This month I decided to try something a little different with my blog entry. While I typically write about the video production industry, or software, or equipment, I thought it would be interesting to have a little fun exploring the opinions of the various members of the ECG Productions team. We’re constantly talking about content – what we produce, what our competitors produce, what we’ve seen online, on television, in the theater. Having a vested interest in content creation, we’re all understandably highly opinionated about it.
I find the conversations around the office on a typical day fascinating, not just because the insights are coming from people who are constantly producing quality video and animation, but because the opinions vary so widely. I think that’s one of the things that makes a great team: combining a variety of viewpoints and sensibilities to produce a cohesive whole that makes decisions based on discourse. Think of it like this: if you’ve got a whole orchestra pit and you fill it with just French Horns playing the same melody, you get a very loud “French Horn” melody. They amplify each other, but there’s no variation. If, however, you fill out the other sections with all the various instruments that make up a symphony, you get something much more layered, much more interesting. All that to say the opinions about content in this office are as varied as the people who make up our team – and rather than just overhear or participate in conversations in the hallway or on set, I figured it would be pretty cool to write some of this great stuff down.
So I decided to write up a short survey about film & television. I tried to keep the categories fairly non-traditonal, and to keep it short overall. Coming up with choices for these should be just as much fun as a conversation amongst friends over drinks. The plan is to roll out a blog post for each ECG staffer over the next few months, detailing what they chose and why. Short & simple, but I think you’ll find their responses enlightening and hopefully you’ll get to know the personalities who make up this talented team a little better in the process.
Without further ado, here are the categories (along with a short description for each) that I came up with:
Sometimes this means best writing, sometimes it doesn’t. What I’m looking for here is what comes across on the screen. I’ve seen dialogue on the page that I never thought would work come absolutely alive when the right actors and/or director get their hands on it. Other times it’s totally flat until the editor works his or her magic. Regardless, the selection here should be based on the finished product and nothing else.
Pretty self-explanatory here. Does it work, is it coherent, are you entertained? I’m not looking for a barometer of how well it serves the plot or advances the story. Just action for action’s sake. Revel in it.
Best Emotional Connection With The Audience
This is a tricky one to quantify, but essentially what I’m asking is “did you feel something”. Watching a movie and knowing the director wants me to be sad is one thing; actually feeling sad is something else entirely. There are films that push my emotional buttons that I might not even think are particularly good. Compartmentalize that factor.
Again, fairly self-explanatory. The movie you know you should hate, but you love it in spite of yourself. I’ve found this is often the movie you’ll reach for when you’re catastrophically hungover. Its kinds of a comfort object (see below for more on this).
This answer likely has more to do with you than the movie itself, but I always find this one fascinating. I myself can’t watch “Rudy” without getting choked up – and I don’t even like football.
Movie You Feel Like You SHOULD Like, But Don’t
The “reverse guilty pleasure”. The movie everyone gushes about that’s just baffling to you. What does everyone see in this shit that you don’t?
Movie You Hate Purely Out Of Spite
Similar to the above, but remove all logic. You won’t let yourself like this movie. You cannot watch it objectively – in fact, you may have never seen it at all. But regarless, you fucking hate it and you hate the stupid face of anyone who yammers on about how great it is.
All-Time Favorite (pick one! no ties)
This is really here because people constantly say things like “it depends on when you ask me” and “there are too many to choose”. Shut up. Pick one.
Best Episodic Drama
I don’t want to tell you how to answer, but in my opinion this answer has to take into account not just long-term story arc and character development, but also overall quality over time. Some shows start strong and fizzle. Others take whole seasons to pay dividends. And then there are those special few shows that never miss a step and pull it all together into a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. Basically I’m saying if your answer isn’t “The Shield”, you’re wrong. But, you know, feel free to mull it over and come up with your own conclusion.
Best Comedy (Low Brow)
Subjective of course, but you get the idea. The cheaper the laughs the better. Sometimes you want entertainment that makes you think. Watching this show is not one of those times.
Best Comedy (High Brow)
Again, very subjective. One man’s high brow comedy is another man’s pretentious douche-fest. Regardless, I’m looking for something that makes you laugh without pandering. No nuts shots here.
In a genre that is beyond over-saturated (VH1 is still running “Dating Naked, ffs), I feel there are some rare gems that go outside the formula, or if they don’t, execute it so perfectly that the content is actually pretty outstanding in its own right.
Comfort Food/Hangover Fodder
Got the shakes? Got “the fear”? Casually texting people you hung out with last night to make sure you’re still friends? What’s the show you’re looking for the stave off the creeping advance of existential horror?
Best Series Finale
Like it says, this is the series that ended in a satisfying way. Maybe it wrapped up the storylines, maybe it raised new questions, but it FELT right and you walked away feeling fulfilled. The answer to this question is not “LOST”.
Lived Up To The Hype
Nobody would shut up about this show and you finally cracked & watched it…and godamnit they were right. You should have listened, but now you can go act like you liked it before it was cool anyway.
Pressured Into Watching This And…Meh:
The opposite of the above. Hype, hype, hype and when you finally checked it out, it was garbage. You should have stuck to your guns.
All-Time Favorite (pick one! no ties)
Any genre, any time period. It just had to be broadcast somewhere on Earth at some point since the dawn of television.
So there they are. I’ll be compiling the responses and doing a blog post for each responder. My hope is that there will be some interesting contradictions (one person’s All-Time Favorite is another person’s “Hate Out of Spite”, etc.) and we can have some point-counterpoint style podcasts down the road as well. Either way, it should be interesting.
In the meantime, if you’re a loyal reader and you want to send me your answers to the above – go for it. I’d love to hear what you have to say and we may even publish some of them if they end up being insightful, entertaining, or both.
Thanks for reading and keep being opinionated about what you watch. There’s nothing more boring than being a passive viewer.