Adapt To Your Surroundings: What Filmmakers Can Learn from Whale Blubber and an Octopus

Filmmakers who can't adapt risk extinction.

As Brian Eno has explained, artists who made money from the mass market sales of physical copies in the 20th century (e.g., musicians who sold vinyl albums or CD's, filmmakers who sold videotapes or DVDs, etc.) were experiencing a temporary bubble. Like traders in whale blubber in the 1840s (who believed that whale oil was the optimal way to power lamps), musicians and filmmakers who insist on the old ways of making money are doomed.

Filmmakers who resist learning about how films circulate and are monetized in the 21st century (e.g., who rail against "piracy" or argue in favor of the better resolution or archival properties of film without appreciating how social sharing is changing the business and transience of film) are like stubborn whale blubber merchants in the late 19th century.

Our surroundings have changed.

And, like the octopus in the video above, the ability to adapt to a new environment may just be an essential skill for our survival.

UPDATE: August 18th, 2013  It's also important for 21st century filmmakers to recognize an opening - no matter how small - and then to squeeze the most out of that opportunity - to get where they want to go (see the other octopus video below).

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