Playing With the Viewer’s Mind

“I think that the interactivity of New Media is a false promise. The game is rigged, and what is invited is not honest contemplation, but merely “figuring out the next movie.”

film

Audience Activity

A film, without any visible protagonist, plays with the audience and forces them to become active as the invisible protagonist. The audience feel s/he is there, s/he feels part of the story. Normally the audience can connect to the film through the characters playing on the screen, but is there any film that keeps the gap which only the audience would fill?

A discussion on interactivity in films on The Auteurs.

Excerpt:

The future looks promising for filmmakers who want to exploit whatever interactivity technology might offer.

“I think that the interactivity of New Media is a false promise…. the game is rigged, and what is invited is not honest contemplation, but merely “figuring out the next movie”…. most games that I’m familiar with are, at heart, puzzles with actions to be “figured out.” I sincerely hope the day never comes when movies become interactive…. I don’t think motion pictures stand to gain anything via interactivity. I want To know that Hitchcock and David Lean and Tim Burton have made the choices (this is the Ebert argument that I think holds up.)…. and aren’t leaving it up to me to take the next step. But this isn’t to say I want them to do my thinking for me…. and this is where passivity comes into play. I think motion pictures are often a passive experience, but needn’t be, at the best they aren’t….. inviting critical thought is something that many of the best films do and rely on for their impact. But if a video game is active only because you move your thumbs about and figure out where the medipack is…. or even which corners you can go around in a game like Passages….. than this level of activity doesn’t seem to stretch far from passivity in a very meaningful way. I’ve no doubt that some games can give you a migraine thinking so hard about a given problem….. but by getting to move around on your own, I don’t see this as making you far more active than getting a migraine thinking about the issues and conundrums of a filmed narrative. It may take more active thought and hand-eye coordination to complete a task in a video game, but this thought is limited to the task at hand…. a great movie will give you opportunities to leave it behind and contemplate the world around you, which is a very active process, even if it isn’t interactive.”

Patrick does make a convincing argument. Is it interactivity in true sense? I’m trying to stick to the tradition (deciding the structure for the viewer without giving them you-can-choose options) while exploring new possibilities. However, what matters at the end of the day, is of course if you achieved your goal of telling a story and creating an impact best desired. I think it’s a tough call but this human desire to accomplish something unique and new probably drives all of us.

Being Charlie Kaufman

ee cummings: To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.

charlie-kaufman

“Here’s a recent quote that I found: ‘we do not talk, we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests,’. That was actually written in 1945 by Henry Miller, and I think it’s timely. I think what it says is that the world has been on its present course it’s on for a long time. People all over the world spend countless hours of their lives, every week, being fed entertainment in the form of movies, tv shows, newspapers, YouTube videos, the internet. And it’s ludicrous to believe that this stuff doesn’t alter our brains.

“And it’s also equally ludicrous to believe that at the very least this mass distraction and manipulation is not convenient for the people who are in charge. People are starving, they may not know it because they’re being fed mass produced garbage. The packaging is colourful and loud, but it’s produced in the same factories that make Pop Tarts and iPads, by people sitting around thinking ‘what can we do to get people to buy more of these?’.

“And they’re very good at their jobs. But that’s what it is you’re getting, because that’s what they’re making, they’re selling you something. And the world is built on this now, politics and government are built on this, corporations are built on this. Interpersonal relationships are built on this, and we’re starving, all of us, and we’re killing each other, and we’re hating each other, and we’re calling each other liars and evil because it’s all become marketing and we want to win because we’re lonely and empty and scared and we’re led to believe winning will change all that. But there is no winning.

“What can be done? Say who you are, really say it in your life and in your work. Tell someone out there who is lost, someone not yet born, someone who won’t be born for 500 years. Your writing will be a record of your time, it can’t help but be. But more importantly if you’re honest about who you are you’ll help that person be less lonely in their world because that person will recognise him or herself in you and that will give them hope. It’s done so for me, and I have to keep rediscovering it, its profound importance in my life. Give that to the world, rather than selling something to the world, don’t allow yourself to be tricked into thinking that the way things are is the way the world must work and that in the end selling is what everyone must do. Try not to.

“This is from ee cummings: ‘to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting’. The world needs you, it doesn’t need you at a party having read a book about how to appear smart at parties – these books exist, and they’re tempting – but resist falling into that trap, the world needs you at the party starting real conversations, saying ‘I don’t know,’ ….being kind. (link)

Resources Online:

On Charlie Rose (Part I & II) (17 min)
On Synecdoche, life, work (with Tom Tangney) (17 min)
On writing, television years (Thinktalk) (12 min)
Charlie Kaufman On Being — And Directing (NPR– audio) (30 min)

Read:

Wikipedia
Being Charlie Kaufman (Salon)
Interview with Kaufman (Bluntreview)
BFI – Screenwriters Lecture Series  (Close-Up Film)
Anurag Kashyap’s notes Kaufman’s master class