If it was Francis Ford Coppola who first envisaged YouTube, it took another bearded visionary, Jeremy James Stuart Anthony May-Gibson-Beadle, to understand what the world would do with it.
Beadle’s output – television shows such as Game For A Laugh, Beadle’s About and, perhaps most perspicaciously of all, You’ve Been Framed – anticipated the very spirit of the Internet as we know it, bringing us cats, cock-ups and covert surveillance in analogue abundance.
We found ourselves reminded of this last week with the release of a viral video promoting Sony’s CARRIE, a slick two-and-a-half minute clip that jauntily sets the stage for some hidden camera high jinks before showing a succession of caffeine-deficient customers lose their shit in the face of paranormal goings-on at their local coffee house.
Every aspect is fantastically well orchestrated, from stage management to sound design, serving to illustrate just how far the medium of the ‘viral video’ has come.
Furthermore, in contrast with the more typical vérité conceit of setting out to deceive the viewer, it takes us immediately into its confidence. In doing so it hints at the relationship we’ll form with Carrie, and the pleasure we’ll take from watching the telekinetic teenager turn the tables on her tormentors.
This is the kind of narrative congruity we should be looking for in movie marketing of all flavours. However deliberately it dismantles our ability to suspend disbelief, the video ultimately evokes the spirit of the fiction waiting for us in the cinema. Beadle would be proud.