The Social Network and the Layers of Filmmaking
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The Social Network and the Layers of Filmmaking


Hi. My name is Gabe and in this video,
I’ll be looking into The Social Network, my personal choice for the
best film of the last thirty years. I thought the response to this film was fascinating: critics loved it, but unlike
most films critics love, audiences liked it too. They didn’t like it nearly as much as the
critics though, which begged the question: what made this film so special? What do some people
see in it that others don’t? First, a disclaimer. Whenever I talk about this film,
I am specifically talking about the film, not its real-life counterparts. Mark Zuckerberg is Mark Zuckerberg
the character, not the person. How accurate this film is to real life really
doesn’t interest me, for reasons I’ll get into later. Oh, and there’ll be spoilers here as well. Alright, back to our video. In my opinion, what makes
The Social Network so special is simple: depth. What the film is really about. There are so many things going on in this
film, so many layers all working together, it really is incredible. First, you have your base layers: the plot
is how Facebook was created, the characters are the creators, and the story is how the creation of Facebook
destroyed the relationships of its creators. How about now, you still wired in? I think these aspects are what most audiences
enjoyed about the film. But to find out what is so special about The
Social Network, we have to go deeper, beyond plot and story
to what the film is actually about. And here,
The Social Network is a treasure trove. So, what is The Social Network about? Is it about friendship? That’s the story after all. Or betrayal, which is how the story is resolved? Is it about entrepreneurship? Ambition? The act of creation? Or maybe it’s more specific. Is the film about old versus new? Old east coast versus
new west coast plays a big part in this film. Maybe the film is about
well-roundedness versus obsession? The Winklevii are well-rounded,
as they so often love to remind us Three hour low rate technical row
before breakfast, full course load, studying, another three hours
in the tank, and then studying. while Mark is anything but. Mark was supposed to pick me up at the
airport an hour ago, I’ve been calling his cell. He was on a thirty-six hour coding tear
so he took a nap for a couple of hours. Maybe the film is about education versus instinct,
or what we’ve learned versus what we know? Everything Eduardo does is based on his education, I love working with business majors. Economics. while everything Mark does
is based on what he somehow just knows. Adams has no security but limits
the number of results to twenty a page. All I need is to break out the
same script I used on Lowell and we’re set. It’s pretty amazing how much was
packed into this film, how much it is about. Just check out these three moments: Eduardo Saverin, co-founder and CFO. You have no idea what
that’s going to mean to my father. Sure I do. I’m being accused of animal cruelty;
it’s better to be accused of necrophilia. It is better to be accused of necrophilia. I’ll have to explain this to my father. I was your only friend, you had one friend. My father won’t even look at me- Okay, Eduardo Minus the Winkleviis who hide behind their
dad, these are the only references to parents in the entire film. But even so, the message is powerful, and it took less than
twenty seconds to add this dynamic to the film. The truth is, The Social Network
is about everything I just mentioned, but it is also about none of them. Because the next layer down,
the layer that is so rare for a film to execute on, is what the film is really about. Some people may call this the theme,
although I’m not a huge fan of that word, it’s great for analysis but
doesn’t have much use in the creative process. Instead, I like to say it’s the film’s heart,
it is the singular idea where everything comes from: plot, character, meaning, everything. It is where a film’s power comes from,
it is what makes the film resonate, it gives the film everything and is what makes it great. So, what is Social Network really about? I’m talking about taking the entire social
experience of college and putting it online. Simply put, it’s about change. About changing the world, about changing yourself. More specifically,
The Social Network is about how for some people it is easier to change the world
than it is to change themselves. Every single aspect of
Social Network comes from this. For example, here are two of the most important
elements of any film: the first and last scenes. Just look at how different they are,
