Originally published in The Pyambar.com on 13 April 2013.
How to make the movie experience more rewarding and enriching
Just as “hearing” and “listening” are not the same neither is “seeing” similar to “looking.” “Watching” a movie is different than “Viewing” it. This article is aimed to make your next movie experience more rewarding whether you step into a Cineplex or sit down to watch a Hollywood flick on a DVD.
Movies are an integral part of our lives .They are woven delicately into the fabric of our childhood memories, teen-age playfulness, youth time adventures, and middle age realities. Every time we watch a movie in a theater with family or with a gang of friends or alone, a part of our life is associated with the movie. However, the “entertainment” value of a movie watched as a leisure activity can be transformed into a more rewarding experience with little effort. Watching movies with a smarter approach is different from doing a journalistic critique. Here is a step-by-step approach for a smart movie experience.
Step -1: Identify the Genre
Not all the movies are worth seeing. So instead of falling for every new movie churned out of the industry, choose the genre wisely and at least mentally approve it. The possibilities include Action, Adventure, comedy, drama, epic, horror, musical, science fiction, war, mystery etc. Normally the movie poster, DVD cover, TV promo or internet advertisement give out a clear clue about the genre of movie. There is nothing more suffering for a comedy movie lover, to make him watch a horror film!
Step -2: Know the Movie
Reading about a movie prior to watching it can be quite rewarding. This can be done by a simple Google search, a Wikipedia page, browsing the official website or reading the reviews on popular film portals likeimdb.com. However, care should be taken to avoid any spoilers. For the lazy ones a cursory reading of a movie poster or DVD cover could do wonders. The bottom line is that it is important to get “a feel” about the movie before actually watching it. Just walking blindfolded, straight into theater can be risky enough to ruin your next couple of hours.
Step -3:Take the Director’s Seat
While all most all the movie goers are casual and relaxed individuals the movie makers or directors are not. For them it is a very serious piece of work. Thus, every scene filmed and presented has been well thought out with a specific purpose to fit in perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle. Understanding and identifying choices and decisions of a film’s director is something very difficult but it differentiates a casual film viewer from a smart movie goers.
Step -4: Hold the Writer’s Pen
Believe it, all movies start on a piece of paper. At times, while enjoying the movie think like a screenplay writer. Keeping the track of story and identifying its key twists and turns can enrich the overall experience. Brain storming to guess about next scenes and happenings could ignite sparks of imagination in your grey matter.
Step -5: Grab the Camera
Movies are after all a visual experience and there is no harm in getting behind the camera through imagination. Realizing the camera as an extension of human eye, watch the movie from a camera operator’s perspective. Zooms, angels, cuts and tracking camera moves can give interesting clues and surprising details. Make the camera lens as if it’s your eye or use your eye as if it is a camera filming the scene.
Step -6: Become an Editor
Editing is a tremendous job. The famous movie Brave heart had a total filming time of about 168 hours, which was cut to less than three hours! Therefore, the task of ensuring a smooth seamless flow of movie and stitching the scenes in a manner as if they were never stitched is quite daunting. To enrich the movie experiences just try to identify the editors’ cuts. Best ones will never be detected but after all no one is perfect.
Step -7: Be the actor
Most helpful in this step can be the woman right next to you, if you are accompanied. Women generally are completely absorbed into the movie and on anything emotional, sad, tragic, romantic, horrific and funny they themselves become the actors or part of movies .This is something remarkable and can be easily identified through their wet eyes, sobs or abrupt fits of laughers. Learn boys learn!
Step -8: Enjoy the ambience
Lighting and ambience sets the overall mode of a scene in a film. Even the most horrific scene, filmed in shadows and low light, would become comical to watch in full lights. Occasionally, keenly observe the lighting arrangement being followed in a movie and it is bound to reveal much more than expected.
Step -9: Absorb the sounds
Some movies despite of being visual masterpieces are long remembered for their outstanding musical scores and sound tracks. ”Take my breath away….” from Top Gun ,”My heart goes on and on….” from Titanic and the amusing sound track of “The last of Mohicans “ are few examples. Enjoying background music can enhance the movie experience manifolds.
Step -10: Fall Back to Real World
Now for most of the males this is quite easy part but remember the lady who accompanied you to the movie theater? Rests assure she would take days and even weeks to come out of this experience. This might soon reflect in her changed hairstyle, clothes, accessories, and even in her walk and talk. Anyway, it’s better to fall back to real life as soon as possible so that you can be ready for the next movie.
Concluding the above narrative, the most difficult part is to take care of all the above-mentioned aspects simultaneously. Therefore, the ultimate test of a movie experience is that once watching a film how much you are capable of understanding and correlating the story, as well as taking care of the technical aspects like music, lights, and camera angles, editing and at the same time appreciating the artistic side of the movie. Initially, this all might seem impossible. However, with more practice this can add joy to your otherwise dull movie experience.
All the best!