Tag: wide-release

The Difficulty in Interviewing

“It’s treacherous talking with you,” Holdengräber said at one point. Lynch responded with surprising candor. “The words, they’re not really necessary,” he told the crowd…

via Paris Review 'David Lynch, Hiding in Plain Sight' by Dan Piepenbring.

I've spent a lot of my life interviewing people to retrieve some sort of information that an audience might find interesting.

Most of the time I take a single path: If I'm interested in the answer, the audience will be too. I don't like to ask questions I already know the answers to. It feels intellectually dishonest.

I've seen some live interviews absolutely bomb. Thankfully I've either not experienced such a thing or have blocked it from my memory. Most of the time this is the interviewer's fault.

The interviews I've conducted that have bombed (particularly a Regurgitator one from 1995, thankfully lost to the ages and one more recently with some local TV actors) still haunt me, wondering what I could have done to save them. In 1995 I think it's because I was just too inexperienced, like a foal struggling to stand but nowhere near as cute.

The mess that was the interview with the creators of Twentysomething, however, came down to something really rare: Sometimes people just don't get along.

But it's more than that. We didn't get along and I didn't want to put myself in a position where we would get along. I think the failure of that interview was that I didn't like their TV show and I was too proud to pretend, which is what the subjects needed in order to feel comfortable answering questions.

When I read this review of a live interview with David Lynch in Brooklyn I felt for the interviewer. Lynch is, no doubt, an awesome presence and a peculiar communicator and he gives what he is comfortable giving, and he doesn't strike me as a man who is comfortable with much.

That statement, though: "The words, they’re not really necessary." He's lying, of course. He knows the words are necessary. He pays close attention to the words, but they shouldn't be the focus. The interaction is what's important; the being on stage and investigating each other. As Fran Lebowitz put it so succinctly:

The opposite of talking isn't listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.

via Goodreads

Making everybody like you

"We must make it clear that Labor is not for one group of Australians, or one sector of the economy, at the expense of others."

via 'Bill Shorten urges changes to ALP union membership rules and leadership selection' from ABC News.

Well, this is just ridiculous. The idea of a political party is that it protects the needs of a particular segment of society. Trying to please everybody shows that the party no longer has a sense of what is important.

Put another way, a political party is based around an ideology. If that ideology no longer exists, the political party doesn't have a reason to exist.

The labour movement in Australia is in trouble. The Labor party is in trouble. The world has changed. No one will protect the workers any more. No one is protecting the small-business owner either.

By trying to be a party of/for everyone, the ALP will completely sell out the people who they should represent in the house. This will be to everybody's detriment.

Shows Sometimes Being Not Good

Seriously, in conception, performance, and execution, this guy was one of the most inexcusable zeroes I can remember in more than three decades of watching television. I’ve seen revolving doors with more backbone, paperweights with more charisma. Daniel Lanagin’s dog, the one that jumped into the swimming pool after Frank’s steak, demonstrated more savvy in 30 seconds of screen time than the elected president of the United States did in two seasons.

via "Washington, T.V." by Andy Greenwald in Grantland.

I don't review television anymore but I still enjoy reading great television criticism. Andy Greenwald's one of the best around at the moment.

Season Two of House of Cards was more like Game of Thrones: shitty soap opera using sex and violence to excite rather than propel the story.

The laziness of that 'story telling' is illustrated perfectly in the weakness of President Walker. This man was no impediment to Frank Underwood's destructive stroll to the Oval Office. They showed no fight in him. Everything was surface. Every President in 24 was more nuanced.

The UK version of House of Cards was not a very subtle or nuanced tale, but it at least had a sense competition to get behind.

More importantly, though: Just because something is not very good doesn't mean that you aren't allowed to enjoy it. Many people sat down to immerse themselves in season 2 and when they came up for air were perfectly content.

But when the final scene closed I groaned and picked up a great book to fill the hole it had dug in my soul.

How Daniel Ricciardio’s unfortunate position might be to the world’s benefit

New F1 rules prohibit the use of more than 100kg of petrol an hour.

via "Cruel twist for disqualified Daniel Riccardio" in The Australian.

The idea of fuel consumption in a Formula 1 race is a positive move. It encourages manufacturers to develop more fuel-efficient engines.

Ricciardo's position is one of a team-member. The entire team is stripped of its second place position, not just Ricciardo. But he is part of a team and has to wear its failings.

Maybe instead of focusing on the hardship of the Australian driver we should look to Mercedes and ask how they managed to get those speeds on less fuel consumption.

Formula 1 technologies progress to domestic vehicles over time and better fuel consumption in powerful engines is something the market will definitely be interested in.

The art of urbane wit

I'd rather be the mayor

Few modern writers/commentators manage to excel at urbane wit like Fran Lebowitz. Lyndal introduced me to her writing early in our relationship and I devoured the two books she had published, now available in a single volume.

I've long mourned the lack of any further publication but recently discovered that there's a whole lot of her on youtube.

I'll make excuses to be at the computer for a while.

via Valerie Steele in conversation with Fran Lebowitz at the Queer History of Fashion Symposium.

Unplanned Obsolescence

Blockbuster’s thirty-year story encapsulates the dangers of resting on prior models of success in a changing industrial landscape; by the time you realize your own obsolescence, it’s too late.

From LAST BLUES FOR BLOCKBUSTER in the New Yorker blog.

I worked in a video store as a teen. Movieland in Caulfield was a perfect job for a young cinephile burning with a passion for independent learning.

It was a place where I made some wonderful friends and learnt about people, their tastes, and began to develop my own sense of criticism.

It was owned by a couple of businessmen who didn’t care about movies but saw the franchise as an opportunity for some good cash profit. They also recognised the right time to get out of the business.

They sold it months before a Blockbuster opened 75 metres away. The man who bought it, also as a side investment, didn’t know how to run it and maintain competitive advantage. His manager was not clued in to the needs of the customers.

The store closed a couple of years later. I had already been fired early in the new regime; the manager desperate to have people who wouldn’t question her decisions. Riding my bike past the empty store, I experienced my first feeling of professional Schadenfreude.

The Blockbuster lasted about 10 more years but has been gone for just as long now. It was the first sign, for me, that short term growth would be favoured in the market over sustainable practices that cost a little more.

That I was vindicated in my early economic assessment is little comfort, though. Recommendation is performed by an algorithm now, which gets it right a lot of the time, so people, movie renters, don’t miss the store experience. But the skill of empathy required to recommend a film to someone is the great loss to the world from the death of the video store.

It was a place where the staff would speak to the customers regularly, get to know them and their tastes, and be able to provide a truly personal service. I love my Netflix subscription but it’s anything other than personal. Blockbuster started designing its own tombstone when it removed passion from the process. Netflix just took over the reins. Sunrise, sunset.

Thanks to Daniel for sending me a link to the original blog post.