Tag Archives: film

Why You Should Stay for the Credits

20 Nov

I remember the Facebook post that changed it all for me.

It wasn’t a cat or a picture of someone’s dinner or an inspirational quote, life-altering as those can be. It was a miniature rant from a friend who had worked crew on a film and wrote how it was insulting to him that as text rolled after the movie giving credit to him and to his fellow coworkers who pulled long hours for months to make it happen, folks just gathered their coats, left their messes behind, and filtered out of the theater without paying them any mind. His bottom line? If you liked the movie, show respect for what and who it took to make it.

I’ll admit I wasn’t always a stay-for-the-credits kinda gal. I liked to get out the door and get to the next thing. I wanted to go get food (I always want to go get food) or talk about the movie, but I didn’t  want to sit there and read a bunch of nonsense about who did what when I didn’t know any of the people. And what the hell was a “Best Boy”, anyway?

After I read my friend’s Facebook comment, though, I started to feel kind of guilty. He had a point. If I liked the movie, I should show appreciation and look at what it took to get it made. So I forced myself to sit through them out of respect. And then, as often happens during the strange transition from being wholly against something to wholly for it, I found myself learning and taking interest in new aspects of the credits. I was starting to take note of actors who did their own stunts, and who required several personal assistants, hairstylists, and body guards. I could note how much of a movie required special effects and what locations it was shot in and how many people it employed. I noticed thank yous to local governments and organizations, information about underscoring, which actors also produced, and all sorts of tidbits that made my nerd cells shiver with excitement.

It’s actually kind of interesting when you know what you’re looking at.

Hey, I get it. It’s just words scrolling on a screen and you’re pretty sure you’re never going to care. Movie makers are pretty sure you’re never going to care, too, because they went from putting the titles at the beginning to mixing them in with establishing shots, to cutting them entirely and throwing them at the end. If you see a movie on television, they’ll shrink the screen the moments the credits roll, speed it up to four times its rate, and stick it up in a corner on the side of the screen so you can be entertained by commercials or get on to the next thing. They know you don’t care.

But I’m going to suggest you give it a try. Seriously. Sometimes it even pays off with a nice little cut scene at the end as a reward for your commitment. Sometimes you’ll learn that Industrial Light & Magic does the visual effects for basically everything always. Sometimes you’ll learn that someone who performs all the major dance moves for an Academy Award winning performer can be credited as a “stunt double” and “hand model”.

Sometimes you’ll realize how many jobs each movie brings to an area and that it’s important to pay attention to those details when you’re at the polls voting on whether or not to pass a film tax credit law in your state.

It helps, of course, to know what you’re looking at. If you’re using ignorance as a shield, please click here to acquaint yourself with some of the terms you face in the slow scroll.

Give it a try. Not just once, but a few times. You might like it. You might even get to see an extra scene. And in the event that someone in the audience worked on the film, you might even get to make someone proud. 

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This post was written for and reposted from my  recent contribution to a geekier, more collaborative blog, VStheUniverse. You can find all sorts of nerdy bits there, from theories on time travel to weekly nerd moments to nerdical musings both great and small. If that gets you all hot and bothered, follow us on Facebook and on tumblr. 

Sometimes a Punch in the Jugular Is the Best Medicine

28 Mar

I swore at some little kids the other night.

I don’t know how little they were, per se.  They were littler than me.  Adolescents, I suppose, is the technical term.   All I know is they were scrappy, yippy things and offended almost all of my sensory organs and so I dub them little kids.  Rascals.  Hellions.  Forged of muck, mire, and obscenities.

Granted, I’d willingly ventured into their pit of idiocy when I made my way out to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games.

Don’t judge me unless you’ve read the books.  Seriously, just don’t even start.  I’ll brawl.  Don’t think I won’t.

Anyway, I took the plunge into the hysteria about a week ago and openly admitted it in last Wednesday’s post.  My entire life was consumed with angst and every moment of exertion became just another thing I had to do before I could read again.   Since this led to devouring all three books in just a few days, I figured why not go ahead  see the movie.   I wouldn’t let Dave see it before he’s read the books and since I took the following day off work, I bought what I’m sure was the last ticket for the midnight showing in a 30-mile radius and ventured out into the wilderness of excited adolescents.   Alone.

I don’t really know why I go to the movies anymore.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I truly enjoyed it.   I suppose there’s that time I took myself on a date for a Lollipop Tuesday last year, but it’s important to note that in that scenario, I was the only one in the entire theater.  Maybe that’s key: I absolutely cannot have any other humans around me.  When I do have humans around me, I contemplate murder.

