Don’t Text While Driving

This public service announcement from Volkswagen was run in a Hong Kong movie theater. It’s extremely clever in using two media channels to re-create the perils of texting while driving.

It reminds me a bit of the famous reactions to “The Great Train Robbery” in 1903, when audiences flinched at a gunman shooting directly at the camera and ducked at the sight of an oncoming locomotive rushing in their direction. Both that movie and this PSA were using novel techniques to seemingly reach out from the screen into the theater itself.

Just as it’s quotidian to look down the barrel of a gun or directly at a rushing train in movies today, in the near future it will be commonplace to have media experiences that cross multiple channels like this PSA does. The fact that smart phones are nearing ubiquity—to say nothing of whatever new device types lay in our future—is too tempting a change not to entice technologically curious filmmakers, or auteurs from any background, really. To me, this is much more interesting than 3D.