Specworld: Folds, Faults, and Fractures in Embedded Creator Industries (Paperback)

Specworld: Folds, Faults, and Fractures  in Embedded Creator Industries By John Thornton Caldwell Cover Image

Specworld: Folds, Faults, and Fractures in Embedded Creator Industries (Paperback)


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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.

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.
Product Details ISBN: 9780520388970
ISBN-10: 0520388976
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: January 24th, 2023
Pages: 400
Language: English
"The text is a wave to be surfed. . . . It will absolutely require Caldwellian levels of attention, vision, and language to measure up to the complexities of the world."
— Film Quarterly

"Specworld is sure to enlighten students and invigorate exciting research, even while it bursts the bubble of young creative dreamers hoping to become the next celebrated auteur. Still, the sadder but wiser student that reads this book is going to benefit and be situated to best advocate for changing the entertainment industry."
— Global Storytelling: Journal of Digital and Moving Images