Keen On… The Future Starts Here: Why AOL Might Be The New Hollywood Studio

At last count, Tiffany Shlain‘s massively successful new AOL short film series, The Future Starts Here, has already racked up 8.5 million views. An eight part series about life in our digital age, Shlain’s new series includes such off-beat subjects as Technology Shabbat and the hilarious Tech Etiquette, which she told me was inspired by “everyone becoming total jerks with their cellphones”. The purpose of the series, she told me, was to create 3-6 minute videos designed to encourage her viewers to wrestle with big ideas about technology.

AOL’s commitment to Shlain’s work is encouraging. They are, she told me, the new studio. And Shlain – with her ability to squeeze big ideas into short form video – represents the future of documentary filmmaking. As the founder of the Webby Awards, Shlain imported Hollywood to Silicon Valley. But in her current role as a video chronicler of digital culture, Shlain is exporting both Silicon Valley’s message and its medium back to the Hollywood studios.