(Talksauce is a weekly editorial that represents the opinions of Tapsauce editor-in-chief Jacob Hall, not Rocksauce Studios. If he says something stupid, blame him and him alone.)
When I attended Fantastic Fest last week, my plan was to observe how people were using apps and mobile technology to shape their film festival experience. This ended up being more difficult than I thought. It wasn’t a case of no one using mobile tech during the festival, it was a case of everyone using it. By day two, I stopped keeping track of what everyone was using because it had become second nature. Your smartphone wasn’t anything special: it was a necessary tool to properly enjoy the fest.
The sad truth is that smartphones were absolutely vital at Fantastic Fest despite the fact that the official festival app was a complete and total mess. My original plan was to cover it in an App Spotlight article, but I couldn’t bring myself to write it. It’s a messy failure, rushed and lousy and failing to load any schedules properly. I ended up keeping track of my schedule the old fashioned way on pen and paper, infinitely preferable to dealing with the app (which only arrived a day or two before the fest started, hard evidence that it was rushed to “completion”).
But let’s get positive!
It’s impossible to imagine a film festival without Twitter. Seriously. Film festivals have existed for decades prior to the creation of this social network, but there are days where the experience feels like it was perfected when Twitter rolled around. When you get out of a movie, you tweet about it. When your friends get out of a movie, they tweet about it. When strangers get out of a movie, they tweet about it. Festival buzz stops being strictly conversational: there is a now a written record of audience reactions for you to peruse. Thank to Twitter, I’ve managed to isolate and avoid the bad movies and discover great movies that I would never have sought out. Tweeting became second nature at Fantastic Fest: I wanted to warn the public about the bad movies and cheer on the great ones.
Twitter’s usefulness extended beyond the movies. If you’re running late for a screening, a desperate tweet to your followers could get you a seat saved. Twitter was the number one source of spontaneous karaoke and BBQ meet-ups. Heck, Twitter also helped you get to know your online friends and followers, as you were able to meet up with the people whose tweets you’ve been reading.
Film Festivals are, by their very nature, a social experience. You’d think something like Twitter would detract from that, but it actually does the opposite. Twitter has magnified the festival experience and transformed it into something unique and special.