Everything is a Remix: The Force Awakens Video Commentary

“Everything is a Remix: The Force Awakens” is a video essay by Kirby Ferguson that looks into remix culture, popular culture, directorial voice, audience interaction, and how these played a role in shaping the 7th movie of one of the largest movie franchises in the world. Remix culture:  copying, transforming and combining have been utilized throughout film history, and is not unique in only film – it inhabits many creative fields. JJ Abrams, the director of the seventh film in the series, has utilized remixing throughout his creative career in films and series such as Super 8 (2011) and Lost (2010). JJ has most notably remixed major story elements present in different films and updated and refreshed small aspects of them. One can go on to discuss JJ’s creative abilities and how much remixing is too much, but in this video essay – we understand that the audience is attracted to familiarity. Hollywood has taken note that people love the familiar. The familiar is easily digestible, pokes at a collective nostalgia popular culture has embraced and showcases these old stories in a new exciting light. The familiar and novel were brought up during this video essay and the spectrum of which films lie on. Hollywood blockbusters are heavy on the familiar, while more critically acclaimed films that may not be monetary successes are usually novel in the film approach. A balanced film lies in the middle of this spectrum; this thus requires filmmakers to remix from diverse far off films and inspirations, and include some familiar tropes to capture attention. Regardless there is no set formula in which one is supposed to create a film and the impact the film industry has is important to note in a highly commercialized creative industry.

The videographic elements that were novel to me in this video, included an understanding of graphic design present throughout the video. Graphic design plays a role in the way the video essay is perceived. Through academic constraints on fonts have left choices limited. In video essays, however, the ability to use different fonts allows for a much more curated and individual result video essays present. The video also uses an intersectional aspect of discussion in its showcasing of an understanding of remix culture, popular culture, film industry knowledge, and the directors own unique directorial voice. This synthesis of ideas blended well for a highly informative and interesting video that taught a lot about bigger picture ideas rather than film specifics of mise en scene.


1 Comment

  1. Jason Mittell

    Nice points here – thinking about fonts and design is a key facet of videographic work that we’ll be exploring!

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