Saturday, December 18, 2010

Movies, Books, and What Is Good

I know we've already established this pretty thoroughly already, even though this panel isn't into its second week yet, but still I find myself reiterating it. I approach things from a different angle.

I imagine it's probably expected of me as an artist, but it's not just art that I find myself approaching bizarrely. It's life altogether. For now, though, I'm going to focus on entertainment-multimedia and how I determine what is good.

Entertainment-Multimedia and How I Determine What Is Good
Sorry, couldn't resist. I've been in a bit of a titling mood lately. It will probably fade out in a few days and you'll be back to long meandering paragraphs. Moving on.

I have found I use very different criteria than the Academy (don't we all) and most other people I've met. For me, entertainment multimedia (movies, books, tv, music) is a tool for escaping the real world (though in past messages, I've given an idea of just how real I think it is) regardless whether it's a painful world or not. My imagination is a powerful tool, and I take no vacations on exercising it.

The ease of escaping into the world that the entertainment creates is my primary criteria. If I can't sit there next to one of the characters, or inside the head of one of the characters (this doesn't equal standing in their shoes--that's different), then it's not going to be a good movie or book for me, regardless of how the other criteria fare.

The next two criteria are fairly level in terms of importance, and linked in terms of what aspects they address, but I'll address them individually.

The thoroughness of the world that the entertainment creates is a secondary criteria. If they creators have built a world thoroughly enough that I can add on my own fictions to it without violating the rules of the universe, then I'm going to enjoy it. This allows me to be my own character.

The ease of inserting myself, as my own character, not just in my own fictions of their world, but actually into the progress of their story, is also a secondary criteria. I have no intention of interfering with the storyline (that's more along the lines of the previous criteria, creating my own fictions), nor do I have any intention of being a main character (I know I'm not suited to that role, even in the stories I create from scratch); instead, I want to watch the story, not from the third-person view that we read off the page or view from the screen (nor from the author's choice of first- or second-person), but with my own eyes.

Acting, directing, these sort of things don't apply to me. If the world is real enough, all I care about is the characters behaving like they should. If they do something that seems out-of-character, I have to make a choice: do I revise how I perceive them, or do I refuse to accept that part of them and decide it's not a good story. In reflection, it seems I usually choose the first route, deciding the character is suffering from more inner turmoil than I gave them credit for, but often enough I can't get around it and the moment ruins the movie.

So to all those creators and artists out there: please don't ruin it for me. If your character has more inner turmoil than you give them credit for, give them more credit, thanks.