PressPausePlay (2011) Poster

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Decent attempt but leaves a lot to be desired
upperroller4 October 2011
I watched this documentary after stumbling upon it on Techcrunch. While it deals with pertinent issues and has a few important points to make, the presentation leaves more to be desired. The documentary keeps skimming through various people without actually giving enough time to a particular artist (with the exception of a particular Icelandic artist). What I was expecting was insight into particular phenomena through somewhat detailed case studies. Instead, what the movie offers is recurring commentary by people in the industry, journalists etc., which doesn't add significantly to what we already know. And there is something about the general flow which makes it come across as somewhat one sided and closed in. There isn't a narrator who is outlining the flow; there isn't an interviewer who would challenge some of the views; there isn't really any data or public opinion. The movie just keeps flitting from one person's view to another. The views themselves vary from being sometimes speciously authoritative to being completely clueless. And there are these montages of live musical performances thrown in, which again don't cover a particular act, but are just collages of scenes with some music playing in the background. The movie falls prey to some of the very pitfalls that it warns about; in an attention deficit world reliant heavily on technology, mediocrity in art is a very real danger.
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An Excellent Film on the Democratization of Culture in the Digital Age
JustCuriosity20 March 2011
PressPausePlay is a provocative documentary that explores what is happening to art, literature, music, and film in an age where everyone can be an artist. (Although not discussed in this film, there is a very similar situation in news media where established media is losing its economic base due to the growth web logs and news aggregation websites.) As a result of new technologies such as digital cameras, video editing software, and the web, we now provide more and more people with the ability to create and distribute various forms of art in a manner that never existed before in history. Millions of people can produce art at relatively low costs compared to what it used to produce a film, a song, or a book. Thus a million flowers are allowed to bloom, but it seems like the standards of quality are being diluted. The gatekeepers have been lost in the new digitized world, because individuals get to decide that they can produce art. PressPausePlay has begun look at this truly profound question of what is art and what is it becoming in the digital age? This excellent documentary explores these questions through interviews with a series of articulate and thoughtful artists and commentators. This is a conversation that we need to be having in the information age. Democratization of art may in fact be produces millions of mediocre YouTube video and songs at cost that the talent of real artists may be overshadowed. This is a trouble situation that needs a lot more discussion.
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The most relevant and important film made in our time.
germaine-79-34810913 June 2011
As a producer of A Design Film Festival, it has been a privilege to preview the films that we screen for the festival.

Today, I sat down to PressPausePlay and for the first time, found the need to put into words what this film has done for me.

This is possibly the most relevant and important film made in our time about our time.

PressPausePlay has beautifully connected the dots of how subconsciously yet drastically, technology has changed the way we do things.

Anybody can play an instrument, anybody can operate a camera and anyone can use a software. It is no longer simply about the craft. It is about the idea, the process and the final experience which we deliver. How do we continue to do what a million other people around the world can do and not get lost in the noise? That is the true challenge of our time.

There has been no better and more exciting or worst and terrifying a time to be a maker, do-er or creator.
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Unbiased study on modern media distribution techniques. Do they set us free from formerly monopolistic distribution channels??
JvH4817 October 2011
I saw this film as part of the Ghent filmfestival 2011. It is a study on modern techniques to create and distribute a work of art, music, film or literature. "New" means that you don't need an "official" studio, radio channel or other monopolistic intermediary, inevitable in the past to deliver your creative products to the general public. You had to know people who knew other people to get your production across. Chances were small that you got past all those stumbling blocks. And even after that were you hopelessly depended on marketing channels offered by your distributor. They could convince DJ's to "plug" your record, they could arrange interviews by magazines, they could pave ways to get you into the top-xx charts, and many other means to let you become publicly recognized.

The scope of this study goes far beyond the process of uploading a home movie to YouTube. But the easiness of the latter immediately shows the pitfalls of this media revolution: mediocrity lurks ahead due to lack of filtering and quality control. The average consumer, on the lookout for something interesting, will be quickly overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of everything produced and published via Internet. Hence you all by yourself, on the director and producer side, has to become your own marketeer, as is best illustrated by numerous recipes "How to become famous on YouTube".

This film is a documentary, which I normally hate due to the usually obtrusive voice-over and his inevitable opinion forced upon us. That is not the case here. A broad range of people from the "field" offer their opinion, just to highlight many different aspects of the issues at hand. As a bonus we get an impressive sound track, assembled from all music categories. The music underlines the talking heads some of the time. At other times there is no music at all, just the talking. Not obtrusive, just very supportive.

