I must admit that the IPhone excites me more than I wish it did. But it is so damn purty! And I love imagining all the ExpensiveUglyHandheldJunk.com CEOs freaking out over it. I also believe that this device heralds the actual arrival of the much ballyhooed 4th screen - the portable screen, (following the 3rd screen - the desktop, and preceding the 5th screen - the toilet-top).
David Denby’s stick in the mud New Yorker piece on Hollywood and IPods (link) argues that these tiny screens are changing how we watch movies for the worse but I have consumed enough YouTube-sized content to concede that I do enjoy the small screen every now and then. Perhaps size doesn’t matter when it comes to a treasure you have always wanted to see, and I could care less about most of the stuff on the big screens anyways – and the screens at my favorite cinema (Film Forum) are not what you would call ‘large.’ Two things did jump out at me from his piece:
Denby’s blow job of Los Angeles’ ArcLight cinemas (um.. this place costs 14$)
And this Quote from Focus Features’ James Schamus: “You want to have sex with someone,” Schamus said. “You say, ‘Do you want to go the movies with me Friday night?’ Movies are a pretext for social interaction. So don’t think of the future in terms of technology. It’s not a question of platforms but of how people want to use social spaces, how given ethnic and age groups want to interact.”
If the Folks in charge of these next generation pretty screens keep this sort of wisdom in mind I think we could have some fun with the new formats and new possibilities. Many filmmakers already are. I am going to leave you with an excerpt from David Lynch’s amazing new book (the proceeds of which go to teaching young kids about Transcendental Meditation!) Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity (link).
"The video iPod and videos online are changing everything. A tiny little picture instead of a giant big picture is going to be how people see films… The whole thing is, when those curtains open, and the lights go down, we must be able to go into that world. And in many ways, it's getting very difficult to go into a world. People talk so much in the theaters. And there’s a tiny, crummy little picture. How do you get that experience? I think its going to be a bit of a bumpy road. But the possibility is there for very clean pictures – no scratches no dirt, no water marks no tearing- and an image that can be controlled in an infinite number of ways. If you take care of how you show a film, it can be a beautiful experience that lets you go into a world. We’re still working out ways for that to happen but digital is here the video iPod is here we’ve just got to get real and roll with the flow."