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A paradox @ “The Conversation: Social Media, Digital Distribution, and the Future of Film”

A paradox @ "The Conversation: Social Media, Digital Distribution, and the Future of Film"

It was a fairly analog day at “The Conversation” conference held at Columbia University on March 27. A few participants were on laptop and a few more on smart phone. Speakers and panelists exhibited presentations on a big screen. The Internet was projected. Some video was shot. Five-year-old Four Eyed Monsters represented the best known example of forward thinking filmmaking.

But there was LOTS of excitement. Energy crackling in the air.

Here’s the thing, the paradox– though the topic was digital, the excitement came from face-to-face, real-world, real-time, high-touch experience of bodies in a room.

From the breakfast trays piled with bagels and muffins that required reaching over someone pouring coffee, to the jam packed classroom of sold out participants, to the individual table topics in a cafeteria where groups sat huddled knee-to-knee, to the unintentional bonding experience of trying to navigate the breakout rooms, and the numerous other opportunities to literally bump into old friends and acquaintances, and make new contacts– this is why, in my opinion, the discussion got deep and continued on Twitter stream and on blogs and various sites that have been gathered on “The Conversation” website.

Over the past week, I’ve spent hours drilling down through these links to find recaps, updates, and ideas that plunge beneath the surface of what began at “The Conversation” and continues to this day.

But the rocket was shot in the flesh.

Gene Hackman in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1974) [Hat tip: Ira Deutchman]

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