Perhaps one of the significant outcomes of the digital gadget age is the rise of DIY in media production. Case in point: Girls Will Be Girls (GWBG), a low-budget, campy, politically incorrect drag film released in 2003. The film's writer and director, Richard Day shot the film on a minimal budget, using his own home for most of the sets, and doing some of the post-production work on his PC.
As a fan of this film, I was delighted to learn about the possibility of a GWBG sequel, and that I could help make the sequel happen. The project was listed on Kickstarter, and I pledged enough money for a walk-on role. The project exceeded its funding goal (a mere $20,000), and production will begin soon.
Because digital gadgets have changed the costs of production, the participatory cultural that Henry Jenkins described has been fully realized. As Day notes:
"It may well be true that, from a business perspective, a sequel to "Girls Will Be Girls" doesn't make sense. Maybe all its enthusiasts combined don't equal a meaningful gross to a mainstream distributor. Who cares? Thanks to new media, they don't need a mainstream distributor — they can order up a sequel all by themselves."
Day’s observation has broader implications. For years the fragmentation of the market has forced media companies to sharpen their focus on niche markets. Thanks to gadget enabled DIY, however, the niche may no longer need those media companies.
These companies, however, are not going to willfully sacrifice their bottom-line to DIY. Given the recent ruling by the FCC on Net Neutrality, and the possibility of a two-tiered Internet, DIY and fan participation may have a bleak future. But before the conglomerates have a chance to spoil everything, I’m going to play. In an update on GWBG 2012, I’ve been told that if I can’t make it to LA, there may be a way to film my walk-on remotely. I hope it will be through Skype; that way I can use my Droid X and phone in my performance, literally.