the film starting dark and old-fashioned, filled with people talking face-to-face, then ending
bright and modern, with Mark alone on his computer. The world has completely changed,
yet in both Mark is an outcast, failing to communicate and rejected by society. Mark may have changed the world,
but he hasn’t changed himself. Eduardo on the other hand,
definitely changes, from a think-small schoolboy to someone who has experienced how the world works. I mean, just look at the way he walks,
in the beginning, in the end. Also, look at what he’s wearing, from a ridiculous
Hawaiian outfit to a good-looking high-end suit. Compare this to Mark, wearing F-you clothes
in the beginning, wearing F-you clothes in the end, You say: Sean Parker says fuck you. not caring how he walks in the beginning,
not caring how he walks in the end. It is also worth noting that unlike Mark,
Eduardo never is an outcast, he’s accepted by the Fraternity in the beginning, I got punched by the Phoenix. and accepted by the audience in the end. Here’s your nineteen thousand dollars. I wouldn’t cash it though,
I drew it on the account you froze. I like standing next to you Sean,
makes me look so tough. As for the other characters,
Sean doesn’t change, reckless and irresponsible in the beginning and the end. You’re not like fifteen years old
or anything, are you? No, wait you’re not like fifteen are you? It’s the cops! Erica changes,
from thinking of Mark’s creation as a joke Good luck with your videogame. to using it herself. And finally,
Divya and the Winklevii don’t change: they are cocky insiders who
hide behind their family in the beginning, Anne, how did they get this appointment? Colleagues of their father. and they are cocky insiders
who hide behind their lawyer in the end. How would- how would you know?
You weren’t even there. Ty! It’s interesting what
the filmmakers are doing here. The characters who created
Facebook are obsessive, instinctual outcasts, ones who tried to change the world to fit in with them. The characters who tried to create Facebook
but didn’t are well-rounded, educated individuals who don’t need to change
because they already run things. And the characters who never
thought about changing the world, they are well-rounded,
educated individuals who change and fit in. It’s also not a coincidence that these last
two are the likeable characters in this film. Well why don’t you just concentrate
on being the best you you can be? Did you really just say that? I was kidding. So, what does it mean that obsessed,
instinctual outcasts changed the world, and well-rounded likeables and insiders don’t? I think if your clients want to sit on
my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have a right to give it a try
but there is no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention,
you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the
offices of Facebook where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room,
including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing. What does it mean that for some people
it is easier to change the world than it is to change themselves? What are the filmmakers trying to say here? All this once again brings us to what
The Social Network is really about (last one, I promise). David Fincher didn’t go to film school;
he dove straight into filmmaking instead. And as a director he’s definitely obsessed. Aaron Sorkin also never learned
screenwriting, he just picked it up and it clicked. I also think it’s safe to say
that he is an obsessive. And despite being Hollywood players,
they are still outcasts of sorts, making deep,
artistic films when that definitely is not in. Are these two changing the world? That’s up for you to decide, but I think it’s
pretty clear that they put themselves into this film. They opened themselves up and
spilled their guts, Sorkin on the page, Fincher on set. They did this so we could better
understand them, so they could better fit in. Them and people like them. This is why I don’t care how accurate the
characters are to their real-life counterparts: the film isn’t about the real-life counterparts;
it is about the people who created it, and those who are like them. Like all great works of art,
the artists put themselves on display in this piece, bleeding on the page, on the screen, showing us
who they are, what they think, how they see the world, what they believe, and how they feel. And letting us connect with all that,
relate to it if we’re like them, understand it if we’re not. All of this, the personal, the openness,
the connections these filmmakers make, that is what The Social Network is really about.

