THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT ALL
I have been thinking a great deal about multimedia recently—partly prompted by my recent burst of screenplay writing; partly because I don’t have TV at present so am relying on my computer for entertainment; and partly because, as a writer, it’s my job to be aware of this particular world.
The growth of video is downright frightening to a traditional wordsmith like me—and sometimes I wonder whether the written word will survive in anything like its present form—or will it evolve into pictograms or something similar. However, I’m fairly confident that it will see me out, which is just fine by me. And if my difficult children do get me a headstone, I don’t want it to show a video at the press of a button—it’s the way things are going—but to be granite and inscribed with good old fashioned words saying something like:
WORDS, WOMEN & WINE
HE DIED OF EXHAUSTION
Actually, that just about says it all, now I think about it—and, no, I don’t mean to be sexist. Trust me, it covers a multitude. Inspired by reading when I was a kid, it was my ambition to have adventures when I grew up—and life has not let me down. What exactly constituted an adventure? I didn’t know—which is part of the point.
In fact, my current focus is not the survival of the written word, but lengths and formats. Supposedly, a movie’s length is based upon the endurance of the average bladder—and U.S. TV programs are based on the maximum number of ads that can be squeezed in before viewers shoot their sets—but today with Smart phones, tablets, endless recording devices and the internet, the possibilities are endless.
My preference is for a movie—if it’s any good—to be 120 t0 140 minutes, but am otherwise biased towards mini-series and part-works. I like the idea of being able to develop a story free of the merciless time constraints of a movie script.
Such thoughts apart, it is clear that there is going to be a growing demand for short programs—ten to twenty minutes long—to provide sustenance for the YouTube generation.
This is a tough one to crack well—my comfort zone is long form—but it’s a compelling challenge. Indeed, one might almost call it an adventure.
PEOPLE DON’T DIE ANYMORE: Americans seem to have a profound fear of death (yet we chose lifestyles which kill us sooner than other developed countries). People don’t die, they “pass” or, as I read today, they “enter into rest.” This is rubbish, and is undermining that wonderful thing, the English language.
“Bring back death,” should be our cry—and personally, I intend to die.