I started this blog for several different reasons. I was a film nerd that needed to channel my obsessive movie watching into something constructive. I also was (and am) an aspiring writer who thought (and thinks) that I have a unique voice. I also wanted to become a professional freelancer. All of these things pointed me to making a blog. So I went to wordpress.com one day, picked out a format, thought about what I wanted the blog to be about (I threw around cat videos for a while…), and wrote my first blog post. It was as simple as that. What isn’t so simple is being able to be heard over the multitude of other writers writing about the same things I am. I am still trying to figure that out (and mostly failing…), but I still have a product. A product I could take to anyone and say “Hey I am a writer… Do you want to see my blog?” This was not something that I would have been able to do fifteen to twenty years ago. If I wanted to be a film critic, I could not just start writing about film on a public forum. I had to write sample essays, start queries, and answer for calls for writers until I was able to get into a venue that stuck. Internet has changed so much, not just my field but every other creative field out there. PressPausePlay explores this change that the internet enacted and its effect on the artist community.
The filmmakers get to have some unique conversations with people. Lena Dunham explores how she was able to get noticed and how the advances in technology helped her write and direct a film for so cheap. Moby talks about how the advances in technology has helped to improve his field, but also the drawbacks of these improvements. A writer extolls the virtue of self publishing. But then you have the naysayers. Journalists of music bemoan the inability to track musicians through all the noise the internet puts out everyday. Other interviewees predict a breakdown of art because everyone thinks that they are in fact an artist. Giving them these tools that are so easy to learn, so easy to produce different things does not make the people who are making art worth paying attention to. What is the future going to behold? Are we going to be having this same argument in five, ten or twenty years? Or is the internet culture going to be taken as a given like television, film or radio is now?
This documentary is lovely to look at but it falters in a couple of places. There is too much emphasis on the music industry. The music industry is just one facet that has been severely impacted by the advent of the internet. What about journalism, or movie making, or painting or a myriad of other creative endeavors? I also feel like they barely scratch the surface of any concept and the film just devolves into a series of talking heads followed by a series of beautiful images. All of the people they interview have intensely interesting things to say and yet sometimes you cannot hear it over the imposing score or the sequences that show off the filmmakers’ prowess. And what is up with the product plugs? They barely get into why the Red Camera is important to the new landscape of filmmaking and yet they waste precious minutes in their documentary showing people use the Red camera. And they also decided to plop a promotion for USC in the middle of the film as well. I think that film school vs. learning things on your own is a good debate to have, but not form someone who is obviously just touting USC’s benefits. These two sequences and a couple of others made the rest of the film less important because of the inclusion of them.
This film is but a starter for a debate that will be raging for some time. What will be the effects that the internet will have on the community? Although we are seeing some tangible changes like the value of art going down, the loss of local communities, and the promotion of the DIY spirit, the effects won’t truly be shown for quite some time. So the debate will continue in the many different spaces of the internet, at dinner parties, and during classes at all different kinds of universities. However I am guessing this film will probably not be a major source for anyone.