John Thornton Caldwell’s landmark Specworld demonstrates how twenty-first-century media industries monetize and industrialize creative labor at all levels of production. Through illuminating case studies and rich ethnography of colliding social media and filmmaking practices, Caldwell takes readers into the world of production workshopping and trade mentoring to show media production as an untidy social construct, rather than a unified, stable practice. This messy complex system, he argues, is full of discrete yet interconnected parts that include legacy production companies, marketers and influencers, aspirant online producers, data miners, financiers, talent agencies, and more. Caldwell peels away the layers of these embedded production systems to examine the “folds,” “fault lines,” and “fractures” that underlie a risky, high-pressure, and often exploitative industry. With insights on the ethical and human predicament faced by industry hopefuls and crossover creators seeking professional careers, Caldwell offers new interpretive frames and research methods that allow readers to better see the hidden and multifaceted financial logics and forms of labor embedded in contemporary media production industries.
Specworld Folds, Faults, and Fractures in Embedded Creator Industries
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