Anyone can make video film, right? Why do we need professionals?

Anyone can cook, right?

Anyone can cook, right?

I really enjoyed the Disney/Pixar film Ratatouille (2007), which won the year’s best animated feature film Oscar award and deserved it.

Here’s the plot summary from IMDB: Remy is a young rat in the French countryside who arrives in Paris, only to find out that his cooking idol is dead. When he makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant’s new garbage boy, the culinary and personal adventures begin despite Remy’s family’s skepticism and the rat-hating world of humans. Read full synopsis on IMDB

The movie opens with a TV show featuring Chef Auguste Gusteau, owner of the best restaurant in Paris, talking about his bestselling cookbook, which proudly bears his mantra “Anyone Can Cook!”

Well, that’s heretical to the fine artistes of gourmet. But it’s revived the age old debate between fully-trained professionals and new-entrant amateurs, and inspired some interesting discussions online. One blogger thought: “Remy the rat is a perfect metaphor for the non-expert Web 2.0 knowledge maker. He has no credentials and must prove himself through his actual knowledge and application of knowledge rather than through credentials.”

He added: “What’s the moral of the story? Even without being an acknowledged expert on a topic, if you work hard to express your ideas in clever ways, you too can be respected for what you know.”

I’ve only just read these views, but they resonate with what I felt when I watched the movie in late 2007. The story certainly reminded me of a heated debate in my own field of moving images: can anybody and everybody make video, now that the tech barriers and costs have come down? If this is the case, what’s the point of having highly trained, better paid professionals who do it for a living?

I shan’t try to resolve that debate here. But here’s an interesting take on the debate from the Onion News Network. They report: YouTube is offering a cash prize to the first user to upload a video with a shred of originality or artistic merit.

‘War for the Whitehouse’: Obama, McCain and The Onion

Onion News Network - for news you can't afford to miss

Onion News Network - for news you can't afford to miss

The American presidential election race is entering its last lap. And the world watches the campaign trail with baited breath.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama enjoys more international support than his Republican rival John McCain, as most people outside the US prefer the Democrat leader to become next US president, according to a BBC poll in September 2008. Most of the people questioned in the global poll conducted by international polling institute GlobeScan believe that US relations with the rest of the world would improve under the presidentship of Obama.

While so much of American and international news media time is being spent on covering the campaign and various opinion polls, some comic relief comes from The Onion – that wickedly funny and innovative website which now produces a steady stream of videos spoofing the news media’s worse excesses.

The Onion calls it the ‘War for the White House’ and has set up its ‘election analysis bunker’ from where its intrepid reporters are bringing us news that you – and major news organisations – have somehow managed to miss. They call is Onion News Network, ONN for short.

They’ve been doing it for the better part of a year, and here are some of my favourites from The Onion YouTube channel:

Caution: There’s a slight bias towards Senator Obama in some of these news reports, but then, he’s been the liberal media’s darling for much of this campaign year.

October 2008: McCain Left On Campaign Bus Overnight
Campaign officials downplayed the incident, saying the senator was fine as soon as he was fed and taken to the bathroom.

October 2008: Gifted Youngster Sells Cookies To Buy Attack Ad
In this installment of Beyond The Facts, a precocious 8-year-old girl participates in grown-up politics by spreading smears and lies.

September 2008: McCains Economic Plan: ‘Everyone Marry A Beer Heiress’
McCain pointed to his personal success in marrying a wealthy beer heiress to prove how the plan could benefit every American.

September 2008: Obama Runs Constructive Criticism Ad On McCain
In response to Republican attacks, Barack Obama unleashed a series of slightly negative ads that gently point out how McCain could be doing a better job.

August 2008: Portrayal Of Obama As Snob Hailed As Step Forward For Blacks
Overjoyed civil rights leaders say that Barack Obama has paved the way for future black politicians to be smeared as country club snobs.

March 2008: Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters
For a majority of likely voters, meaningless bullshit will be the most important factor in deciding who they will vote for in 2008.

January 2008: The Onion: More Candidates Court Fat Vote
Presidential candidates are reaching out to fat voters on the campaign trail by eating large amounts of fattening food.

See all election videos of ONN

ONN’s self-introduction says its “style of hard-hitting, on-the-ground coverage of live news events has become a standard in the news industry. The network can be viewed in 92.2 million U.S. households and more than 500,000 American prison cells, making it the most-watched cable network in the world. It can currently be seen in 312 countries, with broadcasts in 52 different languages“.


The Onion - The Nation's finest news source...

The Onion - The Nation's finest news source...