Thursday 13: Loving Learning

Things I've learned in the last 6 weeks. WOW! I can't believe I've been in school that long! I hope to apply many of these lessons throughout my life as a filmmaker. I'm setting up some insane standards for myself, but why aim any lower than the moon?

1) I can't stand narration. It drives me bananas!! I don't want to hear what you have to say. Let the characters in the movie speak for themselves. Nine times out of 10, they can say it better and what you're saying is redundant anyway.

2) Title cards aren't much better. When you use 18,901 title cards in one film, it's just as bad as using excessive narration. Please use sparingly.

3) YOUR MOVIE IS TOO LONG. Okay, okay. I already knew this and it was most certainly a pet peeve of mine in feature films and in documentaries or non-fiction films (not necessarily one and the same). If you're going over 90 minutes, you better have a very good reason. Most of the time filmmakers just haven't edited enough. I know your subject is compelling, but don't make the movie long because you wanted to add every single thing they ever said that you thought was interesting. Make it count.

4) I like to watch documentaries. I'm sure you're thinking, "Um... you want to make documentaries... shouldn't you have already known that." I did. But making them and watching them is not the same. Furthermore, it's very different to watch a documentary and analyze it.

5) "It must be nice to watch films in class and for homework." Please see this as a continuation of the previous point in reference to analyzation. If you think this is leisurely film watching, you are mistaken. Though I enjoy a portion of the films I watch, I also have to pay attention and learn things from them.

6) You have to sit through some really awful movies to get to the good stuff. Whether it's the plot, microphone wires showing, awful lighting, nearly unintelligible sound, the aforementioned narration and length issues, there are a lot of films that are very difficult to watch.

7) People look crazy going to class. Yes, this isn't all about films and filmmaking. I went to an HBCU. People dressed decently to go to class. Many people wore heels (reasonable because the campus is much smaller than this one), blazers, but most importantly next to no one wore pajamas or gym-type clothing. It gave me a high standard. That doesn't mean I believe you HAVE to wear these types of clothes to class but your crazy t-shirt doesn't speak highly of you and you SHOULD have to at least get dressed.

8) It is FUN to go to a school with a ranked football team! I can't wait to actually go to a game. The stadium seats 90,000. Yes! You read that right! And everyone who has been insists it is an experience not to be missed, as you can imagine. I intend to find out for myself!

9) Basketball tickets are FREE!!! AND the team has been awesome in the past few years! Yeah!!! It could've been more than the last few years but before that I was so ACC-centered I didn't even really notice. I'm still a huge Duke fan (and will support accordingly should the teams meet!), but living in football-crazy Pittsburgh definitely got me away from my first sports love. I'm SO glad to be reunited! There are at least 3 guys in my program who are also excited about the games. We're gonna get a block of seats!

10) Finding a church is HARD!! Yes, I knew this but trying 4 churches in the last few weeks is wearing on me. I've been to Bible Study 2 consecutive weeks where the pastor used or referenced 10-45, yes 45 verses. The first pastor used 10 and did not connect any of them which left me frustrated. The 2nd pastor used more than 45!! This left me mad. He only had us read about 15 of them (like that's not enough). Then he read at least 30 of them so quickly that you could only get maybe every 2-3 and said, "If you can't keep up, you're gonna have to get the cd." It's one thing to suggest the cd and another to rattle off the verses so quickly that you couldn't keep up if you tried. I stopped trying quite so hard and just looked at him with an annoyed face. Why write down verses you're not talking about in depth, which bounce all over the Bible and don't relate to your original text, AND I know I won't go back and look up? There's no point.

Then you took up an offering, AT BIBLE STUDY, had 25 minutes of music, 5 minutes of announcements, called for new members, talked about your desire for the gift of prophesy, sowing a seed (if you give what you can today, maybe next year God will help you give $1,000), and raise your hand if you would like God to help you speak in tongues. It was just about everything I'm NOT looking for in a church.

First, when I come to bible study I don't want music. I want to get straight into the word. Then, I don't want you to do a cursory explanation of 15 verses. When you force people to bounce all over their Bibles they lose interest and become frustrated, or believe something's wrong with them. There is no need to use that many texts in an hour. You need to edit!!! Go DEEPER. I got spoiled by my pastor in Pittsburgh.

Second, a call for new members is weird at Bible Study because didn't you just do that on Sunday? Unorthodox but not something I can't stand for. Your desire for the gift of prophesy, "like the lines of people you see on tv" (YES THAT'S A NEAR-EXACT QUOTE) is discouraging. Some of those people are charlatans. I don't want to be a part. Why don't you just ask God to speak to people through you via his word? That word prophesy is SO loaded.

Third, sowing a seed. I can't go to a church obsessed with money. This is a deal-breaker. Stop trying to get rich from being a pastor. As my dear pastor said (paraphrasing), "You can't control and manipulate God. He doesn't bless you because of what you do. If He did that, He wouldn't be all powerful. He blesses us IN SPITE OF ourselves. He will supply our NEEDS." Please be biblically-based in your message or I will remove myself from your presence.

Fourth, on speaking in tongues, his question led me to believe they teach you to speak in tongues there. You can't teach someone this. In I Corinthians 14, it clearly shows it the language spoken has to be interpreted. It's not just babbling. It's supposed to be a message. Another thing people take and twist however they see fit. DRIVES ME BANANAS!!