Some statements were very catchy, like the term "global masturbation", emphasizing that average quality tends to go down. This negative tendency cannot be helped. The volume of "amateur" productions is orders of magnitude above what "professionals" can ever deliver via their more bureaucratic channels. Which does not say that amateurs cannot make a high quality product, however.

Other observations referred to the phenomena that technology always comes first, and that its usage follows later in forms not always foreseen. Once everyone had a small hand-held camera in a mobile phone, routinely carried along throughout the day, this fact of life turned us all into a would be camera man and director in the same person. And as far as editing is concerned, a similar mechanism is in effect: Affordable hardware and software gives us the ability to edit films and music at will, and does not require expensive equipment anymore. The documentary showed several examples of what becomes possible when everyone can obtain this kind of technology and use it in their own home.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with this documentary, primarily due to the fact that the author does not take you by the hand, and certainly does not impose his views upon you. It is rather a showcase of views from several well informed people. You are allowed to draw your own conclusions, which can scatter in any direction, all depending on what you deem important and relevant.
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Boring and empty
Ake_Andersson29 December 2013
Dominating theme of the documentary seems to be "how we all are going to make it again while here are so many of us now?" while viewers are not given a single tangible example of how digitalization has actually changed the actual artistic work-flow and how it would purportedly simplify a creative process given that the objective is still to make something new, fresh and meaningful. Does it really matter then that if the process takes couple of minutes or 6 months then?

After 30 minutes watching I couldn't help but ask myself why all those people tell us things that everyone must have heard and read million times already and why the makers of the documentary suppose that I or someone else would automatically accept their authority and expertise in things that they are talking about.

Even worse, commentators fail to support their opinions with hard facts or wider academic perspective that would help to explain why so many arguably would like to make art themselves now more than previously. While hipsters don't try to disguise their infatuation for their nice new toys, no one explains convincingly why so many now can afford to buy those things, let alone make their art full-time.

While the documentary tells us that "craft is gone" and anyone could make music now, the only thing that epitomizes the assertion is annoying repetitive schmaltz playing in the background.
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"PressPausePlay": a topical and thought provoking look at how technology impacts art
davefourieolivier19 October 2016
"PressPausePlay" is worth the watch. Specifically because technology is complicating the creative endeavour.

I recently read about how concert tickets are becoming increasingly expensive because artists aren't making enough off record sales. I know for sure that online streaming services, for a small fee per month, are putting me in touch with existing and new music artists, but am I a fan? This is something raised by one of the interviewees in "PressPausePlay", who says that live concerts require a music listener's commitment - they have to leave the comfort of their home, and the endless playlist on the computer, to experience an event where anything can happen; where the artist may not sound as they do on the recording.

"PressPausePlay" also touches on how creative technologies have become cheaper, allowing anyone the means to be creative. One interviewee shares a great analogy: were we to develop tiny self-replicating machines, unchecked - at some point, the world would be inundated with grey goo.

After watching this documentary, three things stand out for me: 1. it is good that the means of producing something artistic is now in more hands, but 2. it is becoming more difficult for the consumer to not be overwhelmed by the volumes of creative material out there, and 3. one needs to guard against the audience becoming the artist.

What I like about PressPausePlay is that it draws opinions from people in different creative industries, and that it talks about both technological innovation as a phenomenon and how the artist engages with new technology in his or her own way. I enjoyed Ólafur Arnalds' journey in the documentary.

Overall, the production value is impressive. PressPausePlay is beautifully shot, and I enjoyed the montages that punctuate some sequences. I liked how they used sounds of performances in the cut. Most importantly, it made me think about how I practise my craft in a time where just about anyone can make their own movie.
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The Changing Landscape for New Artists in Music and Film
Jthomps26020 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Press Pause Play is an enlightened documentary film featuring the musician Moby, as well as many other current artists, who comment on the technological advances that have enabled artists to create more freely; as well as get their art out in the public zeitgeist more quickly and easily. The film discusses whether or not the changing landscape for artists and the new technologies available to both create and promote their art will lead to artists retaining more creative power and access; or whether it will create a brave new zeitgeist of mainly "noise". However, the general theme of the film is optimistic about a renaissance of new fresh art and access for so many of the talented young artists who have a message today. The world is becoming an artistic democracy, where the public is enabled to vote with their computer or smart phone. So, it is apparent that even though many more people with varying degrees of talent are given a voice; the cream will still rise to the top as it always has.
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