PressPausePlay

1 Mar

I went to a viewing of PressPausePlay Tuesday night, hosted by the Virigina Tech AIGA chapter. It is a fantastically filmed/edited/designed documentary, talking with some of the world’s most influential authors, musicians, directors, creatives, and entrepreneurs. Over the past 10 years, our culture has turned into a technological grab bag of sorts, where you can create just about anything in the comfort of your bedroom. The points and counterpoints from those who were interviewed for the film were asking if this flood of content, ranging from ‘trash’ to ‘excellent’ content (whether that be music, design, video editing, etc.) is a good or bad thing? Is the crap work choking out all of the great work, not allowing it to be seen? Does great content only available through the big production companies, or can equal-quality work come from a guy sitting in his basement?

The take-away from this film (that I got from it, at least) was that yes, there are a ton of creative people out there. Some professionally trained, some not. Some have natural talent and others don’t. Most of the time, the ones that seem to be able to wade above the sea of crappy work are the ones that have a good design sense, have some sort of basic knowledge about design/music/rhythm. Basically, a strong foundation. That might be attributed to formal schooling, hands-on training from a mentor, industry experience, a combination of all or some of these or whatever. My thought is if you have that solid foundation, you have a better chance of being found and excelling in your respective industry. No matter if you are up-to-date on the latest software out there, with all of those fancy tools, you still need a firm grasp on the basics. It certainly will help if you are well-versed with the latest and greatest software and other gadgetry, but it’s not a must.

After the film was over, Tim Austin, a student in the Visual Communications Design program at Virginia Tech, asked the other students if they thought they were at disadvantage because they were brought up in a digital age and surrounded by technology in their formative years? There was a general consensus that as long as you knew your stuff, you’d do fine. Being in the design industry for 10 years now, and having done some hands on non-digital “stuff” (screen printing, film development, offset printing, old-fashioned paste up), I can say I respect the history of the craft. I’m not sure if that’s an advantage or not, but I don’t think it hurts to know how certain processes used to be done.

So, if you haven’t already seen this movie, download it and watch it. Do you think the glut of mediocre work out there is overwhelming the great work? I’m interested to see what others think on this topic, so add a comment below.

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