Art of the Title Interview

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Peter Chung, Thursday, 5 October 2017 15:19 (two months ago) Permalink

Stopped reading for a moment to ask a question after I read that it was shot on 35mm. Are there still negatives or 35mm prints in existence of the series?

J.P. McDevitt, Friday, 13 October 2017 15:38 (two months ago) Permalink

Sometimes I still can't believe that show was actually on TV, so amazing

IF (Terrorist) Yes, Explain (man alive), Friday, 13 October 2017 15:50 (two months ago) Permalink

Yes, the 35 mm neg exists. They were transferred to HD, but not 4K for the DVD box set.
People asking for a possible HD release, it is possible to make one based on the transfers MTV now has.
4k is definitely overkill for a show like this. It was never intended to be seen at high resolution.
There should be no reason to pull out the negatives again. It is a big undertaking to edit together all those reels.

There were a few alternate takes that were used for the DVD set. There are also pencil test versions of two of the shorts.

Peter Chung, Saturday, 14 October 2017 09:10 (one month ago) Permalink

Previously you've recommended reading Dashiell Hammett, partly because the reader's "brain will have acquired a mode of thinking in terms of plot mechanics and structure. That includes clear and concise character motivation."

But in this interview and in recent comments you seem somewhat more dismissive of plot and story mechanics, the plot being a shell for the creator(s) to hang the important things on.

Is this a simple matter of "you need both/all of it"?

J.P. McDevitt, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 05:19 (one month ago) Permalink

Peter, you might want to hop a quick flight or drive up to SF by Thursday. Enter the Void is playing in 35mm, projected at its intended 25 fps.

http://www.castrotheatre.com/p-list.html#oct19

J.P. McDevitt, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 05:25 (one month ago) Permalink

"But in this interview and in recent comments you seem somewhat more dismissive of plot and story mechanics, the plot being a shell for the creator(s) to hang the important things on."

I think plot and story are absolutely necessary to get right. I put a great deal of effort into writing tight, coherent plots driven by character. It's only then that the audience can go about experiencing the intricacies of meaning evoked by the way the story is told. What I dismiss is the notion that it is the plot itself that should be the focus of the audience's interest. It's what I mean when I say that the story is not the content, but another aspect of form. I think form is important. Visual design, sound design, animation are also aspects of form that I work very hard to get right. None of them are the reason I make films, but they contribute crucially to the viewer's total experience, which is the goal.

There are animation fans who will judge a film by the quality of the animation, practically to the exclusion of anything else. Viewers who judge a film by the quality of the story are "story nerds" in the same way.

Peter Chung, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 08:00 (one month ago) Permalink

Here's a good example of being a "story nerd".

http://ew.com/recap/twin-peaks-season-3-episode-15/

I watched every episode of Twin Peaks the Return with rapturous enjoyment. I am utterly baffled by the drive of anyone who would write, and on the other end read, the kind of recap in the link.
The point of watching the episode is to experience it. It is not in the delineation of its fictional incidents. I noticed comments making a lot of the ultimate resolution of the romance between Ed and Norma.
Like their winding up together was some kind of great triumph of the human virtues of the two characters, and therefore a gratifying end to their arc. To me, it seems transparently arbitrary and artificial. It doesn't make me tear up, it makes me roll my eyes. I suspect that Lynch is aware and plays it in a way that accentuates its arbitrariness. Nadine seems to behave conveniently out of character to enable Ed to go free, for instance.

You cannot derive any special "message" from a plot turn like that. For me, I found it more interesting as a comment on the fickleness of storytelling.

Peter Chung, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 08:21 (one month ago) Permalink

Here is the irony. I notice someone saying "I just want to know what happened, I don't want to have to watch it."
The mindset here is that the experience of watching is merely the means to acquire the information on what happened.
In a good film, (not most TV), it is the other way around. The "what happens", the story, is the vehicle the filmmaker uses to craft an experience. It is the viewing experience which is the treasure, whereas that is the thing being discarded by a story-focused viewer.