91 thoughts on “The Social Network and the Layers of Filmmaking

  1. Normally I listen to videos like this while I do something else but you had me hooked from the beginning and had my full attention through out. Excellent analysis and explanation. You definitely have a subscriber! Good work!

  2. Hey Gabriel, your content, your writing is better than 80-90% percent of other video essay channels. That being said I'd love to see you put a bit more into the way you present your ideas visually — youtube is after all just as visual a medium as film. Keep up the good work!

  3. And I thought I could analyse movies! I watched The Social Network twice and I knew right away it wasn’t a biography/documentary or anything of that sort. But I couldn’t capture the essence of it. Somehow what I got from it was that your passion comes before your friends, not that I agree to this.

  4. 1. This reminds of a quote from The Departed "I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me."
    2. You say it doesn't matter how accurate it is to the real life counterparts, but if the real life counterparts are the filmmakers, and the depth of the film originates from how the characters reflect them, wouldn't it matter how accurate the reflection is?
    P.S. Thought the video was great
    Edit- Grammar

  5. Very well done. I really appreciate your commentary, it aws unlike any I'd heard before. Also, I completely agree that The Social Network is the best film of the last 30 years.

  6. I watched it when I was around 19, you know that age when you wanna do sth, be someone and have big impact in the world. Also at a cross point whether to get into college just to get a degree (for job employment of course), or ditch higher education cos I always see it as another institutionalised capitalism (less about real skills). I remembered thinking "wtf is this move about" cos it ain't like any other documentary life sketch. But one thing I realised, every decision has its opportunity cost. It was about priority over values: curiosity, dedication on getting sth done, friendship, etc.

    I like how you sketched it. Gonna watch it again. And can't wait to see u around, making great stuffs.

  7. In the end, you talk about how the film is about the artist. That reminded me of a game, The Beginner's Guide, and interpretations of the game, telling not to mistake the work for the artist. I would take that in consideration, but not denying there might be, at least to some extent and in one way or another, a glimpse of the artist in his work.

    I've found your channel because of 500 days of summer today, and have watched also the ones about Infinity War, Carrie and Whiplash. It feels refreshing and original, not showing only what is obvious, but also pointing to details I guess I'd never thought of. Great job, and, please, keep it up : )

  8. This is a great analysis. I love this film so much but when I tell about this movie to my friends they all just assume that this movie is about the creating of Facebook. In reality, that narrative is just a vehicle for the storytelling. David Fincher is truly a remarkable director.

  9. What 'The Social Network' is 'really' about ( at least more than the manifold sub-themes cited in the video ) is the drive most of us have to improve our social standing and the vast insecurity that lies behind it. Facebook is primarily a tool by which to feel one is improving one's social standing. The great ironic theme of the film is that this tool, which makes so many millions feel like socially connected 'insiders,' was devised by a disconnected and distinct 'outsider.' Facebook is the ironic revenge of the marginalized, unwanted nerd, who made himself the king of modern social 'connection' by creating his own kingdom and inviting in a billion social subjects. Placing himself at the apex of the most powerful social tool in human history, Mark Zuckerberg became the puppet-master of all the social strings which connect the millions of people who themselves use Facebook to reassure themselves they are grabbing a tiny slice of the same peer acceptance that their king was never granted until he created a world in which to fill that very need.

  10. Thank you for explaining to me what it is I don't like about this movie. A couple talented jerks who think they're better for having never gotten formal training wrote a story about a talented jerk who never got any formal training being the sad hero. As someone who thought he was that talented and realized while getting formal training that he was actually just a semi-talented jerk and learned to be more empathetic, that kind of story just makes me wish more suffering and loneliness on the protagonist until they "grow up."

  11. Not the only reference to parents in the film 3:40 . Mark says in en email to the twins that he has to meet with his parents

  12. I love your analyses! Gained a new subscriber. Really caught me with the detail about Mark in the beginning and ending scene. Can’t wait for new vids! I’m proud of you! ❤️

  13. “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

  14. i didn't see the whole movie but from what i saw here i would actually say that the "hawaii outfit" boy becomes a douche covered with a suit which to me is not that likeable

  15. Thank you for explaning why I liked the film so much! I could never really grasp or even tell people why. I just felt it. I felt the “theme” of the film and why the characters change (or don’t). Also I like the way you present your ideas. Normally I’d be sick of yet another video eassy on YouTube, but I think you put a lot of thought into your videos and don’t just try to be smart (I feel like a lot of video essay creators give off that vibe). So thank you and keep up the good work! I seriously wonder why you don’t have a million subscribers yet 🙂

  16. wow, great video! i love your insights. always wondered why exactly this film made me feel slightly uncomfortable but after this video essay i think i get why! there really is something about how personal this film is that can get you to relate or sympathize on a deeper level.