I think it’s safe to say that out of my myriad of pet peeves in this world, the one I hold near and dear to my heart is being rude during movies.   I don’t really know who the target audience is for those commercials that happen before the previews in the movie theater.  You know, the ones that feature some audience member being rude and ridiculous?  There’s the one of Steve Martin’s cell phone vibrating him off the seat.  There’s the one where people are watching The Notebook but all the dialogue is replaced with a story about puke, courtesy of the people having a conversation beside you.  I thought the target audience was the people who do those things, but those people still exist so I don’t know if it’s an effective campaign.  Oh, and there’s the one of the Lorax that played the evening I was trying to watch the Hunger Games, but unfortunately my offenders entered too late to notice it.  Maybe that’s the problem: rude people enter too late to see them.

To my surprise, I had secured a seat in front of an exit row, with plenty of leg room.  I had a big blank section to my left where no seats were installed in the event that wheelchairs were needed there, and had only one seat to my right, which no one had ventured to sit in, despite the fact that I had bathed that morning.  For the first time in a long while, I thought I might actually enjoy being at the movies – and one of the most anticipated movies in a very long time, even! A midnight showing! The luck!!

That’s when the gaggle appeared.

Just before the previews, when the lights were beginning to dim and the audience was settling into silence, a squadron of chirping adolescents piled up at the entrance to the theater.  Realizing that they were complete morons to have gone to the concession stand before scoping out seats, they found themselves unable to acquire fifteen seats all together and refused to watch this much-anticipated theatrical event in separation.  As they tried to balance their 6 dollar sodas and popcorns, they looked to the leader for orders.  That’s when she marched right over to the open (and chair-less) section to my left, and plopped down cross-legged on the floor.  Her minions followed suit, stacking into two rows in which they rested on each others’ limbs, greased with popcorn butter and reeking of trouble.

I almost immediately went to management.  Are you serious?! I went from having an almost guaranteed enjoyable evening to being the only person in the theater that has to directly deal with this group of doofuses.  I don’t even enjoy the movies when there’s only one seat beside me and now I’ve exchanged that one seat for 7.5 humans sitting on 7.5 other humans.  It was obvious to me that halfway through the movie they would get sore or tired of laying on each other and need to shift around.  Not to mention the chomping and slurping and chatting.  Oh, the chatting.  

But I told myself that it would be a great memory for them.  They could look back and reminisce about the midnight showing of the Hunger Games, when they broke all the rules and sat directly on the floor.   Stop being a bitter old hag, Jackie.  You’re only in your twenties.  Save the stifling of a younger generation for your thirties.

So I let them go.  

Five minutes in, my left ear had already been accosted by some of the worst obscenities in my vocabulary.  They were weighing in on what the movie was presenting versus what they imagined in the books, they were upset that Effie didn’t seem like they thought she would, and a variety of female characters had been likened to a slang term for a female’s genitalia.

I began to get upset.

I thought about the time I saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D and got so enraged at the girls who weren’t even making an attempt to use their inside voices in the front row that I walked over, crouched down behind their seats, and spat out that since they talked all the way through the movie, they could at least do me the favor of attempting a whisper for the rest.  I thought about the time I saw the silent film The Artist and a 60-year-old lady behind Dave and I read all the captions out loud.  (I still have scar marks from him taking out his tension by squeezing my leg instead of crushing her face.)  But above all, I thought about how they were seated where there weren’t even seats and by all counts should have already been ousted by an usher except by my good graces and my convincing myself not to be an old coot. And yet they sat there, carrying on.  

It was when Katniss finally got launched up the tube to the battlefield that I realized I could endure them no longer: something had to be done.  I didn’t devour all three books in the series and pull myself out into the wilderness of a midnight showing to have them banter and giggle through the most intense part of the movie.  No sir.  And honestly, I wasn’t sure that watching a movie focusing on taking the lives of adolescents was the best stimulus for me in my situation.

So I leaned over and abandoned my inside voice, saying  – Hey, do you think you guys could shut up for the rest of the movie? Seriously.  Thanks.

But there’s this amazing pretend shield that stupid kids think exists between you and their mockery of you.  The girl directly below me to my left was under such a delusion when she blatantly mimicked me to her friends.  There was some head bobbing, some finger wagging, and an exact replica of the tone I took with them.  

That’s when I called her a dick.

I did.  I just dropped all pretenses of good Christian behavior and called her a dick.  In fact, I called them all dicks and told them to shut the hell up.  Because if they didn’t, I was going to have an usher scrape them off the floor and shoo them to their lonely little islands – seats beside old people, fat people, ugly people, gruff people, and maybe even in the middle of rows.  They’d have to navigate it all in the dark by themselves.  And everyone would stare.  And call them dicks again.

They didn’t talk for the rest of the movie.

I darted out of there the moment it was over, annoyed that I’d ventured out into society again.  I thought about how they’d all pile into their mothers’ cars and talk about the old lady that nagged them and called them names.  They’d leave out the part where they were using worse language than me even though they’re half my age.  They’d leave out the part where I already told them to zip it before I unleashed the Richard on them.  They’d leave out the part where they encompass everything The Lorax tried to prevent in the previews.

I burned with a fiery rage, kicking myself for paying 10 dollars to see something I could have rented on Netflix in a few months and watched in the comfort of my own home, where I’m safe from society and all the ways it makes me want to cuss and commit crimes.  I’ve told myself so many times that I’m done going out to the movies for this very reason.  I just haven’t come up with a good system yet where every time I’m tempted to go see something on the big screen, I have the better sense to punch myself in the face instead.

Maybe I should just start a service where for a free movie ticket, I will sit on a stool near the exit of the theater and if my ears or eyes are offended by the presence of anyone in particular, I walk up and deliver one solid slam in the jugular.  I get a free movie, people get a better theatrical experience, and audiences begin to be respectful out of fear.

Sounds more effective than the Lorax campaign to me. 

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Code Monkey Like You

20 Dec

Wow, we only have two Lollipop Tuesdays left together. 

Are you sad? I’m not sad.   Tell ya what – I won’t miss scrambling around the Sunday and Monday before, trying to consider whether or not I can assemble a tub of Jell-O in time or whether this is the week I take a shifty looking stranger out to dinner  or whether I finally let one of my readers pepper spray me in the face. 

Yes, that’s real.

So, I figure that with only two left (and now, only one), I kind of owe you something epic.  And while skydiving crossed my mind, I can’t imagine that’s affordable, able to be done in the winter, or in the best interest of my well-being. So instead, I directed a movie.

Now, I didn’t direct this in a weekend.  In fact, I’ve been working on this for over a year and finally got it finished.  It started out as a small summer project that my friend asked me direct.  It kind of snowballed into this…thing.  We decided to film it so we could throw it on YouTube, and at some point thought that maybe we could raise some money for a charity while we did it.  

There’s a lot of other fun stuff in there, like 3 different editors, a producer moving halfway through the process, a budget of only $300, so on and so forth – but this isn’t a post about the trials and tribulations of low budget film-making.  It’s post about how I directed my first film project.  In true nerdy nerd fashion, it’s a script based on the music and ideas of Jonathan Coulton, who has a sort of cult following among the geek world.  The script is weaved around concepts from his songs.  The name of the production company is Vs. the Universe.  It’s slogan: Geeks Making Art.  And along with showing our 20-minute venture on YouTube, we’re also running a 30-day campaign for Child’s Play Charity, which works to put video game consoles in the hospital rooms of sick kids so that when they’re hooked up to machines and tubes and contraptions of all kinds, they can get lost in the idea of racing a go-kart instead of focusing on the pain and the confines of their hospital bed.

Oh, and Dave’s in it.

Yeah, that’s right: if you watch this sucker, you get to see Dave.  My Dave.  Dave from the story books of The Jackie Blog.  He plays Mr. Kenesaw.

So thanks for reading all year long.  I can’t believe I’m almost at the end.  One more Lollipop Tuesday to go – and an announcement of the winner of the Best Macaroni and Cheese in the World Contest, who will be the proud owner of a $25 Visa Gift Card.

While I work on that, check out my first attempt at film directing.  And if you feel so inclined this holiday season, consider a donation to Child’s Play Charities. We offer fun incentives like writing a song or a puppet show just for you.

That’s right: just for you.

So here’s my first attempt at directing, my first attempt at a fundraiser, and my first attempt at a musical.  Oh.  Did I mention it’s a musical?  Also, there’s a naked butt in it.

Happy Lollipop Tuesday, ya’ll.  Enjoy. 

 
Head over to thisguyandi.com if you’d like to see the incentive levels and make a tax-deductible donation.  We’ve already met 10% of our goal! 
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