Specworld: Folds, Faults, and Fractures in Embedded Creator Industries (Hardcover)
John Thornton Caldwell’s landmark Specworld demonstrates how twenty-first-century media industries monetize and industrialize creative labor at all levels of production. Through illuminating case studies and rich ethnography of colliding social-media and filmmaking practices, Caldwell takes readers into the world of production workshopping and trade mentoring to show media production as an untidy social construct rather than a unified, stable practice. This messy complex system, he argues, is full of discrete yet interconnected parts that include legacy production companies, marketers and influencers, aspirant online producers, data miners, financiers, talent agencies, and more. Caldwell peels away the layers of these embedded production systems to examine the folds, fault lines, and fractures that underlie a risky, high-pressure, and often exploitative industry. With insights on the ethical and human predicament faced by industry hopefuls and crossover creators seeking professional careers, Caldwell offers new interpretive frames and research methods that allow readers to better see the hidden and multifaceted financial logics and forms of labor embedded in contemporary media production industries.
About the Author
John Thornton Caldwell is Distinguished Research Professor in Cinema and Media Studies at UCLA. A former NEA, Penn/Annenberg, and Bauhaus University Senior Fellow, Caldwell won the career 2018 Pedagogy Award from SCMS and the Best Experimental Documentary Prize from the 2020 DocLA Film Festival. He is the author of Production Culture: Industrial Reflexivity and Critical Practice in Film and Television and Televisuality: Style, Crisis, and Authority in American Television.
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