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The Typewriter (In the 21st Century)

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Uploaded on Sep 9, 2011

The Typewriter (In The 21st Century) is a film about a machine and the people who use, love, and repair it.

It features 30+ interviews in 10 U.S. states with authors, collectors, repairmen (and women), bloggers from The Typosphere - an online gathering place for typewriter enthusiasts worldwide - artists, musicians and inventors.
The film features typewriters once owned by Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, Jack London, Sylvia Plath, Ernie Pyle, Ray Bradbury, George Bernard Shaw, Helen Keller, John Lennon, and Tennessee Williams, all beautifully photographed in high definition.

Produced on a shoestring budget and funded almost entirely through crowd- sourcing website Kickstarter.com, the film shows that typewriters are not merely beautiful collectible objects; they offer a rare place to unplug in today's constantly wired world. And in a world of planned obsolescence, typewriters are durable.
For soldiers Peter Meijer and Alan Beck, typewritten letters from the front in Afghanistan and Iraq meant a lot more to the people who received them than a text or an email. For Arizona high school teacher Ryan Adney, typewriters are a perfect way to teach his students the value of revising, an important step in any author's process, one Adney feels is missing from the computer experience.

For authors Robert Caro and David McCullough -- four Pulitzer Prizes, three National Book Awards, and a Presidential Medal Of Freedom between them, the typewriter offers something that's missing from the literary world today -- the chance to slow down. "In writing," Caro says, "Working faster isn't better, in fact it isn't even necessarily good." McCullough concurs: "If anything, I want to slow down." They have a lot to say about the writing process in the film.
Xavier University professor Richard Polt likens working on a typewriter to riding a bicycle. "It's an alternative to the most efficient way of doing things. It's a way to enjoy the ride."

The idea for the film began when director Christopher Lockett and producer Gary Nicholson read an article in the May, 2010 Wired magazine about "the last generation of typewriter repairmen." The two agreed that the venerable old machine deserved a proper send off if it was going gentle into that good night. But a funny thing happened on the way to the funeral. The first few interviews with local Los Angeles repairmen confirmed that the typewriter was, despite headlines to the contrary, very far from dead.

Repairmen on both coasts of the U.S. report being busier in the last five years than they have been in 20 years. Perhaps it's a fad. Perhaps it's the novelty of a mechanical device some children have never known... or perhaps it really is a place of refuge, a place to unplug.

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