Full Metal Jacket and the Creative Future

Matthew Modine, memorable as Private Joker in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, recently collaborated with Adam Rackoff to launch the immersive iPad app Full Metal Jacket Diary. Last week, we talked about developing the app. This week, our conversation continues, focusing on audiences, storytelling, and how creative people can succeed today.
Adam Leipzig: Full Metal Jacket Diary had a successful launch, your audience is engaged and you’re garnering awards. What have you learned about the future of storytelling?
Matthew Modine: I know that directors from Christopher Nolan to Steve Spielberg are looking at the app now, and finding in it new ways to bring their stories to their audiences.
The success of the Stanley Kubrick museum exhibition has changed the expectations directors have for their legacies. They all want to have a Kubrick-like exhibition, where they can display items from all the films they have worked on. Steven Spielberg has a massive collection from all of his movies he would like to have exhibited.
AL: When I went to the Kubrick exhibition, I was blown away by how much Kubrick influenced our vision of the future, and I noticed some of your photos, Matthew, on display there.
Adam Rackoff: That exhibition is a game-changer.

Stanley Kubrick's director chair: an image from 'Full Metal Jacket Diary'
Stanley Kubrick’s director chair: an image from ‘Full Metal Jacket Diary’

AL: Let’s talk about another game-change. Many Cultural Weekly readers are in creative industries. Technology has leveled the playing field, making it more democratic. It is easier for people to create than ever before, and harder to let people know you have created. How can creative people work effectively today?
AR: Crowdfunding is a gigantic opportunity. Its positive side effect is not the money; you are really gauging the interest-level and marketing your idea in advance. I have become a huge proponent of sites like Kickstarter—they are helping artists get their ideas out to the world where they can build up an army of supporters and believers. Audiences want to be a part of the process. We experienced that with the app. People sent us feedback, and wanted to be involved as much as possible. I would often post updates to see what people had to say.
AL: Crowdfunding is about 40% raising money and 60% about building an audience.
AR: If your campaign is really successful, it will be picked up by a number of blogs. Often you get 5 or 10 times the number of Likes as you do donations, so the penetration from a crowdfunding campaign goes way beyond just the number of contributors.
AL: What else have you discovered, especially about how narrative is changing?
MM: YouTube has changed narrative filmmaking 100%. The experience young people have growing up now started in my generation with Sesame Street. It was a great detriment to the educational process, because it shortened peoples’ attention spans. YouTube has exacerbated that process.
Today it would be intolerable for a young person to watch Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 film, Barry Lyndon, or to listen to a symphony or an opera. Look at a Baz Luhrman film—he doesn’t go more than 3 or 4 seconds without cutting.
My wife is always telling me that the one thing you can know when you wake up, is that the world will be a different place. It’s sad to see the death of these art forms, but we also saw the death of Latin. Things evolve. The ability to communicate via text with another person is changing relationships between Palestinians and Jews, who are communicating via social media, saying “Look, I don’t hate you I don’t want to shoot you.” In this process of evolution, there are things we love that get left behind, but we can hope it brings us to a place of peace and understanding and shared information.
Listen to Matthew Modine on Cultural Weekly Radio episode 5; and follow Full Metal Jacket Diary on Facebook and Twitter.
Top image: Matthew Modine (left) and Adam Rackoff at work on ‘Full Metal Jacket Diary’

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