The question of relevancy is always an important one when the arts, cinema or any cultural element is discussed, thought about, and perused towards some end.
We can always put our heads down and slog through the terrain, to do what we love without ever needing to be self aware of our place, or our goals, both collectively and individually. But, that's a simple pursuit. Valid as any, but, shallow in scope.
Instead, and often, we think deep and long about our place in the world. And, as the world changes in rapid succession, in a culture that Alan Moore deemed "The Culture of Steam", when discussing the immediate future, certain trends emerge. And to clarify, I believe Moore was discussing the ungraspable future culture, as predetermined by technology and its interplay with our old world evolution.
This is the time of the instant update. And, you can look no further than the emerging talent of today to really understand what this means. In music, the perpetual mixtape was the start, but the further you push that along, the more you get to the current state. Just like instagram, music has also morphed into the weekly song/video style most prominent in hip hop. I like to use hip-hop as the example, because it's elements are very immediate. It's production, usually fast, and wordplay doesn't necessarily need to be written.
Acts like Lil B and Riff Raff elude to a changing landscape where they are always on the cycle of relevance, because, they mimic the culture of the internet itself. They are both shrewd, entertaining and showman promoters. They are a new species of music artist. Self aware, skilled, entrepreneurial, shameless and momentum oriented. And regardless of what you think of them, they continue turning critics into fans, by sheer willingness to be out there, to take the brunt of "haters".
In an alternative way, if Riff Raff put out a few videos, and waited for something to happen, nothing ever would. This is a critical difference between the old and the new. The closest example in the film world would be someone like Joe Swanberg. But perhaps, there are countless other "video" artist who are better examples whom I just don't know. Tim and Eric immediately came to mind as the television version, but the metaphor is not as clear. Adult Swim nurtures these changes, and was willing to take those risks years ago. In the world of books/blogging, look no further then Seth Godin.
In a disposable age, perfectionism isn’t valued because we just don’t have time for it. By the time it’s perfect, the world moved 10 steps ahead. I know, your ol school idealism doesn’t want to deal with it. Whatever.
The question is, in this new landscape, what if you turned it off. What if your video didn't come out on that Wednesday, or that you stopped your twitter'ing and vine'ing and facebook. What if you get sick? What if you don’t make three films a year? And what if, you weren’t birthed into a career before this all happened? You know, in the old timey days (pre 2005) when things work different?
The constant hustle and digital sharecropping reminds me of Jaron Lanier's critique of the internet and the middle class. You can hustle on that street corner all you want, but, when you get sick, well, you're fucked. But, at least you’re relevant. :) (smiley face)