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I had no idea that a conference of TED's magnitude was going on
virtually in my backyard for the last 20 years. I pretty much know
every time there is an Apple/Mac show, but a conference like TED goes
This was an eye-opening documentary. TED features some of the most brilliant minds of our time and some of the most influential people as well. I like how very diverse the guests and the speakers were. There were guests from all over the country and all over the professional map as well. Between the inventions and the ideas that were displayed, I was thoroughly amazed.
I watched this documentary thinking that I would see the latest and greatest in technology and sneak peaks at what is around the bend, but I got to see a snippet of that plus more. I got to see and hear ideas that would help better humanity and better the world. I don't think that there was a single speaker that I wasn't impressed with, even the science professor that was talking miles over my head. It is a good documentary about a conference with great goals. With so many elite individuals you would think that the conference would be full of egos, but you never got that vibe. It seemed like everyone there was there for other than themselves. And even if some egos slipped into the conference, there were plenty of well grounded and globally conscious individuals to quickly put things into perspective and keep the egos in check.
If I was able to get an invitation to be one of the 1000 to attend this
conference, I would not be able to come up with the $6000 needed to
register. Now, I no longer have to. Even if i cannot mix with the
superstars in the world of innovative design, and science, and arts, I
can still enjoy their presentations.
This film gives you just a taste of what the movers and shakers experiences. People from Google, Microsoft, people with ideas meeting people with money and entrepreneurial skills. People from arts and people who are making a difference in the world.
Innovators in theoretical physics share the stage with the creator of the $100 laptop. Ideas in how we will interact with computers are viewed along with new ways of viewing and sharing data.
People like Majora Carter talk about wanting to make sustainability sexy while schmoozing with Al Gore, who exhorts us to get our act together.
Award winners are encourages to rub the magic lamp and present a bold idea that could change the world. Bono did it in the past and One.org was created. Out of this year's conference comes Pangea Day.
Now, everyone can share the experience and ideas on Ted.com. It may be post-conference, but the inspiring and innovative speeches are there to watch over and over. Check it out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a review of the actual documentary, not the extras with all the
The essential problem with this documentary on TED (a powerful, though provoking conference) is that the creator and host, Daphne Zuniga, doesn't have any motive.
Which brings me to the most glaring problem: Daphne Zuniga. She is the aimless force behind this stuttering, unfocused mess. She is the mildly accomplished Hollywood television actress from a string of impactful and provocative series and films such as "One Tree Hill", "Beautiful People", and of course who could forget "The Fly 2". And yet, her resume is not the issue. She is the equivalent of a wealthy, culturally bankrupt American traveling through Africa in the 1950's trying to understand the native's ways: The TED Talks are all so alien to her and she, frankly, just doesn't work on the same level as these people - so she is unable to really relate or spark any interesting conversations whatsoever. Because of this, her interludes consisting of interviews with incredibly interesting people end up being frustratingly boring. Although some of those being interviewed are so revved up on all the amazing ideas that they spit out a bunch of really interesting stuff anyway, but it is clear that Daphne doesn't know what to ask them. It's on par with a nightly news anchor interviewing a brilliant Genetical Engineer about "Why Science Is SOOO Fun!". Something along the lines of:
DAPHNE - "So Al Gore, are you liking the conference?!" AL - "Uh... yes of course, it's amazing that we can all get together and share powerful ideas with one another and by doing so, literally change the world." DAPHNE - "Nice! Yeah, it's great isn't it! What a wonderful thing! UhMuhGawd Right?!"
Along with the interviews, she wastes valuable time with many completely useless narrations and voice-overs that consist of her kindergarten insights and feelings about the conference. Often they are filmed on an actual set with lighting: the whole nine yards. Just Daphne Zuniga sitting in a chair talking to us about her experience. Are you that vain? Put it in the bonus features and make more time for the grown ups to talk.
For example: A theoretical physicist is considering fairly basic ideas regarding the possibilities of dimensionality, and our narrator literally cuts her off mid sentence to tell us "Okay, so it's not that easy to follow, but don't you just love that somebody knows what's going on the universe?!" - Is that a joke? Why are you telling us this? Is this an infomercial for TED, trying to sell it to people who don't want to hear words with more than two syllables, like "Dimension"? Are you just video blogging your thoughts about the conference hoping that someone might actually be interested in your feelings about TED Talks? Do you think anyone actually cares about how you felt about the TED conference?
I ask all of this because this movie costs money. Money they clearly didn't make back because it got no release nationally or world-wide. I can bet that if they organized a sectional documentary on these lectures it would have had a much bigger release. If you downloaded or bought this documentary, there is a strong possibility you are aware of the TED Talks, so why are you stuck listening to someone documenting her experience? This is filmmaking 101, kids. Know your audience. No wonder no one has seen, or cares to talk about this documentary (as important as the lectures are). Because there is absolutely no audience out there who are asking themselves: "I wonder what Daphne Zuniga from 'One Tree Hill' thinks about Theoretical Physics??"
Granted, a moderate amount of time is given to some of the interesting lectures, which you can find in the extras, but because she places the clips in at random and with absolutely no reasoning, we feel disjointed and uninterested. The lack of interest also stems from the fact that we don't see their topics and theories develop, only snippets in the middle of them. I didn't even know what a lot of them were about in the midst of the documentary.
There are some basic film grammar mistakes that make it much worse than it should be. We often don't hear what question she is asking people but get the answers. And there is no beginning, middle or end, just a chronicling of the events as they went along. Just because there was a beginning, middle and end to the conference doesn't mean that you can put that stuff in (very) loose chronological order and call it a day. We need to feel impacted. You need to use the format to express ideas and show us things in the confines of structure and purpose.
One shot sums up the entire experience of the documentary. It is a shot after one of the lectures is over when Daphne Zuniga walks out (her camera man waits for her to exit from the lecture hall) and she wipes off the imaginary sweat from her brow and lets out an indicative "Whew!" - or something along those lines. Every other person is walking out in deep thought, or conversing energetically with others, but our Daphne is just worn out from all those big words and ideas.
Don't bother with the video. This is an INCREDIBLE conference and I would love to attend or meet most any of the people speaking there. I thought the video was very poor, jumped around and I really didn't get much out of it. There are some great parts of it on YouTube where you get to hear some of the speakers, for more than 30 seconds that is. If you want to get some good information for each person speaking then it is best just to go to YouTube or other video service. It would be amazing to be offered a seat at this conference, it would also be amazing to have the money to go. I suppose I would come up with 4,000 dollars if I was asked to attend such a wonderful, motivating, powerful event.
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