UX/UI, Web Design

What Comes Next Is the Future is the definitive documentary about the web, as told by the people who build it each day.

Their challenges and successes will help us better understand this thing called the web, and what lies ahead. A project by Matt Griffin — founder of Bearded, a Net Awards 2014 Agency of the Year nominee – What Comes Next is the Future is an effort to capture the titanic shift in the web landscape that mobile devices have initiated.

Like it or not, we are firmly in a world where the web is in everyone’s pocket. According to Pew Internet Research’s June 2013 reports, 81% of Americans between the ages of 25–35 own a smartphone, 33% of American adults own a tablet computer, and 42% of smartphone owners between the ages of 18–29 consider their phone their primary way of accessing the internet.

Thanks to this mobile revolution, the ways people interact with the web and one another are changing. This shift has forced us to drastically alter our perspectives about the work we do, and how we go about it. What Comes Next Is the Future aims to capture this transformation.

But like many things, the web isn’t just technology – it’s people. We’re often overrun with descriptions of the shallowness of social media, and the implications that has for our basic humanity in this modern hyper-connected world. There is a nostalgia for life before we built the most comprehensive, democratic repository of human knowledge that has ever existed. But to ignore the web’s importance, to treat it as simply a product or appliance that has come into our lives, is to miss the point.

In What Comes Next Is the Future, you’ll meet people who – through our contact with the web – came of age and found each other. For many of us, the web gave us a place where we could contribute, apply our talents, and make things that matter.

What Comes Next Is the Future is a story about the internet, and how the shifting mobile landscape has drastically changed our industry. But it’s also the story of how we’ve all changed as a culture and what we can look forward to in the future, as seen from the perspective those who’ve helped build and shape the web over the last 25 years.

 We Need Your Help

To make the best version of this film we can, we need your help. The more funding we raise for this film, the greater our scope will be.

Our Kickstarter goal is just the minimum we need to finish a shorter, tighter-budget version of the film. This budget will help us pay professional video editors, upgrade our equipment, and cover travel expenses for new interviews as well as some of our time spent on the project so we can really give it the attention it deserves.

We’ve already interviewed:

Once we surpass our goal, we’ll be able to add even more interviews, travel further to get them, and employ more film professionals to make a higher-quality product for you. We’ve already got the thumbs up from a number of people we’d like to interview next (with doubtless even more to come). Here’s a short list of some of our additional heroes who have agreed to be interviewed so far:

Need we go on? It’s crazy all the knowledge and experiences in these people’s brains. And we can’t wait to start getting them on camera.

We want What Comes Is the Future to be the definitive film about the web. Help us make it happen.

The music in the trailer is Slow to Thirty by Low Lumens.

Corporate Sponsorships

There are plenty of ways for organizations to contribute to the film. There are four tiers that get your company name or logo in the closing credits of the film:

  • $5,000 = a full-column logo in the credits (limited to 8)
  • $2,500 = a half-column logo in the credits (limited to 12)
  • $1,000 = a quarter-column logo in the credits (limited to 16)
  • $250 = your name in the credits (limited to 48)

We even created a handy graphic to show you how it works!

Our Corporate Sponsor Levels

To make a donation on behalf of a company, you just use a corporate credit card on someone’s Amazon account. At the end of the project, I’ll contact you for exact wording in the credits or logo files, as necessary.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

At Bearded, we’re not professional movie-makers. We make web things. So what are we doing trying to make a film documentary?

The shift that’s been happening with the explosion of mobile devices on the web has felt monumental. Tectonic, even. And no one, as far as I know, has been capturing these changes in technology and culture (at least not from the perspective we’ve been watching it).

Last year I realized that I had booked a number of speaking engagements with people in the web design industry that I greatly admire (people like Luke Wroblewski, Ethan Marcotte, and Josh Clark, to name a few). So I decided to write up a list of interview questions, and lug along a Canon DSLR video camera to see what I could capture. Everyone I asked to help has been unbelievably open and enthusiastic, and the footage we began to amass was awesome. Pretty soon it became clear that we were – qualified or not – making a movie.

I’ve spent the last five and half years building and running a business where we make things every day that we didn’t know how to make when we started. We’re problem solvers. That’s what we do. No doubt countless problems will arise with this project that we’re not expecting. But that’s normal; there will be problems, and we’ll come up with solutions as they arise.

I’m also experienced enough to know that everything there is to do requires expertise. Filmmaking expertise is not something we have. So we’ll be using a good chunk of our budget to hire professionals to do things like editing, finishing, and perhaps even on-location filming. The more funds we raise, the more we can engage film industry pros to do the things they’re good at, and we can focus on guiding the content and direction of the film.

Besides professional help, what will be spending money on? Travel expenses to go do the interviews, better film equipment, and covering the cost of some of our time, so we can afford to really focus on the film.

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