Welcome to the scene
November 3, 2005 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Welcome to the scene is an interesting low budget soap opera that tells the story of a movie piracy group's workings via IMs and simultaneous video. If you're interested in the logistics of movie piracy (how do these groups work? what's their motivation? where do they get the movies? how do they avoid getting caught?) then this is for you. The story gets more engrossing as you go through the episodes, and the latest gives some insight into how script kiddies do their business. I'd never heard of tools like Metasploit and fragroute till I saw it. There are those who think the whole thing's a setup... I personally doubt it, but one thing this series demonstrates is that for pirates, paranoia is key to survival.
posted by jcruelty (13 comments total)
Admittedly, I've only watched about 10 minutes of the first episode but is there more than just him sitting at his computer pirating movies? Will we get to see him play WoW?
posted by panoptican at 3:45 PM on November 3, 2005

I haven't watched any of it, but it seems like an interesting concept. Welcome to the age of dramatising your online experiences in lengthy, corporate sponsored series. Blogs RIP.

The series were financed through sponsorship deals with Sony

That's rather surprising.
posted by fire&wings at 4:12 PM on November 3, 2005

More on the backer here
posted by CynicalKnight at 4:14 PM on November 3, 2005

I watched the first episode and perhaps I'm just not "interested in the logistics of movie piracy," but it was probably one of the most boring things I've ever watched. Just some dude sitting at his computer for 25 minutes or however long it was chatting with pirating buddies and attempting to write an e-mail to the financial aid department at the college he went to.

Is there anything else to it? Or is every episode just his desktop with a little video of him in the top left?
posted by panoptican at 4:16 PM on November 3, 2005

Personally I looked at this a bit when it was first around, but I just didn't have it in me to try to read computer type for any length of time in a low-quality video. Honestly, a series about people typing on IRC? But I do like how weirdly specific to its own peculiar subculture it is.

I found parody site TEH SCENE to be a good deal more entertaining.
posted by whir at 4:16 PM on November 3, 2005

See also: The Shadow Internet
posted by jcruelty at 4:23 PM on November 3, 2005

TEH SCENE was much better.

I tried watching one of thos AVIs (I already have Xvid), and it didn't work. Oh well.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:35 PM on November 3, 2005

Recently while embedded at home with the flu, I just lay there and watched all of "season I" or whatever they call it. Maybe 10 episodes.

It's not good.

But it's almost good.

It's ambitious, in the way Michael Snow was ambitious in the 60s (though he had raw talent). It tries to tell a story entirely through mediated exchanges between the characters, which is of course, extremely dull.

But it's clever, it's smart. So although it has a central protagonist, the webcam-like camera changes from episode to episode, and spends that episode showing the mediated exchanges from another character's pov. Gus Van Sant did the same in Elephant, and Miranda July, and of course there are other examples, but these guys use this conceit very effectively. I won't give away some of the surprises.

It gets sort of interesting because everything is mediated, even the music -- normally in the background -- is just more data coming out of the desktop iTunes. It's a shame the music is such nonsense.

There is some insanely poor acting in there, and that's the part that's impossible to overlook. Anything else can be understood to be the vernacular related to the subject at hand. The art direction is cheesy, like the music, it's like they took everything from public domain media. Sometimes -- even with the flu -- I had to wince at a line or two, or how someone delivered it.

Did I mention super-ultra-clumsy product placement / integration? That didn't help the wince factor.

And yet, it's a start, I think, and I've seen worse done by bigger names in bolder type. They are trying to find the storytelling language of, well, this, strangers tied together by common interests.

If you've ever seen that rare video of the Talking Heads in one of their earliest concerts, the one where you can only barely see that this could go somewhere, then that's what watching this thing is like.
posted by cloudscratcher at 4:35 PM on November 3, 2005

A Sony sponsored movie about piracy? Somhow I doubt its truthfullness.

"[...] it was probably one of the most boring things I've ever watched. Just some dude sitting at his computer for 25 minutes or however long it was chatting with pirating buddies and attempting to write an e-mail to the financial aid department[...]."

"Honestly, a series about people typing on IRC?"

Ah, so Sony has decided to combat piracy by making it seem like a dull looser activity? That makes sense.
posted by spazzm at 4:40 PM on November 3, 2005

wow. speaking as someone who ran a release group for 5 years, this is terrible. and idiotic.
posted by WetherMan at 5:08 PM on November 3, 2005

spazzm, i hadn't thought of that angle but it makes sense :D i guess i'm in the minority in finding this interesting, but i've enjoyed watching it & am looking fwd to the next episode. . agree that the acting is kinda poor. (though i have to say, drosan's girlfriend melissa is hot)

i think cloudscratcher's right about the mediated nature of the series... it feels different than things i've seen in the past and maybe it will be a gateway to other stories told in this way.
posted by jcruelty at 5:57 PM on November 3, 2005

I tried watching episode 1 a few months ago. Holy god was it boring. When someone asks you why computers in movies can't be more realistic, point them here.
posted by patgas at 11:41 AM on November 4, 2005

The more recent episode gets better if only because of the more accurate technical aspects and more emphasis on suspense. There is definately potential in the way the story is told even if it's still in the infantile stage.

However, unless the acting improves, the webcam angle needs to go.
posted by creeptick at 1:15 PM on November 6, 2005

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