Friday, November 21, 2008

24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot

24: The Unaired 1994 Pilot
Directed by Sam Reich, USA, 2007, 4:19

This short is an original short by CollegeHumor used to be a typical website to find goofy videos, articles, and pictures that were on the amateur side, but it's success has allowed the site to invest in creating high budget short films as part of its CHTV online series. Their originals are a step up from the average viral-video. One particular favorite of mine is the 24 parody about what the show would have been like if it took place in 1994 using 1994's technology. The videos has Jack Bauer on a mission to diffuse a bomb, but his success continuously gets side-lined by technology such as pay-phones, dial-up internet, the lack of ability to use the phone while on the internet, paper printers, and more.

The professional aesthetic impressed first about the short. This isn't a bunch of college students in their dorm room. This short looks like a full-fledged production using real locations, hired actors, and expensive equipment. While these are all elements one would expect at a short film festival, in the age of YouTube, the expectations in the production quality of online shorts are lower. One can expect a shaky, crappy camera to be used, a lack of any real microphones, shot in someone's bedroom, etc. However, this short is as professional-looking as they get. The acting is well-done, and the Jack Bauer character actually looks like the real deal.

The video also happens to be very clever. It creates nostalgia for the viewer. I honestly forgot about those terrible printers where you had to tear off the edges of the paper or the fact that you can't use the phone while someone is on the internet. At the time, these were all coveted technologies, but they are laughable by today's standards when you can look at the internet ON your phone. Jack Bauer doesn't have a cell phone: to communicate with his boss; he gets a page on his beeper and has to leave the bomb to go find a pay-phone, and he even runs out of quarters. There are subtle references as well, such as when a character mentions they can't get on a Lycos page (remember Lycos?)

When one thinks of online-exclusive video, the perceptions of "no-budget" or "a teenager fooling with his friends after school" come to mind. Online-videos have no form of physical distribution. They aren't on TV. The expectations are usually low. One might think, "if it was actually so good, it probably would be seen elsewhere than the computer." However, this video shows that even some great great material can be isolated solely to the internet realm.

No comments: