Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Ultimate Inspirational Story

Over the years I have heard a variety of motivational stories that are very common in business education, self improvement books, church, job training, and e-mails. I have enjoyed most of them and seeing how I am prone to help other people, I think the best service I could do for others is to consolidate them into one all encompassing ultimate story of Inspiration. If this can't get you moving forward in life than nothing can enlighten or motivate you.

One evening as I was walking down the beach I came across some footsteps in the sand. I followed them for some time then I noticed they suddenly disappeared. As I looked around to see why I noticed a boy throwing starfish back into the ocean. I felt bad for his futile attempt to save them. As I approached him to tell him what I thought I heard a young man screaming for help. I saw a man thrashing in the water. I was about to run to help him when I noticed there was already an old man in a toga pulling his limp body out of the water. By this time the sun was setting and it was getting dark and cold so I walked towards a distant lighthouse. I could see an exchange of flickering lights taking place. As I neared the lighthouse I noticed a massive destroyer ship turning 20 degrees and barely missing the lighthouse. I was curious to find out what happened so I approached the lighthouse door and range the bell. I waited several minutes while watching the hound dog on the front porch moan, but nobody answered so I let myself in. I saw a man but he did not notice me because he was so engrossed in his animal experiments. He was heating up frogs in pots of warm water, there were crabs in baskets, flees in glass jars, and out the window I saw a baby elephant that was tied to to a tent peg with a small rope. I decided to take a closer look at the elephant but by the time I got outside there were three blind men examining its various parts. I decided not to bother them. I needed to get home so I jogged to the nearby train station. When I got there I noticed police and an ambulance. The train was not running because a worker's body had just been found in the refrigeration car. I decided to take the subway instead. During my commute I kept being distracted by several noisy kids who's father was oblivious to the problems they were causing. When I finally got to my apartment I was shocked to see it was almost completely under water from flooding. My landlord was on top of the roof but he wouldn't take hold of the helicopter ladder. I couldn't hear what he was saying, but he died. I just wish he could have heard me yelling "get up and win the race".

Now it's time to test your prior knowledge of motivational stories by using the chart below. This highly sofisticated model is the same one used on most home page internet articles that help you determine what kind of shape you are in, if you are a good kisser, what your financial IQ is, etc.

1-3 It's time to start reading something besides Steven King
4-6 Subscribe to more unwanted e-mail group lists
7-10 You must be very positive
11-14 Is that you Zig Zigler?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Movie Pet Peeves

I don't want to turn this blog into an online gripe session, but I have to get this out of my system. I am amazed at how much money is involved in making a Hollywood movie, yet despite the millions of dollars in a movie budget I am always shocked at some of the cheap shortcuts they take that can distract the viewer and kill a movie's credibility.

1) Fake Birth Scenes-I can't tell you how many 3 month old squeaky clean babies born without umbilical cords I've seen in movies over the years. Not that I want to see an actual bloody birth, but please don't hold up a clean 3 month old toddler with pierced ears that is supposed to be just minutes old.
2) Lame air instrument playing-The first time I noticed this was with Michael Landon's enthusiastic yet bogus fiddling in Little House on the Prairie. The worst case I have ever seen is the Villain in Moonraker playing Chopin on the piano. They do a close up of his hands and HE IS NOT EVEN MOVING THEM, yet the music beautifully flows forth.
3) Fake Sports action-Cutting away to show the ball swish through a hoop or horrible cut away editing that kills the feel of a play instead of showing an actual sports play. If your movie is about sports then hire athletes to be in it. It makes you really appreciate movies where they actually perform the feat instead of just simulate it. This problem has gotten much better over the years.
4) The fake knockout punch-This is usually accompanied by the fake obligatory punch sound effect. Kung Fu movies are the worst sound effect offenders. You got to love a guy that can punch 3 or 4 guys and knock each one out with one loud hit and keep them out cold for the 15 minutes while he does what he needs to and leaves without anyone ever reviving or challenging him again.
5) The Terminator Syndrome-The only thing worse than the fake knockout punch is it's opposite brother known as the guy who will not die. I can understand a robot movie getting away with this, but there are way to many movies since then where they kill the bad guy and he keeps coming back even though he has been shot, stabbed, run over, etc. Because of this when a villain dies I no longer assume he's dead until I see end credits.
6) Impossibly bad marksmanship-People shooting automatic weapons at each other at close range and never hitting the intended target despite shredding everything surrounding their target. In Goldeneye, 007 has about 30 Russian soldiers shooting machine guns at him from about 20 yards away during several different scenes but they can't seem to hit him.
7) Wounds that heal during the movie- Unless you are Wolverine I don't want to see this! Obviously most action movies are guilty of this. The character gets cut or almost blown up and they are bleeding and in the next scene it shows a little scratch, or a guy gets in a fight and gets a fat lip and black eye. The next morning he looks normal. Just think how much more realistic a movie would be if Bruce Willis actually had a swolen face after getting punched out. You could see the bruises change color over the course of the week as the movie progressed. I don't care how bad a movie is if they had credible cuts, bruises, and healing I would still give it two thumbs up.
8) Showing credits on the screen for more than the first five minutes-Every once in a while a movie will continue with credits well past the acceptable five minute mark. I have seen two or three that I swore took fifteen minutes to stop but I can't remember which movies they were. If you see any blatant offenders I would like to know who they are.

So my point is if you are going to make a movie and especially if you have millions of dollars in your budget, don't screw up by letting any of the above small yet distracting occurrences hurt the credibility of your movie. My other point is if you are reading this and you do have millions of dollars for making a movie I would love to be a consultant. I can't act, direct, film, etc., but I am great at watching movies and saying "whatever, come on, and so fake" I could really help you out.