Last night I downloaded the new live show from comedian Louis CK. It's very good. The whole project is self produced. The film is DRM-free and cost just $5. Amazing. It's great to see an performer breaking away from traditional distribution models. Trying something new. Mucking about with his content.
As a comedian there's something about the tone of Louis that I love. You could easily see yourself having a chat with him over a pint in your local. I've had a lot of conversations recently about how hard it is to get the right tone for your platform of choice. It took Ira Glass more than 8 years to find his voice for radio. Some people are still trying to master their telephone voice. So it's not surprising that organisations struggle to know how to speak using new platforms. Louis seems to have nailed it with his journey into digital downloads. This kinda made me want to tell the world to download it too.
To those who might wish to “torrent” this video: look, I don’t really get the whole “torrent” thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made this video extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without “corporate” restrictions.
Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy. I paid for the production and posting of this video with my own money. I would like to be able to post more material to the fans in this way, which makes it cheaper for the buyer and more pleasant for me. So, please help me keep this being a good idea. I can’t stop you from torrenting; all I can do is politely ask you to pay your five little dollars, enjoy the video, and let other people find it in the same way.
Love the line 'Please help me keep this being a good idea'. I admire his honesty and uncertainty and hope that he manages to retain that tone when his good idea becomes a much bigger idea.
As 2009 drew to a close I came across an article in magazine asking lots of smart people the question 'What has been the icon of the first decade of the 21st century?' If my memory serves me well I think the consensus was the iPod.
I never get asked those questions, probably because I'm not one of those very smart people. If I had my answer would have been 'the pixel'. All the big moments of that decade I recall as heavily pixelated footage.
Before then the pixel went pretty much unnoticed. The only people that really paid attention were those whose job it was to make sure they remained invisible.
Then came the internet, then camers in phones. With them the border control dropped. Anyone could create and share media, flaws and all. The best camera was the one you had with you. Pixelated footage began to creep from the internet to the TV. On the news or as a new form of late night entertainment on Channel 4. The big pixels were there for everyone to see. Pixels or not, Charlies finger would have remained bitten and the planes still hit the tower. We watched. And not a single person complained.
Soon they became part of a visual language that told us something was authentic, not something faked by big media to look 'viral'. For a moment big media really did believe there was a viral look. The pixel became a part of something that was 'made', as opposed to high definition perfection that suggests something just appears by magic. Not a suggestion of process. No working out in the margins.
So I was delighted when I stumbled across James Bridle's talk about 'The New Aesthetic. It's a really interesting look at how pixels are spilling into our world. I don't want to say anything more other than 'just watch it'. It's wonderful.