“Most filmmakers think that when they finish the film, they're done. … But they're not even half done. They're not half done. They're 49% done. And [filmmakers] don't think about it that way. It's no longer a matter of offering something and assuming that it's going to find it's natural audience. It's not going to because there's so much stuff out there. (personal communication, April 6, 2012)Unless a filmmaker has built an expansive personal platform or her or she partners with an organization with reach, the likelihood of a non-strategic film reaching an interested audience is low. Good films do not land audiences by virtue alone; good films require strategic production and distribution to succeed. These strategies might be developed by deliberately cultivating positive gatekeeping forces and/or lowering negative ones. After all, “it’s not a story until you’re telling it to somebody” (personal communication, December 7, 2012). Qualitative returns. Although a clear and growing niche market supports micro-documentarians, most filmmakers produce work in pursuit of a range of qualitative returns rather than sole financial compensation. These qualitative returns might include humanitarian concerns, a sense of nobility, personal growth, professional growth, building a portfolio, building a community around a particular topic, or prestige of association with a certain brand. Jobs as commercial directors (advertising) or working journalists (journalism) certainly exist and in fact, overlap. However, micro-documentaries cannot be mass-produced, and therefore micro-documentary directors’ professional models resemble those of artists and craftsmen. Although market demand is increasing, market value for micro-documentaries is relatively low considering the wide skillsets and long labor required. Fortunately, the importance of qualitative returns for micro-documentarians buffers their profession against market demands. Share-ability. Many filmmakers alluded to “share-ability” as a guiding production principle. Any estimations of share-ability involve evaluation of the audience’s viewing habits and desires. If micro-documentarians believe Internet audience is at best attention-deficit and at worst frivolous, then an over-dependence on share-ability places significant boundaries on the tone, length and topic of micro-documentaries. Critically, an emphasis on share-ability surrenders to the infrastructural biases of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These platforms were not created with micro-documentary values in mind. As organizations funded by advertising, Twitter and Facebook value the volume of content consumed and the frequency of user visits rather than the quality or importance of that content. As one micro-documentarian noted, Facebook’s primary button is “Like” not “Important.” On the other hand, filmmaker’s desire for share-ability— or distribution within online social networks— also indicates acceptance of a certain level of entrepreneurship as beneficial, if not necessary. These filmmakers are considering audience during multiple production stages, and they are tailoring their messages to travel well in the online environment. Although purists might worry whether filmmakers are trading their message’s integrity for mass appeal, the truth is that no medium is value-neutral. Total disregard for the Internet’s unique demands could easily result in a radical reduction in audience. Thus, filmmakers, as always, have to balance their desires to maintain authorial integrity and to share their story with a wide audience. Additionally, micro-documentarian’s conceptions of a diverse, distracted and attention-deficit audience may lead them to shape their content in new ways. Given the audience’s unpredictability, filmmakers may resort to using their own interests and curiosities as guides for shaping content. Decorporealization. When asked whom they considered their gatekeepers, many interviewees found it difficult to provide an answer. When pressed, nine interviewees stated, more or less explicitly, that they believe there are no gatekeepers anymore. Eight interviewees believed that gatekeepers still exist but that they are changing. Four reported that everyone is now a gatekeeper. Of course, these answers make sense only in the context of the Internet. Within organizations, gatekeepers certainly exist in the form of supervisors and colleagues, as interviewees suggested. However, when one arts videojournalist was asked if she saw gatekeepers for her stories outside of her organization, she responded with “Isn’t that outside of the gate?” (personal correspondence, December 21, 2012). Indeed, in previous gatekeeping models, established publication points enjoyed pockets of dedicated readers or viewers, and publishing meant reaching that audience. Under the traditional gatekeeping model, if you “get past the gatekeeper, you have their audience” (personal communication, January 21, 2013). Thus under the new model, the potential audience is much larger, but the guaranteed audience is in most cases much smaller. Today and especially online, the primary gate has shifted from one between the communicator and the platform to one between the platform and the audience. Traversing that second gate has more to do with visibility than publishing. In keeping with this shift, interviewees discussing gatekeeping spoke less about people and more about “influences,” “pressures,” “requirements,” “restrictions,” “frustrations,” “difficulties,” “boundaries,” and “possibilities” that affected their productions. When interviewees did actually supply a gatekeeper, they listed Vimeo, Vimeo’s Staff Picks, Facebook, Reddit, Google, or YouTube. They also referenced popular blogs, social media, and other online sources that were “trusted” (personal communication, December 13, 2012) or had “taste” (personal communication, December 10, 2012). No interviewee mentioned an established news organization—broadcast, print or radio— as a current gatekeeper. Referencing his own media consumption habits, a journalist-turned-filmmaker said “I don't care where it is as long as it's what I want and when I want it, … I don't see any gatekeeper. I'm not loyal to anybody” (personal communication, December 17, 2012). The central metaphor of gatekeeping theory— that of an individual standing between a message and its audience— applies only in limited contexts today. The original gatekeeping study involved a single editor selecting wire stories for inclusion in a small town newspaper. Subsequent articulations of the theory have adapted to the complexities of the media ecosystem, and now the theory addresses multiple levels of analysis (Shoemaker & Vos, 2009) and the overlap of old and new media models (Barzilai-Nahon, 2008). Based on this study’s analysis, gatekeeping theory should address gatekeeping’s decorporealization, meaning the transfer of gatekeeping power from elite individuals to emergent forces. Online, there is no one tending the gate between publisher and platform; that gatekeeper is no one and everyone. As one interviewee noted, gatekeeping theory traditionally assumes an “active agent” or “purposeful blockage,” whereas today content producers are presented with an array of “passive phenomena” that comprise an “ecosystem of challenges” (personal communication, December 6, 2012). Indeed many of the reported gatekeepers— designers of Facebook’s interface, Internet service providers, developers of search algorithms— are in fact content-neutral. Rather than keeping a gate whose fundamental nature is blockage, they keep a bridge whose fundamental nature is passage. Rather than selectively permitting passage based on a collection of standards particular to a message’s content, new gatekeepers— or bridge-keepers— regulate the flow of information from producer to consumer. The former chief value is selecting a program of relevant content in scarce publication space; the new chief value is maximizing a library of relevant content in abundant publication space. Thus the new gatekeepers care less about what a message says and more about whether it has been said at all. Considering these findings, gatekeeping theory must evolve. At least in the micro-documentary genre, bridge-keeping entities and gatekeeping forces both bind and channel the agency of micro-documentary filmmakers. Online, gatekeepers are disembodied and their power transferred to a distributed network of forces, hidden and conspicuous, strong and weak, citizen and corporate. The major players are the same— source, author, and audience— but a message’s path from player to player has changed dramatically. Gatekeepers are still valuable but no longer required.