. We're hopeful. We’ll see.
PR and communications is not an "art," nor is it a "trade." It falls in between on that spectrum, firmly within the world of "craft." One must have some baseline proficiencies with certain skills, and one must also apply a creative element that is signature and distinct (or should be.) The creative element in communications has been devalued, which is why the communications landscape is looking less like Monet and more like Bob Ross. (I'd even take a little Mondrian, if only for some bold color.)
The empowerment of the non-trained to make videos and "tell stories" can be a good thing, but it is already dragging down broadcast journalism. There are corporate moves afoot to scale down the quality of the equipment and put more bodies on the street to cover news. Great in theory, but lacking in practice, because as Loren notes the people who shoot well and the people who edit well and the people who tell great stories are usually NOT the same people.
I was more bothered by the frequency of the "know what I'm sayin'?" cliche than the f-bombs. My quibble is with Loren's contention that one needs a degree in art or film to be an artist or filmmaker. The world is full of examples to the contrary. That said, I can't argue with the gist of his message. And 1938 Media is mostly terrific.
Anyway, I think the same thing goes for bloggers. They have kick ass web design, some insiders knowledge, and they write chatty fucking web copy that you find in brochures and scripts for infomercial products.
It's like Oscar Wilde said: "A book is either well written or it is not, that is all."