Doc of the Day: PressPausePlay Review - Dan Schindel

Doc of the Day: PressPausePlay

Posted in Days of Docs by - September 19, 2012

The future is here. What does this mean for the distribution of media?

Dir. David Dworsky & Victor Köhler, 2011, 80 min, Viewed via Netflix Instant

I saw that this movie was available to view through a Xbox. I decided on a whim to watch it, and instantly it was playing out before me. If I wish, I can click a button on Amazon and instantly download any book I desire to read to my Kindle. I can listen to any song in history through a wide variety of options, all of which are a thought away. In fact… there, now I’m listening to songs featured on Scrubs through Spotify as I write this.

We live in an age of unprecedented access to entertainment. For thousands of years, art consisted of turning ideas into something concrete. Now, progress has actually reduced art, in a way. An idea can go from the mind to full realization without ever becoming something tangible*. All of art is electricity ready to fly before us at our beckoning. It’s a new paradigm fraught with possibility. So the question arises: what does this mean? That’s what PressPausePlay examines.

The doc resolutely does not seek an answer to the question, only to explore it. Which is smart, since all but the most adept prognosticators usually turn out to be embarrassingly wrong about what new developments portend. Instead, the various subjects use the topic as a chance for speculation and introspection, looking at where we are now, and where we might end up going. The interviewees are mainly people who have profited off of this new model of on-demand entertainment. They include music producer Moby, filmmaker/actor Lena Dunham, and the guy who invented the RED camera, among others.

More than a few chewy issues arise. The most prominent is probably the question of the ultimate meritocracy of the web. The Internet has created an audience for every single potential artist on Earth. Now, work can be released into the world without any filters whatsoever. There’s so much more flying about now, so what is the discerning viewer/listener/reader to do? Does this immeasurably larger outpouring of stuff reduce the overall quality of what is put out? Is that a fair trade-off for giving a voice to those who might never have been heard before these advancements? Or are even these worthy voices being mostly drowned out in the cacophony of people who have no business trying to make art tossing out their shoddy work?

It’s a problem. And there’s not really a solution, per se, that can be provided. It’s a brave, strange new world, and we just have to adapt. As someone trying to raise their voice above the noise, all I can do is try to have a smarter voice than anyone else. PressPausePlay is a very pleasant to look at and pleasant to watch little movie. While it has something of a lack of resolution to its central idea, that’s pretty much the point. It’s about a revolution that’s still ongoing. There is no punctuation mark on it yet.

*Not a perfect way to put it, since tangible aspects still exist as part of the process of creation – shooting a film, playing an instrument, and so on. But you get what I’m saying, right?

This post was written by
Dan Schindel is a writer and editor. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
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