There certainly seems to be an increasing distinction between videos and the cinematic art. Just as web novels were initially ruled out of literature, much of online videos are believed by many to “bear no resemblance to the art of the cinema”, to use Hitchcock’s phrase, despite the same fundamental medium of motion picture that they both rely on.
A newly-developed genre – if we may indeed call it that – in online videos: the montage parody. It’s hard to really put into words, the informant says, but the genre’s style is instantly and unmistakably recognizable. A few characteristics: an extremely rapid, almost epileptic style of editing, the rampant use of “epic” soundtracks and dubstep music, an absurd amount of random inserts of viral internet memes and videos. He warns, however, that even though these three traits are iconic in montage parodies, they can certainly be altered. The essence of the genre is comedy through an extremely over-the-top, faux-epic use of visuals and sound.
The informant believes that there probably is an origin – an earliest video that uses these montage parody techniques – but he thinks that the origin of the genre hardly matters to the community. Most people who create these videos are just as indifferent to and ignorant of the origin of the genre as most people who watch these videos.
The informant also comments that the name of the genre is very telling of its intention: the montage parody aims to parody the classic Hollywood montage that condenses a long series of events into a short, fast-paced and action-packed sequence of epic images and music. The community believes that the montage parody was created as a response and by-product to the earlier video montages of online shooting games such as Counter Strike and Call of Duty. Those montages were created to show off a user’s skills and accomplishments in the game, and the montage parody is to make fun of users who create these videos to show off themselves.
The informant is currently a student in university. He would identify himself as having been a gamer for the past 6 years.
When asked how he came across this new genre of “montage parody” videos, he replied that considering the genre’s viral popularity, it was simply not possible for a gamer to have not seen these videos. I mentioned that as of recently the community seems to have finally become tired of montage parodies, as increasing negativity can be seen among gamers towards these videos. He replied that he believed the novelty is wearing off – but that didn’t really prevent him from enjoying this kind of video any less than he did before.
This is a case where a high-culture art form has given birth to a folkloric genre. Traditionally cinema has always been a vertical communication: the elite industry produces and the public consumes. Unlike literature where anyone can be a writer as long as he/she has a typewriter (or even just pen and paper), cinema was always a more expensive, more elitist medium. As cameras became cheaper and lighter, amateur filmmaking became a possibility. But amateur films could never become popular, since the theatres were the only distribution platform.
But Internet, of course, changed everything. This type of montage parody video making was never the creation of a single author; it was at first, but it was the folkloric distribution of this genre that gave it its widespread popularity. One audience would show a montage parody to his/her friends. One creator would mimic one another. Then, suddenly, it became a thing.
A few examples of montage parody