Logging some advice to read when I’m ready to start rewriting…
Glass is a 1958 non-verbal documentary short by Bert Haanstra that contrasts glassblowing techniques used inside the Royal Leerdam Glass Factory with more modern industrial machines. The first half shows several men at work using traditional glassblowing to create ornate objects like vases and mugs set against jazz music, while the second part shifts abruptly into the mechanized world of industrial glass production set to a whimsical score of more synthesized music. Also, there’s a ton of great smoking! It’s a really unusual little film that went on to pick up an Oscar for Documentary Short Subject in 1959.
Picasso starts with a realistic picture of a bull, and over a series of 11 images hones it down, identifying the edges and elements which give the bull form. It ends with him removing everything extraneous, finding the simplest outline that still communicates bullness.
Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold. It makes the cracks stand out as part of the value of the ceramics and gives it a story.
Just finished reading Mario Vargas Llosa’s Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter which featured a radio sound effects performer called Puddler. Walter Murch’s The Conversations with Michael Ondaatje is probably my favourite non-fiction book. And now The Guardian have done an extended piece on sound design genius Skip Lievsay, titled Rain is sizzling bacon, cars are lions roaring. Always thought this would be a great profession for a character…
After the crunch of impact, there are a few moments of what might be mistaken for stillness. The two cars rest smoking and crumpled in the middle of a suburban intersection. Nothing moves – but the soundscape is deceptively layered. There is the sound of engines hissing and crackling, which have been mixed to seem as near to the ear as the camera was to the cars; there is a mostly unnoticeable rustle of leaves in the trees; periodically, so faintly that almost no one would register it consciously, there is the sound of a car rolling through an intersection a block or two over, off camera; a dog barks somewhere far away. The faint sound of a breeze was taken from ambient sounds on a street like the one depicted in the scene. When Javier Bardem shoves open the car door, you hear the door handle stick for a moment before it releases. There are three distinct sounds of broken glass tinkling to the pavement from the shattered window, a small handful of thunks as he falls sideways to the ground, his laboured breathing, the chug of his boot heel finally connecting with the asphalt – even the pads of his fingers as they scrabble along the top of the window. None of these sounds are there because some microphone picked them up. They’re there because Lievsay chose them and put them there, as he did for every other sound in the film. The moment lasts about 20 seconds. No Country For Old Men is 123 minutes long.
Search predictions – those auto-generated terms that pop up as you type into a search box – can be useful.
I’ve recently discovered they can also be funny.
And some offer a glimpse of an individual searcher, somewhere in the Googleverse, that’s so tragi-comic it makes you laugh out loud. This was the first time I noticed…
Head over to Instagram to check out my new ‘art project’ / procrastination method, Burning Questions of the Internet.