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Walter Mitty puts digital asset management on Hollywood’s radar

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Last night, I watched Ben Stiller’s version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Okay, I’m a little (maybe a lot) behind since it was in theaters at Christmas of 2013, but outings to the movies just aren’t as frequent when you have young children. It was, however, worth the wait. I was pleasantly surprised by the remake of the 1947 movie. Much attention was given to aesthetics and a clever mix of visual media really brought the dreamy quality of the story to life.

In the original movie, Danny Kaye plays Walter Mitty – a daydreamer working at a publishing house. In the remake, Ben Stiller plays Walter Mitty. Also a daydreamer, but get this – an asset manager at LIFE magazine. Granted, it isn’t a glamorous portrayal of Walter managing shelves of negatives in the basement of the LIFE building, but the entire movie is focused on how this benign employee is given the very important job of “taking care of negative 25.” A photo negative submitted by one of LIFE’s most prominent photographers as the cover photo for their final issue. Walter’s entire journey in the movie is based on successfully managing that asset.

Official Trailer | The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) | 20th Century FOX

It got me thinking about how the perception of digital asset management has shifted, even in the past few years. Hollywood is nothing more than a reflection of what’s around us. If asset management has an important role in the movie, it’s because asset management is gaining widespread interest in real life, too. The industry is attracting brilliant minds from all walks of the professional world and digital asset management is no longer a foreign term or ambiguous concept. It has a seat at the big table and is seen as a core technology to keep business running smoothly and protect all the valuable “stuff” we create each day while we work.

The titles of those who oversee digital asset management at organizations are also very telling of this change in perception. It’s not just an archive and preserve function anymore, it’s a marketing function, a creative function, and a business function. And, it’s being given full-time responsibility, as it should be, rather than just a few hours piggybacked onto someone else’s job.

Here are a few of those titles:

  • Director of Digital Assets
  • Marketing Media Systems Manager
  • Director, LIFE Picture Collection (ironic)
  • Digital Services Manager
  • Creative Services Manager
  • Digital Director
  • Senior Technical Specialist
  • UX and Asset Manager


You get the idea. 

I’m anxious to see where DAM goes in the coming years and how many other movies latch onto it’s charm for character development. You can see Ben Stiller go into asset management mode here, as he examines LIFE’s photo negative collection. And if you’re looking for a simple feel good film, I encourage you to watch the movie in its entirety. It truly shows that a little asset management can go a long way.

Contact us to learn more about how Widen is changing the perception of digital asset management.

Topics: Culture & Company

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