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How To Tackle PAUSE-AND-CONVO Content

Some families only prefer content that doesn’t require the pause-and-convo, while others prefer story mature content with a solid frequency of at least 5 pause-and-convo moments.

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My kids are young, but that doesn’t mean they only watch content meant for their age. Rating TV/Film with a pause-and-convo rec helps bridge the age gap about what is or isn’t appropriate.

What is the pause-and-convo? Exactly what it sounds like, caregivers press pause on a mature moment in media and have a quick talk about whatever is tugging at the caregiver or young viewer to help ease the understanding of difficult topics. This is not ‘too mature for their age’ type topics, these are topics that can be addressed and should be addressed for a learning moment. Caregivers give context, give young minds words to describe how they feel, and give time for them to verbally process. These topics can range from dark histories, sexual content, abuse, corruption, or just plain scientific explanations. Having the G /PG /PG-13 rating system isn’t quite enough for movies, ESPECIALLY if you consume independent media that may not be rated at all. I love the TV rating system that includes the maturity content type for me to preview before we watch. But some things just go over kids’ heads so it’s not a big deal and some content requires the pause-and-convo.

Important to note: It’s not about the maturity of the content, it’s about the confusing misrepresentation of the content that I’m concerned about. My kids can handle sexual content, but the pause-and-convo would come about if consent was being neglected on screen. My kids can handle death, they cannot watch a murder of betrayal without a pause-and-convo. My kids can watch rudeness, but the pause-and-convo comes when it’s misogyny, ableism, or racism. The pause-and-convo is about giving young people context and tools to process and the next time they see or experience something they don’t quite understand, they have somewhere to start to unpack and now they’ll know who to ask when they are ready for more.

The best example for the pause-and-convo is the show BLACK-ISH which regularly breaks the fourth wall for Anthony Anderson’s character to give context. This show has built in the pause-and-convo from an experienced voice and therefore leads the audience through context, history, and language tools to help process the narrative story they are about to encounter. GROWN-ISH and MIXED-ISH followed suit and I hope that more shows for all ages will recognize this storytelling style to help tackle extra large subjects. I appreciate and encourage these shows for families who are willing to sit and watch together and take advantage of these key bonding experiences.

So, when offering up recommendations or discussing content for younger minds, be explicit about the pause-and-convo moments because young people should not be shielded from such content, but should be escorted through safe discussions with a loving caregiver.

Suggested Use: #PauseAndConvo Content, caregiver guidance suggested

Jennica Schwartzman, Managing Partner at Purpose Pictures Productions, Co-Founder of Little Sister Entertainment, and a member of The Producers Guild of America, SAG/AFTRA, and Moms-In-Film LA, loves tackling a project from idea to distribution as a multi-hyphenate actress-writer-producer. Jennica has been published in the Producers Guild Magazine "Produced By," Legacy Arts Magazine, Paragon Road, Bustle, and she is a guest writer for the acclaimed entertainment industry websites MsInTheBiz.com, FilmmakingStuff.com, Artemis Motion Pictures' #WomenKickAss Forum, and WomenandHollywood.com. She has been invited to speak on film festival panels and is a workshop teacher for The International Family Film Festival's Road Scholars intergenerational filmmaking camp. Jennica has produced ten feature film releases. Jennica and her husband /producing partner /writing partner Ryan have two kiddos and reside in Hollywood.

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