However, many shows cater to the interest of the story-focused viewer, making their filmmaking disposable. So there is nothing special to be derived from the experience of watching, which perpetuates the attitude.

I've been horrified to discover that many DVDs now contain audio tracks that describe the film for the sight-impaired. I am very sorry, but that is absurd. I am reminded of an incident when Jeremy Irons complained that his live reading performance was accompanied by a sign language interpreter.

http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/gossip/irons-shows-hearing-impaired-signs-anger-article-1.724088

Peter Chung, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 08:58 (one month ago) Permalink

What do you think of podcasts and radio, Peter? Do you think the imaginative experiences those provide are necessarily less rich than visual media?

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:22 (one month ago) Permalink

I love a good podcast or radio play. I greatly enjoyed this recent one on BBC4.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b095t0r2

It conveys a situation and the internal workings of vivid characters without relying on exposition. You get everything through subtext, innuendo and interpretation.

The point is not that an audio track description of a film is worthless because it is text based. It is that a good film is one which has been carefully crafted to be an experience of visual perception. The sensation of sight is comprised of many specific skills one acquires to derive meaning.

A good radio play has been crafted to trigger our brain's capacity to derive meaning through auditory cues. Not just the words, but the pauses, inflections, changes in volume, tonal shifts that make up a good performance.

Let me know if there is something that is still not clear. The question is odd. A painting needs to be seen. A symphony needs to be heard. A verbal description of either is not a substitute for the experience.

Peter Chung, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:50 (one month ago) Permalink

Catch it soon, only 9 days left to listen.

Peter Chung, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:55 (one month ago) Permalink

I get that. You seemed close to saying that audio storytelling is more information-based and so less valuable or rich but I can see now you weren't saying that. (Good!)

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:57 (one month ago) Permalink

And thanks for the link!

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:57 (one month ago) Permalink

What are your thoughts on foreign language dub tracks?

Philip Nunez, Wednesday, 18 October 2017 17:39 (one month ago) Permalink

It depends.

Peter Chung, Thursday, 19 October 2017 08:16 (one month ago) Permalink

Philip, what are your thoughts on foreign language dub tracks?

Peter Chung, Thursday, 19 October 2017 08:18 (one month ago) Permalink

I think watching dubs makes for a completely different (and sometimes better!) movie for me, but therefore I'd also assign a bit more credibility to the thoughts of a blind movie reviewer over one who has seen a dub (or is watching with translated subtitles because he isn't a native speaker).

Philip Nunez, Thursday, 19 October 2017 19:44 (one month ago) Permalink

For animated films I usually prefer dubs. Hardline sub people who think you need the most "authentic" experience are silly, for several reasons.

1) It's not an "authentic experience", you're reading text at the bottom of the screen and taking your eyes away from the rest of the visual information. In some movies this is worse than in others.

2) It relies on a belief that the creator(s) always do a good job with voice casting and directing. This often isn't the case. I don't need to hear bad Japanese voice acting while missing 60% of the animation to get a good experience from the work.

It's especially funny when people take this stance with video games, which usually have awful voice acting anyway as well as awful stories.

J.P. McDevitt, Sunday, 22 October 2017 23:02 (one month ago) Permalink

I think it really does depend on the film. I'd rather watch Bloodlust in English than in Japanese, but something like The Tale Of Princess Kaguya would be jarring to watch in English.

Having said that, I really don't care for most redubbing of films, and usually avoid dubs. I've been watching subtitled movies since I could read; I don't find subs distracting or overly-mediating. I can see why someone else might experience subtitles as visual pollution, but to me it's just a natural part of watching foreign films.

And live-action movies are almost always much better subbed than dubbed. I can't think of one that was improved by being redubbed in another language, except maybe for comedy purposes.

Blair Gilbreath, Monday, 23 October 2017 21:04 (one month ago) Permalink

With subtitles, I very much feel I'm at the mercy of the translator. The English subtitles for Okja, for example, has a few deliberately mistranslated passages, perhaps to drive home that point.

Philip Nunez, Monday, 23 October 2017 22:32 (one month ago) Permalink


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