How about my two cents?
Ozone Studios wrote:
Do you feel that the next generation is coming in strong, or is it lacking?
I do think the "next generation," as it were, isn't as invested into LEGO in the same ways as brickfilmers were years prior. The LEGO of today is a stronger brand, which is a good thing, but has made the toy more mainstream and less nichey - not necessarily a bad thing, but hear me out.
LEGO, now, has a fairly strong presence in the video gaming scene, releases big, overpriced sets with fewer minifigs and less customization options, and, aside from the minifig blind bags, is seemingly gearing their focus towards a skewed audience - that of children, and that of adult collectors. IDK how many kids wanted the Jurassic World mansion, but I'd assume it's less than how many want a 7-10 dollar Spider-Man Homecoming set. And don't forget the direction LEGO Dimensions took in its twilight months - Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, etc. Sure, things like Teen Titans GO and Powerpuff Girls tried to balance that out, but IMO it was still skewed.
My point being - LEGO used to be a fairly well known toy brand, whereas now it's nearly a media empire, with films, video games, and television supplementing the toy lines. These changes, as well as the company's focus on non-toy endeavors, has decreased the number of kids/teens/young adults who would be interested in making brickfilms. There's already enough other LEGO content to keep them mostly occupied.
Ozone Studios wrote:
I don't see any issues pertaining to it. The standard of quality has been increasing over the years.
I'm inclined to agree. Although the rising standard of quality arguably puts more pressure on brickfilmers to stay competitive, and may turn away newcomers who don't want to see their own work as inferior. Although, generally yes, the community can remain strong and continue to welcome new members all the time without issue. It's just, the motivations, opportunities, and time to brickfilm is perhaps dwindling - but that has nothing to do with BiM, Brick a Brack, or any other brickfilm related website directly. That's a LEGO problem.
Plus, webcams (arguably the brickfilmer's most popular/best option) aren't as popular as they once were. In the Brickfilms.com days, computers didn't come with webcams, so everyone had to buy one separately - and nearly everyone had one. Nowadays, everybody's got a smartphone or a tablet - and while they can be great for stop motion as well, it would be foolish to not see the distraction social media & app games can cause. - And that takes away valuable animating time.
The only other option (unless you're weird like me and use a point-and-shoot) is DSLR, and those are expensive - even though they've come down in price dramatically over the years. Not just every 13 or 14 year old can pick one up...
Ozone Studios wrote:
The only thing that concerns me is the maintenance of the current recourses and leadership. As well as the breakup of the community... I've noticed this issue primarily on the Discord server. Nearly all of the regulars are brickfilm veterans and long time members. The presence of aspiring brickfilmers is almost non existent.
The IRC chat (which was started under brickfilms.com, mind you) was perhaps more of a bygone era, now. That's what, IMO, has attracted older (veteran and/or retired) brickfilmers to the discord server. (The IRC's spiritual successor) While many now enjoy using discord servers, I, for one, feel that BiM's live chatroom wasn't just a room for brickfilmers to hang out in and discuss the website & brickfilming, but rather for people connected through the hobby to chat about other things... And, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
I preferred the original chat for what it was, and was initially glad to see it updated to discord. However, when management decided to change it - I feel it only re-opened the wound the brickfilms.com rift had created. IMO, a new discord should have been created just for BiM, and the old (less family friendly) chat should have been allowed to exist as a separate thing - which it always was. Combining them was a mistake, IMO, and I haven't been back on it since...
Having a separate place for the veteran brickfilmers IMO would be a better idea. Not to "put them out to pasture," but... give them a space of their own where BiM members are also welcome to hang out. THEN, have your site-dedicated server as a separate thing. This would perhaps entice newer members to fill up the space, and not seem alienated by the veterans.
Just remember, we can't count them out. BertL made a brickfilm for the contest I hosted earlier this year, and it was his first brickfilm since 2011, I think. Besides, the knowledge & experience they share has been invaluable to members such as myself. That, and it's nice to have some adults who are available to voice act for your film.
Ozone Studios wrote:
If worst case scenario came to be, would the community be able to survive without BiM? How would the community remain organized? With BiM still strong now, how can the brickfilming community remain organized despite the community breakup?
Brickfilms.com was pretty much the only dedicated brickfilming forum at the time - and was certainly the largest. When it broke up, the community could have easily been killed. But now, as you've said, with multiple smaller brickfilm community groups around, I don't think that the hobby community is in any danger - although, this has made BiM a little less active than it once was. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
If BiM ever did shut down or break up the community, (which I highly doubt, as it IS still one of, if not THE, biggest brickfilming sites) I'm sure we'd rebuild elsewhere. There's already the space for it.
Just know that, while the community has branched out a bit more as of late, that doesn't mean it's dead, dwindling, or dying... It's just spread out. And, IMO, the more spread out it is, the less the elitism card is pulled by misbehaving members. And, while that does mean less interconnectivity & contest entries, it doesn't mean the community is breaking up - nor does it mean that the next generation isn't joining in every day.
Personally, I think BiM is better than ever, TBH. When I first joined, everyone was fresh off of the split by only a few years. Now, I think brickfilmers are a lot more likely to collaborate, work together, and become friends, whereas before, I felt there was more of a competition aspect to the community. Now, I have great bonds with many community members, whom I love to collaborate with them through voice acting, scripting help, and music. Before, that never really happened on the day-to-day.
Last edited by Dyland (November 26, 2018 (03:06am))