  17. Communication is the tool that enables society, our relationships are dependent on it… yet, the minds that can come up with progress and geniality are usually not adept to it.
    Mark the character, creates a tool that allows for unchecked virtual communication all around the world, yet his isolation persists.

  18. I think the film is really about social anxiety and the fear of rejection. Mark is never really jerk he just doesn't know how to act with people. Somehow he believes he could overcome it, if he changed the entire structure of social interactions. But in the end he didn't get what he hoped for. His anxiety just transferred to a new medium. People who profited from Facebook where the ones that are already well adapted. They didn't need it, however they were the one's who used it.

  19. i don't think trent roznor gets nearly enough credit. talk about a supergroup when you have a sorkin script, fincher directing, and reznor providing that dark ambience is hard to mess up

  20. Nice video , i love your writing and your analysis . But what’s up with the creepy horror movies music ? It kept me on edge the whole time.

  21. The movie was terrible. It was just that weird kid with the same blank serious state on his face the entire time and some creepy, cringy JT scenes. It should have ended with him going to prison for Embezzlement, but you know, #whitecollarcrimes.

  22. Amazing video! You make stellar content and I’m proud to be a subscriber! It would be cool to see a video on “Goodfellas” it’s on of my favorites

  23. Mark zuckerberg is a fucking crook and snake even tho the story isn’t fully accurate he still fucked over his business partner and stole the idea

  24. Best film of the last 30 years! It was good, but there have been a lot of great films over the years. Hell, I can think of several that were better just starting with the word "American" in a 5 year span: American Beauty, American History X, and Amerocan Psycho.

  25. Great vid! I love the Social Network. It's a bold statement to call it the best move in the last 30 years, but hey, opinions differ.

  26. I didn't really like the movie the first time I watched it. This makes me appreciate it much more, and makes me want to check it out again.

  27. I've watched several analyses of this film but have never had the interest to watch it. No doubt it looks interesting, but I've had enough of 'Zuckerberg the Legendary Outsider' stories to last me my entire life. I don't think I could view it as 'just a film' when FB is so prevalent in our modern life, as is Zuckerberg himself.

    Of course, not having seen the film it's hardly fair to criticise it, but I don't think I could divorce the characterisation from what I know of the real person and what continues to be revealed.

  28. Wonderful video! I loved your take and analysis of the film! I also think the film is written from the perspective of Edward. That is why we see Mark as the unchanging immature backstabbing social outcast, why we see the twins as uppity entitled high society snobs, and why Sean Parker is a partying immature mistress of Mark’s. This is also why we sympathize with Edward from the beginning to the end. This is the story of Mark and Facebook told through the eyes of Edward. What do you think of my take on the perspective of this movie?

  29. I feel like this was overthought. The "heart" of the story wasn't "change", it was their friendship and Mark's insecurity-driven destruction of it.

  30. This movie is also my pick for best movie of the century. I agree with all your points and I really like the fact that Fincher and Sorkin put so much care into any tiny detail which makes every viewing even more interesting. What I think The Social Network is really about : Mark's unconventional love for Erica and how he finally can't get over her besides his game changing success.
    Sorkin is actually putting some tiny details about it : one that actually reveal this theme 1 hour into the film. During a meeting between the Facebook founders at Harvard: Mark asks Eduardo to put an article about Facebook in the BU's journal (Erica's school) and even saying that he is ready to give 10 hours of free code lessons to get the article published.
    Anyway, great video for a game changing movie !

  31. It's about GREED and sex… Simple as that.
    People think of two things in life, sex, and MONEY.
    Yes, as a matter of fact, I DO know what the fuck I'm talking about.
    ALL OTHER THINGS if life? yeah, they come out of these two factors.
    Think I'm wrong?
    Give it some time and WATCH and see.
    The "close" friends you THINK you have now? yeah…
    they'll be the FIRST to fuck you over.
    the VERY first…
    SO… take it from someone who's LIVED IT.
    Chose your friends wisely…
    keep them close…
    keep your enemy's? closer…

    Watch and see…

    Aesir –

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