Thursday, 27 September 2007

Ode to a Digital Future

I was born under a lucky star. Early 80s, hand-in-hand with the digital boom.

I'm old enough to know what it was like before computers were part of our lives, and young enough to care. I was no more than 13 years old when the internet came into my life - when Windows were no longer where we looked at to see the future. When we were caught in the 'net.

And the 'net led to more than just the chance to talk to distant relatives and friends living at the other side of the world, or finding tidbits of knowledge otherwise unaccessible or too hard to come by. It lead to the joy of downloading. First it was pictures, whole big fat folders of pictures you would never care to flick through again. Later it was programmes - shareware, freeware or just cracked. Then it was games, old and new. Then music, and films, and anything you set your mind to.

And you can buy stuff too. Even my parents aren't afraid of internet shopping anymore. You can compare prices with ease, find things sold in distant countries you could never get your hands on before, and it's safe. You can even order pizza, then buy your groceries and log into your bank account to see if you've been paid for the month. Almost anything can be done through a computer these days.

Which, of course, wouldn't leave out the creative fields. Games aside, there's so much one can do with one's time these days with the help of a box, a screen and a couple of peripherals. Art, design, filmmaking, music recording and production, were once things one needed a studio for. Now all one needs is a dedicated corner in a room. That, and time to experiment with the hundreds of different techniques available today, which were no more than a distant dream a few years ago.

It sounds common, and bland, and useless, me praising things that are common as mud to everyone who cares. But, personally, I'm thankful. Grateful even. I'll be twenty-three in 4 days, and twenty-three years ago, if asked, even if I could speak, I couldn't tell you what I'd do with my life, except maybe try to write books. That was my only option, and my parents would have to spend a fortune - which they almost did - to get me to read as many as I'd need to be a good writer.

But now I've grown up, and I live in this endless sea of opportunity, with my computer as my boat. I have no idea just what I'll be doing in twenty-three years' time. Scriptwriting? Digital Filmmaking? Both? Neither?...
But I know that, whatever I set my mind to, I can get there.

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