John Truby screenwriting class

The 5 Common Characteristics
of Social and Industrial Media

By Elliot Grove

This is the first in a series of articles I call The Independent Filmmakers Social Media Handbook. For further articles, email me and I will let you know when they are up

Filmmakers I meet through Raindance seem to fall into two main categories: Those who embrace social media, and those who don't.

My theory is that filmmakers who are not engaged in social media do so out of fear and loathing - and of something they don't understand.

What is social media.

Social media is based on internet and computer technology and allows for publishing directly to individuals using a variety of web-based programmes including wiki's, blogs, video publishing, forums, podcasts, email, instant messaging, music and file sharing sites, to name a few. Sometimes these functions are combined into one service, like Plaxo or Facebook.

The 5 Common Characteristics of Social and Industrial Media

Social media can be defined in the context of industrial media. Industrial media is owned by large coorporations or governments (newspapers, TV and radio stations)  They can only be accessed at great cost. Social media is avaiable to individuals at little or no cost.

If you look at the common elements shared by both social and industrial media, it is easy to see how they differ

1. Audience

Social and industrial media technologies ahve the power to reach global audiences. They are both scaleable as well. An industrial meadia technology like radio can be increased by signal strength, and a social media technology can be incresed by word of mouth technologies such as 'retweeting'

2. Ownership

Industrial media are typically owned by large coorporations, brands or government bodies (BBC). The barrier to prodcution is very high. Social media is available to anypne at virtually no cost.

3. Production

Industrial media practitioners usually require highly deeloped specialist skills. Social media functions with very basic skills.

4. Time lag

The time lag between idea and actual communication can stretch to days, weeks and even months in industrial media. In social media, the time lag can be virtually instantaneous.

5. Alterations

Industrial media, once created cannot be altered. For example, a newspaper, once printed and distributed cannot be changed. Social media can be changed effortlessly by editing or by adding comments.


The basic characteristics of social media are closely aligned to independent filmmaking and as such offer independent filmmakers an opportunity to exploit social media to advantage.

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About Elliot Grove

Elliot GroveCanadian born Elliot Grove founded Raindance Film Festival in 1993, the
British Independent Film Awards in 1998, and Raindance.TV in 2007, the Raindance Postgraduate Film Degree in 2011 and Raindance Raw Talent in 2013.

He has produced over 150 short films, and 5 feature films incuding his latest feature film, Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey. He has written eight scripts, one of which is currently in pre-production. He teaches writers and producers in the UK, Europe. Japan and America.

He has written three books which have become industry standards: RAINDANCE WRITERS LAB 2nd Edition (Focal Press 2008),  RAINDANCE PRODUCERS LAB (Focal Press 2013) and 130 PROJECTS TO GET YOU INTO FILMMAKING (Barrons 2009). His first novel THE BANDIT QUEEN is scheduled for publication next year.

Open University awarded Elliot and Honourary Doctorate for services to film education in 2009.
He is regularly interviewed. Here is an interview for Canadian television

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5 Common Characteristics of Industrial and Social Media