DOT is one of those movies.
Initially released in 2002, DOT grabbed some prestigious independent film festival awards, and then was put into decent rotation on Showtime... where I first caught it. Now available for free download on both iTunes and SneakyKings.com (yes, FREE, as in you fork over $0.00), the only reason you shouldn't watch DOT is because you're still on dial-up.
Shot in Chicago, and "documenting" the rise and fall, and rise and fall, and rise and fall of Zectek.com over just nine months, DOT first introduces us to buddies Si, Stan and Mitch during the tail-end of the internet bubble era. Of course, along with legions of other start-up teams of the time, Si, Stan and Mitch have a very focused agenda: get rich quick, with minimal effort. They've all quit their "working for the man" jobs to take part in the gold rush. And also to be able to smoke freely on the job.
Now, exactly what services does Zectek.com provide? I have no clue"¦and neither do Si, Stan or Mitch. Defining their brand with the tech generic "Solution for E-Tomorrow", Team Zectek.com deludes themselves from Day One that they have an actual cohesive business plan, and a service of value to anybody. Early in the movie, Si explains to the camera the virtues of garbage; rummaging through an outdoor trash can, he claims he' found several discarded business plans he' been able to use to "...an advantageous advantage." Also, he' scored cigarettes and heroin in the same way.
Having no real business plan doesn't stop the guys and their expanding team from throwing tech business jargon around like there' no tomorrow (no E-Tomorrow?) - believing they know what the hell they're talking about. Save CTO Stan, who does have a head on his shoulders, it' clear that Team Zectek.com operates just below the competency level. The guys aren't dumb, they just aren't smart enough.
And that' the central theme of DOT. Sure, there' a hilariously awkward love triangle, fisticuffs and seizures along the way, but everything ties in to the fact that Zectek.com is over its digital head.
As I understand it, co-directors Simeon Schnapper and Brett Singer drew heavily from their real-life start-up experiences to outline the film, and then directed their cast with a Curb Your Enthusiasm "fill-in the blanks" approach. The process worked. It really worked.
Also available on DVD (with extras) through Amazon.com, DOT is highly recommended.
starring Michael Mazzara, Simeon Schnapper, Katherine Martinez Ripley, Jamie McMillan, Matt O'Neill, Katherine Ripley
Run time 83 minutes
2002, Sneaky Kings Productions
Directed by Simeon Schnapper & Brett Singer