Netflix: New Wave, New Face

R.T. Donlon is back! Today is December 28 and, I feel, it is the start of something new. It's the beginning of the next chapter in the R.T. Donlon origination story. I am writer, but besides Walls and the first three-quarters of The Last of the Wanderers (a work of short fiction), I have not made a second definitive staple in the world of authorship. That will change on May 2nd, 2015 when The Reaper Trials is debuted on Lulu.com, the Amazon Marketplace, iBooks, and the Barnes & Noble online bookstore!

If you haven't seen the cover art made by Creative Edge Arts (see their website here), check it out below in all of its glory!

The Reaper Trials Cover

I am so amazingly proud of this design and the work that Creative Edge Arts has done for my upcoming story. It's going to be a wild ride from here through the summer of 2015!

But that's not what this blog post is really about now, is it? Read the title, you silly R.T. fans! Netflix, out of all the times I've used the convenient streaming entity, has really peaked my curiosity with their induction of new series such as House of CardsOrange is the New BlackPeaky Blinders, and the most recent of the bunch, Marco Polo.

Now usually this wouldn't mean anything. After all, everyone craves interesting television shows that they can invest in, veg out of, or perhaps escape from their hectic schedules, but I've noticed a sort of paradigm shift in the way the entertainment culture is working to capture our attention.

And it all starts with this bad boy:

I'll admit that I was never a Netflix fan until about two years ago. I thought it was another societal scam to offer bad movies and television shows for a monthly charge to people who had a little too much time on their hands. Being a busy college kid and then a very busy teacher, coach, and writer, I never really had any interest in paying for a few hours of bad storytelling, but....I was wrong.

Netflix started attracting me by the onslaught of television shows I could binge watch. Instead of sitting through commercials and waiting once a week for the next installment of whatever you're watching, Netflix makes it possible to watch 1 or 2 or 3 or more installments without leaving your couch. That's pretty cool.

But this isn't why I'm writing about Netflix. Stop looking at me like that! I know, I know...there's more.

The creation of Netflix Originals is something that is wavering society's view on entertainment towards some new horizon. No longer are we limited to the role of big name television channels. Netflix has opened the door for creative freedom--more freedom than our generation is, frankly, used to.

So, why is this a big deal? In the next ten, twenty, or fifty years, I think we will look back on what is happening in today's world and point to these moments as a time when media shifted permanently.

Take self-publishing as a pertinent example. No longer do authors need to submit query letters to big time publishing companies. Sure, the opportunity is still there...and what an accomplishment it would be if traditional publishing was an option for someone, but honestly it is no longer needed. All you need is a good idea, the skill to communicate that idea, and a third party that will help you get your idea out there. So many authors are flooding to this way of writing because, first, it is largely accessible and, secondly, it's a way to skip the involvement of editors/marketers/big wigs that might muddle the story the author wants to tell.

Netflix is doing the exact same thing here, except they have already established themselves as an institution that will provide useful and fantastic entertainment to its customers. The creation of these new Netflix Originals is just the next step in their reinvestment to their ultimate goal. It won't be long until Netflix is a self-sustaining production empire. $7.99/mo is so worth it for such a wide expanse of material you can't find anywhere else online or on television.

So what do you think? Is this paradigm shift a good thing? Is it just another step into the negative censorship argument? Perhaps, but regardless, I see it as completely unprecedented in either case, whether positive or negative.

Let's talk.