You’re reading this on the web. That web is conveyed to you by an internet. That internet is sending this very byte of data to a device in your hand, or a machine in front of you. Thus sets the premise for Connected.

Or rather, it doesn’t.

It’s often thought that documentaries; or any video for that matter, should live up to its name. Now, living in our world of Clickbait headlines and marketing misdirection, that’s generally something that’s not attained any more. But we don’t expect it to be, from that type of content. But Documentaries are different. Documentaries are expected to inform us, to educate us, and in some sense, entertain us. And they do. Then we expect that information, that education, and that entertainment to be categorised in some way. The BBC are very good at this. Grandiose names for grandiose films; Animal Planet, First Life, Earth. And you can immediately understand what those Documentary Series’ are about; it says it in the title.

But Connected is different. On a very basic level, it’s the opposite of what the documentary is. They were connected, and now they’re not. The film lived up to its name. Yay.

But as with all documentaries (or as they should be), Connected almost coerces you into looking deeper. It’s presented in such a way that almost makes you live Blaine and Barbara’s 5 days. You see their trepidation, their anxiety, their relief, almost as if we feel it too. And in some way, we do. Like I said at the beginning; you’re reading this on a device or machine that is just firing data at you. Though it may not be a prominent thought in everyone’s mind, we are still acutely aware of the times when we don’t use our technology.

And this is where I think the real point of Connected makes itself known.

It’s not about being connected to so many people, all day every day. It’s the simple lack of connection people have with themselves. Now, this isn’t some deep, philosophical rambling about the necessities of the “inner person” we all have. It’s much simpler than that. When was the last time you sat, alone, and just thought. No phone, no laptop, no PC, nothing. Just you, alone, in your own head. Not as recent as you think, I suspect. We tend to fill this “in-between” time with our technology. We busy our minds in-between the bigger events of our day. And that’s not a bad thing. Neural Stimulus is great. Social Stimuli are great. Creative Stimuli are great. We get all of this from content we watch on-line, to the social media that we endlessly scroll through.

It’s at this part of the documentary that I think Connected comes into it’s own.

It would be very simple to blame social media for the worlds anti-social issues. So simple that people have been doing it for years. Excited new film-makers have jumped at the opportunity to present the Dystopian, almost Orwellian world of Telescreens and data control; our own portable Minitrue’s. And, as is the way, the videos base themselves on knowing more about you than you do. They know why you’re watching it, they know how you’re watching it, and they know how to make you feel bad for doing so. And they get the response they want; some say they’ve known it all along, others get angry that the world could end up like this, and the rest feel an overwhelming sense of indifference about it all.

Connected is different.

Connected doesn’t blame technology. it doesn’t blame society. It doesn’t blame anyone. That’s not the point of it. They didn’t just take Blaine and Barbara’s technology away and say; “Well, go figure out how to live now kthnxbye”. Rather, they gave Blaine and Barbara old tech; from when they were born. As innocuous and unassuming as that seems, it’s one of the most important parts of the documentary.

The world hasn’t become this tech heavy, media crazy world in the last 10 years. It’s been that way for decades. The only difference is the how and the when. Instead of rushing out a print of an evening edition of the paper, we update a web article. Instead of knowing when someone has looked at your message right away, you wait for them to call you back. At no point in the documentary were Barbara and Blaine physically unable to do what they were tasked to do, and what they needed to do. Why? Because people did all of it before. People did their jobs, people went on dates, people learned about the worlds events, just in a different format. That lack of connection to the world isn’t actually there. It’s a perception from where we are now.

That’s all it is. Our perception. Your perception. Because it is, and must be, different for everyone. That is why something like Connected matters. It doesn’t try tell you what to think, it doesn’t try tell you what’s good or bad, it simply gives you a mirror of your own perception. It doesn’t challenge you to change your ways, or to rethink your life, but it also doesn’t stop you from doing that. Connected is open. Open to your reception, open to your interpretation, open to you.

Connected is a triumph, and I use that word for a reason. It truly succeeds in what it set out to do. From such a small, kicked around idea came something so full of depth, and so full of reason.

To everyone at Rooster Teeth, and everyone at Alpheus Media; be truly proud of what you have made and what you have achieved. Its effects will be further reaching that you think. Connected is truly a triumph.

You can watch “Connected” here, and if you’re not an RT Sponsor, remember you can sign up for a 30-day Free Trial. You get access to exclusive content, live-streams, and early access to regular content.


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