[The 90’s raw: Matt York]

Raw footage for the award-winning series The 90's. Matt York, founder, publisher and editor of Videomaker magazine, talks about the power of video and television.

00:00Copy video clip URL The tape opens as York describes his experience of being on the Bozo show as a young child, in comparison to his children’s experiences. York sits in front of a map of Indonesia.

00:30Copy video clip URL They start over, and York repeats his story about Bozo. “I felt I was just as important as Walter Cronkite [because I was on TV]… My son had a very different experience, since he was on video since he was very little, he had seen himself on a TV screen.”

01:44Copy video clip URL Videomaker Starr Sutherland asks about York’s motives in starting Videomaker magazine, and York says that he took a sabbatical from video, and when he came back to the video scene, he was impressed by the new technology. He began a newsletter, and quickly expanded it to be a national magazine. “I was very much underestimating the significance, or the difficulty of [making a magazine]… but I was simply an agent on a mission.”

04:23Copy video clip URL Videomaker began as an idea in 1984. York describes the audience of his magazine: amateurs who are deciding what to buy, enthusiastic hobbyists, enthusiasts who may have some income from videomaking, semi-professionals, and video professionals. He also says the majority of his readers are male, though he doesn’t know why.

07:33Copy video clip URL Sutherland zooms in on his face, and York describes the magazine as the largest magazine explicitly devoted to the video camera user, and video production by everyday people. “The magazine has nothing to do with sitting on a couch and watching television. It’s really about doing as opposed to watching, active versus passive.”

08:48Copy video clip URL York himself, however, does not do a lot of his own video, mostly shooting for his family. “I’m not chronicling my life, really, as much as a super-avid reader [would be].” When he does videotape, he tries to capture conversations that aren’t usually taped. He is more involved in producing media that has a cultural impact. His clock goes off, briefly interrupting the interview.

11:16Copy video clip URL Sutherland is confused by his devotion to the magazine, and yet his apathy about actually videotaping himself, and York reasons that taping families is merely nostalgic, and thinks there are better uses for the technology.

13:01Copy video clip URL York talks about the opportunity for “the application of video cameras to invoke political change.” He does not advocate any political view in particular, and likes that ideas can be more widespread through the personal use of video. “As we move further through the ’90s, there are going to be so many positions that are able to be captured on video that we’re going to get closer to capturing the truth of things… The truth of the matter will come through if enough people have access to the technology.”

15:25Copy video clip URL Sutherland asks if Rodney King was good for York’s business, and York says that it added to his customer base. He also discusses the invasion of privacy – “that’s the other side of the coin, the danger.” He says personal video use could become a “George Orwell problem.”

17:36Copy video clip URL Sutherland pursues this George Orwell idea, and York talks about it as a “double-edged sword”; though there is a problem with privacy, on the other hand now everyone can have access to camcorders and the aristocracy is not the only group that has the technology.

19:01Copy video clip URL York talks about distribution and enabling users. He talks about The 90’s, which has been successful in “infiltrating a small channel.” He talks about the limitation on access to a wide variety of video content. “When you walk into a good library, you have incredible choices of subject matter by different authors with different opinions. Technically speaking and socially speaking, we should have the same kind of access when we’re sitting in our living room.” He thinks we are moving closer and closer to this end, and cites specific instances and technicalities.

22:27Copy video clip URL York talks briefly about the role of video rental stores, and then about how video should be used for practical things– like learning how to improve one’s home– and is optimistic for the future of TV in enabling people to do this easily. He wants people to be able to decide how they and their children want to spend their time in front of the TV, instead of having advertisements.

28:42Copy video clip URL Sutherland asks if York would call himself a “futurist,” and he responds by saying that he is trying to use capitalist methods to implement his philosophy. He used to doubt capitalism, but thinks that capitalism in check has been working well, at least in his experience of starting a company. He talks about stock in his company, and says, “I was amazed that I could take nothing, and sell it!” He finds it necessary to stay grounded and not get lost in capitalism.

32:10Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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