Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): A New Direction

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A New Direction

I am changing my approach to The Dancing Image. This mostly means a behind-the-scenes reconfiguration on my part, but what will be its physical manifestations? In other words, how does this affect you, dear reader? Let me delineate:

1. Less is more
Quantity will drop, quality will rise. I will post maybe once a week, maybe more if the spirit moves me, maybe less. But only on a topic that excites me (no more self-imposed commitments; see below), and even when it's a lightning flash rather than a cultivated essay I will revise and improve as need be.

2. No commitments
I am dropping the idea of full-length posts on every film in the following Netflix queues: the Chronological Canon (that's where all the silent films have been coming from), Best of the 21st Century (which at any rate has been abandoned since August), and even The Director's Chair/Auteurs series. In their place, I will offer up capsule reviews of 25 films at a time for the first two queues, and, in the case of The Director's Chair, an analysis and reaction to a director's career once I've watched all of his movies.

3. Termites over elephants
I want to sacrifice comprehensiveness for intensity. Though this may seem to contradict my promise of more worked-over, thought-out essays, it doesn't - after all, Farber's termites connotated an extreme focus on detail over "balance." I will probably start attacking more movies from a certain point, focusing on a given aspect rather than trying to capture the whole. A little more of my old IMDB spirit, where I could be more succinct, pointed, and assertive given the lack of formal restrictions.

4. Whither greatness?
Exploring mostly new movies (new to me), I have not dealt with many masterpieces on The Dancing Image. Nor have I tackled films I feel passionately about. Both shortcomings will be rectified in my upcoming series on Favorite Great Movies - not guilty pleasures, nor Art That Must Be Studied - classics (or should-be classics) which I also happen to love. It may be 120, or 150, and it may take years to get through, because I won't write on a given movie until I can ensure it's the best writing possible. Sometimes I'll crawl inside the picture, at others stand outside and marvel at its formal beauty; I may riff on associations or deal explicitly with what's onscreen - the approach will depend on the movie and my own mood. Even within this goal, no artificial constraints. Except one: I'll unwind the epic list in chronological order...albeit without necessarily knowing what the next film will be. This series will essentially be the central function of The Dancing Image from now on.

5. It's the pictures, stupid.
I don't intend to compete with Jeremy Richey's visual panache (who could?) but since the early days, I've tried to crown my prose with an unusual and appealing still. Till now, this has been limited by what I can Google. But now I promise to offer up hand-picked frames from the movies in question (unless they are unavailable on DVD). The focus will still be on the word, but hell, it's a movie blog, right? I ought to give you something fresh to look at...

While blogging recedes as a personal priority, and as I attempt to move forward in my understanding, appreciation of, and involvement with cinema, this seems to me the best way to reconcile my own responsibilities and desires with my readers’ enjoyment. The Dancing Image will only get better from here on...that's my one last promise.



6 comments:

Jason Bellamy said...

Rock on! In whatever form, I'll be reading.

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, same for me (and now that I'm holding less of a gun to my own head, post-wise, maybe I'll have more time to peruse my blogroll instead of dropping by peoples' blogs to commenting on weeks-old posts...)

Daniel Getahun said...

Sounds great - stay true to yourself and your interests. We'll continue to read!

Jeremy Richey said...

Hey MovieMan,
Please forgive my delay in responding to your question on how to do screencaptures. I have been under the weather and am behind in everything.
I just play the disc on Real Player and hit Print screen on the image I want. Then I copy that picture to Paint. After saving it I edit all the junk around the shot down to the actual screen shot. I am sure there are better ways to do it but that works for me...email me if you have any furter questions and again I am very sorry about the delay in responding.

Tony D'Ambra said...

MM, I use BS Player Free which allows you to capture frames easily at the original frame size using a short-cut key. Supports DVD, AVI, DivX etc. Download from http://www.bsplayer.org/en/bs.player/download/

MovieMan0283 said...

Daniel, Jeremy, Tony - thanks.

Jeremy & Tony - I actually figured out a different way to do it - none of the screen-capture stuff was working and I don't have any decent photo-editing programs on my computer. I do, however, have Final Cut Pro and I can drag the VIDEO_TS files from the DVD folder into the program and find the right spot with a cursor, then take a screen-cap. There's probably an easier way, but that's par for the course for me - find some obscure way because I can't find the easier way!

This would also seem to work for capturing video clips (though there I'd have to drag audio and render too) - but I still have to figure out how to post a video here. I'm trying to avoid You Tube because I don't want my stuff deleted (an experimental film I made years ago featuring clips from that version of Wind in the Willows, which I might post on here at some point, was deleted from You Tube a few months ago - not because of the video clips but because a record company saw one of their songs was used.)