Oh and I didn't like when he pumped his body and said, "When you thrustin [meaning sex], Jesus is thrustin with you." I understand the message, that Jesus is with you all the time and everything you do, He knows about, but the body movement to illustrate? I'm gonna have to pass on that one. Why'd y'all get me started?

11) Working and going to school is for the birds. I don't know from experience yet but I'm about to have to find out.

12) I need the internet and a tv!! Not having either has allowed me to see far more films than I likely would have, but the lack of internet is putting a damper on my ability to research.

13) I like blending into crowds. With 50,000 students, it's easy. At first I felt very self-concious about being in unfamiliar territory, but now I've noticed there are so many people, most don't pay much attention to you. Most of the time I like skating under the radar here. It's very different from how I used to be. I still like seeing people I know, but it's nice to not have to worry about the issues that arise with being incessantly noticed.


Rashan Jamal said...

Tangent is not a strong enough word to describe what you did in # 10. LOL

It's cool watching docs with you and hearing the analysis. I know you are gonna be a great filmmaker.

1969 said...

"When you thrustin [meaning sex], Jesus is thrustin with you."

I would have stood up, picked up all ofmy belongings and made an EXIT STAGE LEFT.

Anonymous said...

Darlin, I dont care if UF won back to back Natl Championships in basketball, you go to a FOOTBALL school.

Thats why the tix are free.

As for watching and analyzing movies being fun,

Once upon a time I was the asst Offensive Coordinator in HS.

Watching football games is fun.

charting and analyzing game film is WORK.

Narration is an art to write and to deliver (see Freeman, Morgan)

If you aint gonna do it right, don't.

Anonymous said...

Do not hate on going to claSs in PJ'S!!!! Its hard to be comfortable! Plus, when you in a rush, you gotta make it do what it do.

Adei von K said...

i am so over that bible study man. i beg you to tell me you were lying about that thrusting demonstration and bringing jesus' name into it!

i was thinking about "winter" in the 'ville. have you seen the fashion trend that is slides with tiny shorts and a thick behind hoodie??

La said...

"Furthermore, it's very different to watch a documentary and analyze it"

I am SO glad you said that. I try to explain to people that, having studied tv/film/theater and gotten a degree in them, I can't simply just watch a movie/play/tv show. Unless you've actually had to look at it with a critical eye, you don't get the difference.


"When you thrustin [meaning sex], Jesus is thrustin with you."

You know what. Jesus shall not thrust, lol. Veto sir.

Darius T. Williams said...

Yea, I bet finding a church is difficult. It took me forever when I was in New Jersey - then by the time I had one - I upped and moved it back to Chicago. Horrible, right? I know.

You're freaking HILARIOUS!

ruthibel said...

Weelll, you know you've found your calling when nobody else gets it... everybody's like: what? you find charting and analyzing movies and watching documentaries fun?? And you're like: yeah, for real, no kidding...

You've found your calling. Amen.

Southerner in Suomi said...

Stop talking about we dress at big schools!! They dress like that (I'm not a fan of the pajamas) because college is your time to super lazy in your dress before you have to actually dress like an adult. I went to an HBCU every summer and all I saw was "dressed up" people who were extremely uncomfortable.
And LSU's stadium holds 93,000 people. Death Valley is better than the swamp any day.

Now the fact that you and LA had to explain to people the difference in just watching a movie, show's how ADD our society is. It should be common sense.

Jameil said...

rj... lol. i told you it was out of control. i like watching docs w/you too! lol. this will start rumors...

1969... girl i was so appalled. know what else? HE WAS STANDING IN FRONT OF HIS WIFE. ya nasty.

ink... i'm aware. football games are $10 for students, every other sport is straight free. i'm very narration skeptical. i doubt he wrote that narration anyway, tho.

epsi... it's hard to be comfortable??? whatever!! that's every stylist/fashionista's nightmare word! you can be comfortable without just rolling out of bed! make it get dressed!

adei... right?? and i'm not lying. i saw that hoodie w/shorts week one my dear. WHEN IT WAS 95 DAILY!! these people... i can't.

la... lol. exactly. i know! i don't need to see that under any circumstances in el churcho, dude!

darius... it's INSANE!!! i was in pgh 3 years, only at my church for a year. SO discouraging. i loved that church.

ruthi... lol. sometimes i want to just watch a doc w/o analyzation but it is what it is. i def. like finding lighting i like in this movie, great audio in that movie, apt narration in another movie, awful music in another and on and on.

v... i will not stop talking like that. get it together. there's a medium b/t pjs and uncomfortable. GO GATORS!! Now saddown. :P

the joy said...

Lol you were feeling #10 eh? Lol but that pastor does sound shady tho..

If I lived even remotely near my school there would have been plenty of days where I left the house in pjs. I used to wear pj pants in high school. But I don't even iron, so....

I love your love of dcumentaries. I want to tell you about the one's I've seen but I see that you watch them for different reasons so.... (but still, I'm about to check out taxi to the dark side.)

Not so Anonymous said...

I check out your spot often, but I don't think I've ever commented. I just couldn't help myself but to LOL at the Jesus is thrustin with you comment. OMG, I would have been so uncomfortable. LOL

Open Grove Claudia said...

I have been dying to know how it's going! How exciting that it's going so well!! I admire your willingness to hang in their with the churches. It takes a while to fit in.