Media is Not a Concept

I often tell my students that media is not a concept. Yes, you want to have non-traditional media in your book. And yes, cutting edge media is cool. But don't use the media just so you can check off a box. Make it relevant. For example, putting a message on the bottom side of a bridge is not an idea unless the message has something to do with the placement.

Similarly, if you're going to use innovative media, know what it's capable of. Every morning I ride the BART train into San Francisco. Underground, between Embarcadero and Montgomery, there is a little strobe light ad in the tunnel, kind of the modern version of the flipbook. All last month, every morning I'd look out and see what looked like a car turn into a bridge, then into a string of music, then a bird or something, and then what was presumably a company logo. The animation was cool in theory, but it was too complicated for the medium, and hence was a complete waste of money.

I've had students show me storyboards of concepts for this subway flipbook technology (I'm sure there's a technical name for it, but I can't find anyone who knows what it is). The storyboards usually show some simple animation, then a logo. Okay, but why? It's basically a crude version of television. So again, if you're going to use rad new media, make sure the concept is as rad. Otherwise it's like saying, "I've got this great idea! We're going to print advertisements on paper and put them as pages in magazines!"