Saturday 12 November 2011

Back To Basics

Moving images excited people. It was fascinating to see something new. You'd turn a wheel and a picture would flicker and change.

And then there was the film camera. Babies cried and we wanted to help them. Trains rushed towards the screen and we had to dive out of the way. Something new and simple was all it took to set our souls racing.

D.W. Griffith told stories. Chaplin made us laugh and cry. We liked feeling things we'd never felt the same way before. We liked new experiences. The hills of Africa, the great gun fights of the West. The glorious romances.

Then something changed. Movie stars started chasing the attention, getting artistry mixed up with celebrity. They sold cigarettes and washing powder. We didn't just dream with Monroe and Reagan, we bought the soaps too. It was part of the American dream but it meant we lost something.

What we loved about 'Jaws' was the story. Spielberg knew this and took a dive after the first round. Others stuck around for the sequels and toys. We began to forget again that it's about the simple stories. They only want to make films if they can sell the junk too. Harry Potter got kids reading and it got their parents dreaming. That's the good part. But then we sell the mugs and t-shirts and toy figures, and the studios like it and see the money rolling in.

So we start to wonder what films will sell good toys. We get it all wrong again. The films suck and the toys suck and we wonder what the hell we're doing.

The things you hold dear from the movies are the stories. The image burned into your mind of Bogart is because of a story he told you in a movie you saw ten or thirty years ago, not because he sold you some Casablanca action figures.

Tell a good story. That's our job here.

Care to share?

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