This post was contributed by Jon Hickman.
Have you ever noticed how video shops in popular culture confer expertise on people? In Clerks Randall bemoans the lack of vision his customers have when it comes to movie choices.
Randall is a guardian of movie knowledge, and a major VHS snob.
A big part of Quentin Tarantino’s back story is that he was a video shop clerk. The Tarantino myth relies upon this small fact about a mundane job; it shows that QT is steeped in popular culture, and, like Randall, he is a guardian to movie knowledge. His proximity to all that stored up movie-ness makes him the movie-lovers auteur.
So as video stores disappear, what does the next Tarantino do for a living?
Great post Jon. Oli and I had been talking about that same idea, that the video shop has been central to the development of many well respected artists. Might it be that future film directors will miss out on their video shop apprenticeships because of the large numbers of stores that are closing? Can recommendation technology and streaming video online offer the same sort of film education to budding film directors?
Fora, newsgroups, and blogging are spaces that might replace the video store as an educative space, but of course there’s no job there. The romance of the Tarantino story is that he spent all his days studying while jockeying his till. What other jobs allow you to watch movies during the day? I don’t think there’s a natural successor here.
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