The sporadic ramblings of Emily C. A. Snyder - devoted to God, theatre, writing, and much randominity.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of TURN TO FLESH PRODUCTIONS. | Author of "Nachtstürm Castle," "Niamh and the Hermit." | Playwright: "Cupid and Psyche," "Math for Actors." | Classical director and educator.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

To rectify past wrongs

Done to this journal of anything blogworthy, I shall attempt to write some thoughts that might attain blogworthiness. (And, frankly, I simply wanted to write blogworthiness. Try saying it - it's fun! Perhaps more fun cranially than orally. Smock is more fun to *say* than to think. And, alas, this, ma chere, is how we come up with very unblogworthy posts.)

  • Yesterday, my wonderful wonderful family who had already gotten me this wonderful desk (the one I'd rescued from the dumpster had to be redumped because it had been - we discovered - originally dumped due to moldy drawers. A moment for our dear, departed desk), and a lovely green reversible bodice from the RenFest (parentals and Julie respectively), surprised the heck out of me by actually having presents for me yesterday. Mostly chocolate. Because the know their daughter. (Or in the case of Johnny who got me four Godiva truffles [!!!], sister.) But Jules and Pete decided to make the presents bit not just a "Surprise! We have presents! Stick 'em all on the table" affair, but an all-out Easter-bunny-worthy Present Hunt. Replete with clues - most of which I needed Jules and Pete to spell out for me because although I am smart I am NOT clever. Upstairs, downstairs, and in my lady's chamber they sent me - and the very fact that they'd taken the time while I was out yesterday morning to make up such an elaborate game for me was present enough. But lo and behold! Among the presents was the first season of Lost (which I was going to get for myself from my music lessons money that afternoon because I knew my family couldn't afford it)!!! And, from darling, darling Sharon who is capable of remembering dates - Firefly! A perfect birthday. Because it isn't about the presents, really - it's about the fact that people are saying: "Hey, Ems. You're swell and neat and we really like you." That's all anyone wants, really.

  • But this brings me to thoughts re: series TV. First: all honour must go to Sharon who introduced me to Alias (and by that show, Lost), and ergo who opened my eyes to the wonders that series TV can be. She's quite right (surprise, surprise - she's a cinematic genius) - the thing about series TV is that it can be a novel in video form; that character, plot, thought, world, mythology can develop to its fullest extent in series TV. The only difficulty, as Stephen King pointed out in last week's Entertainment Weekly issue, is that TV stations have a tendency to try to wring every cash cow to its gruesome death, rather than knowing When A Story Ends. So that shows either are cancelled before their final chapters can unfold, or they're extended far past their plot. Regardless, I'm beginning to think series TV - at least lately - is simply far better than the movies we've been getting (and there's more of it, too!).

    So, why is series TV doing better than the much-touted movies slump? The articles I've been reading lately say that most folk say that they don't care for the movies not so much because of content as because of other audience members. Personally, I *like* having other audience members there - I've only had a handful of bad audience encounters - it's part of the whole package deal. What I *don't* like are the rising ticket costs. I'm a movie fiend - I'll go watch something that's probably C-rated if it looks like it'll afford a chuckle or two - but no more. I literally can't *afford* to see half-baked movies because of the prices. Honestly, I can't afford to see fully-baked movies as frequently, either. Or, if I do see a good movie, the chances of me seeing it again are almost nil because of said movie prices.

    BUT, spend fifty dollars (the equivalent of five movie tickets - gah!) on a season of excellent TV? The same $50 that would let me in to see five movies (we'll presume five great movies) for a total of about ten hours of enjoyable entertainment, will get me thirty hours of series a TON of bonus features. More to the point, although I was generous with presuming my $50 if spent at the cinema would be on GOOD movies, in going into a movie I have no idea if it'll be WORTH my money at all - whereas I can watch the TV initially for a very low fee, and then I'm buying a produce I know I already love. Even more to the point, we all know that movie studios generally put out schlock. They've been doing it since the dawn of cinema. That's why that Oscars are in many ways so easy to predict: there really only are about five to ten worthwhile movies coming out per year. And frankly, even those crop of worthwhile movies are still only two to three hours long (or in some cases shorter). And none of them - with the exception of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter - connected to one another.

    So this leads to the Aristotlean (sp?) thought that what audiences are yearning for is not only a good plot (Red Eye had a good plot, but could have been so much more), but also characters one wants to live with for extended periods (Samwise Gamgee, Sawyer, etc.), and an overarching message - "thought" as Aristotle calls it. A mythology. A mystery that drives both character and plot and is so intertwined with the story that it becomes its own character. Lost: why are all these specific people on this island? Angel: Is there redemption even for a fallen creature? Buffy: How do you balance authority and normalcy? Alias: Who are we really? And actually, upon reflection, I would say that all four of them deal with the nature of redemption - some dealing better than others - the same question in LOTR.

    Perhaps, then, the box office slump is tied in, not so much with monetary matters or with questions of comfort or those (#@%&*# ads even before the trailers!!!, but with the need we all feel - that all men have always felt - the need for redemption, for mystery, for myth, for religion - for a savior.

    Mood: Twenty to mass! Better get myself together!
    Music: Emma - because I'm not playing Freecell, I'm blogging, rather than figuring out the next line in the C/C scene - which is finding its shape....
    Dear Lord: Reach down and save me from myself!


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