Of the five men and women nominated for best directing of a feature film by the DGA this morning, only one of them is an active Twitter user. He’s also the only one under the age of 35, and the only one who truly seems to get the social media world. I’m not just saying that because Jason Reitman, director of Up in the Air, interacts with fans and friends alike via the social-networking service, but because he demonstrates a keen understanding of how one can use media of all types to create a conversation with an audience.
We sing his praises today specifically because of the short film Lost In The Air: The Jason Reitman Press Tour Simulator, a two-and-a-half minute montage from Reitman’s experiences publicizing his George Clooney recession dramedy. As described by SlashFilm, which was given the exclusive premiere of the short, Reitman spent the past few months meticulously documenting via photos and video not just the members of the press he spoke with, but the food and drinks provided, the locations he was interviewed and other minutiae of the junket experience.
Up in the Air, if you haven’t seen it, has a crowdsourced feel: Interviews with real people who experienced layoffs are scattered throughout the film, and the song played over the closing credits was performed by an aspiring St. Louis singer-songwriter who managed to get an unsolicited cassette tape of his demo into Reitman’s hands. And that’s an attitude that continues with Lost in the Air, especially the montage of Up in the Air tickets that closes the film — for, no, they don’t come from Reitman’s obsessive viewing of his own movie, but from Twitter followers responding to a request for photos of their stubs.
It’s hard for those of us who will never experience it ourselves to imagine the monotony of 100 different conference rooms and hotel suites, the barrage of faces asking the same 10 questions, the assault of audio recorders almost uniform in their variety. But with Lost in the Air, Reitman comes close — which is the mark of a great filmmaker.