Portrayals of Texting in Film

Tony Zhou produces wonderful short video essays about film under the name Every Frame a Painting. I wrote about his piece on Michael Bay’s “Bayhem” brand of filmmaking last month. It’s well worth a look (afterwards you might read my thoughts on Michael Bay too).

His latest essay is called “A Brief Look at Texting and the Internet in Film,” and it examines the evolving methods that filmmakers have used to incorporate this new social behavior into narrative film-making. The solutions are often quite graphical in nature, and Zhou discusses the pros and cons of that. He also makes the argument that the various techniques we’ve seen so far are proof that film is a continually evolving, unfixed form.

It’s a great piece, though it piques my interest about how various other technological innovations have been portrayed in movies, especially in their early days. It would be fascinating to see a similar study of how movies first wrestled with television, for instance, or mobile phones.