Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Remembering quick foxes, lazy dogs, and good boys

Driving through a wooded area the other day, I crested a hill and caught sight of a fox. We had a moment’s stare-down before I remembered to brake, and he remembered to scramble.

Through my rear-view mirror I saw him run across the road and disappear into the woods.

My first thought? “I wonder if that quick brown fox will jump over a lazy dog.”

It happens like that. Those memory aids I learned long ago will suddenly pop into my head, and I’ll be able to recite the whole thing without hesitation.

I must have typed the phrase --"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" – about a gazillion times in typing class because it has every letter in the alphabet.

I also know that “Every Good Boy Deserves Favor,” because it helped me remember the musical notes in the lines of the treble staff in sheet music: E,G,B,D,F. (That's about as far as I ever got in my musical career.) 

And to this day, my sister and I can still sing a duet of that mindless jingle about where not to cross the street .

Now, if only I could bulk erase all those old-time memories clogging up my mental cache. Maybe then I could remember all my Internet passwords.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

More Steadicam, please

I recently went to the movies and was made sick by what I saw. Really. Churning stomach, spinning sensation, headachy sick.

I wasn’t watching slasher flicks or dark tales of sadistic torture. I was watching trailers for upcoming action movies. Make that upchucking action movies -- ones I’ll be sure not to see as full-length feature films.

Maybe move makers think they have to pack all the action into 60 seconds to draw in viewers. Me? I want to know more about the story and the characters; the chase itself has become a given. In fact, I mentally check out during chase scenes anyway -- tires screech, cars crash, things go boom -- as I wait for the more interesting parts of the movie to reappear.

But no matter the movie, it’s the movie-making techniques that are becoming a major distraction. Just because the technology exists to make things swoop and swoon, you really don’t want to make your audience do so.

All the CGI special-effects stuff should support the actors, not become the star. The audience should pay no attention to the wizards behind the curtain.

For my recent night at the movies, I saw The Hunger Games. My two words of advice for the movie makers: more Steadicam. Going for fast and gritty is one thing; inducing motion sickness in your audience is just bad business.