Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Assault of More

For the unfamiliar, a "reveal" in screenwriting parlance is the placement of key, revelatory information in a story. Most times, the last reveal is the most important revelation of all.

FADE IN:

INT. HOUSE - DAY

A GUY (20’s, average-looking) sits at a DESK with a LAPTOP open before him. He surfs the internet.

He clicks and up comes a SEARCH ENGINE SCREEN.

INSERT LAPTOP SCREEN:

“GOGGLE”

Heres lookin at YOU kid!”


Search:   ______________________________________________


“Goggle”

“Seeing it all, and then some”


BACK TO SCENE

He is about to type some search parameters when...

A POP-UP appears.

INSERT LAPTOP SCREEN:

“Goggle wants to get you there faster. Now Goggle is not just in your computer, we’re in your car, we’re in your house, we’re in your LIFE!

“Get out here on the leading edge with us and beta-test our new software, GOGGLE-ALL! Experience the Goggle lifestyle. Let us live YOUR life for you. Sign up for beta testing now and you will see an immediate change in your day!”

Click: “I want Goggle to do my heavy-lifting!”

BACK TO SCENE

He thinks about it, then:

                  GUY
             What the hell.

He clicks his MOUSE (OS).

LATER

EXT. HOUSE - DAY - CONTINUOUS

He comes out of his house carrying his BRIEFCASE, ready to drive to work.

Approaching his CAR, he finds it already running, the driver door open and waiting for him.

He looks around to see who did it, but his driveway and the street are both deserted.

He looks at his KEYS, and then cautiously gets into the car without closing the door.

INSIDE CAR

He sees that there are no keys in the ignition, but the engine is running. After a moment, he pulls the door closed.

The car immediately shifts into reverse and starts moving out of the driveway. He freaks out, grabs for the wheel, but it steers by itself. He watches it fearfully.

Suddenly it stops abruptly. He looks around and sees a WOMAN pushing a BABY STROLLER on the sidewalk immediately behind the car.

OUTSIDE CAR

The woman pushes the stroller past.

After she has gone by, the car resumes backing out.
Once in the street, the car shifts into drive and takes off.

INT. CAR

He just sits there as the car drives down the street. The RADIO comes on, and then switches to another STATION. There’s an AD for the new GOGGLE auto driving technology:

                  VOICE
             Goggle knows what YOU want! 
             Goggle’s new driving technology 
             “leverages” our great Map, 
             Navigation, planet-wide 
             geographic database, Goggle 
             User Knowledge-Store, and 
             Goggle Partners to take you 
             anywhere you want to go! In 
             Beta testing now, Goggle-All 
             will drive you to work, to the 
             game, or anywhere you need to 
             be, on the most efficient and 
             safest route available. During 
             testing, we’ve logged 140,000 
             miles in street and highway 
             driving all across California, 
             the busiest state in America. 
             Need a Monday morning lift? 
             After driving you to work, 
             Goggle-ALL will have your 
             coffee waiting. Got milk? At 
             home, Goggle-All will track 
             your groceries and have Goggle 
             Partner, Pantry Warehouse 
             deliver them 24/7. Missed that 
             movie or TV show? Goggle-All 
             has it queued and waiting 
             online! Become a Beta Tester 
             now at Goggle and we’ll do all 
             your heavy-lifting for you!

He listens, staring out the window as the CITY passes by.

LATER

INT. HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT

The guy enters his kitchen, still carrying his briefcase from work. He sets it down, as a BING sounds (OS).

He looks at the RANGE, and sees it is ON, and something is in the oven. He steps up and opens it.

INSERT OVEN:

A cooked TV DINNER awaits him.

LATER

INT. HOUSE - DEN

He watches TV. The DOORBELL CHIMES (OS).

He gets up and heads for the door.

INT. HOUSE - ENTRYWAY

He opens his FRONT DOOR and finds a beautiful WOMAN (MARCIA) standing there.

                  GUY
             Marcia! Hi! I thought you 
             were working tonight.

She comes in as he steps aside, then kisses him passionately.

                  MARCIA
             They said my calendar had a 
             vacation day added. Not by 
             me, though. It was just 
             there.

                  GUY
             Cool! So we’ve got the whole 
             night?

She smiles at him.

He’s about to close the door when a DELIVERY GUY shows up with a PACKAGE, and hands it to him.

INSERT PACKAGE W/LABEL:

“Grecian Adult Products – Featuring The Knight"

“Let GRECIAN earn YOU a classic Knight to remember!”

“A Goggle Partner!”

Disclaimer: This blog is hosted by Blogger, wholly-owned by Google.

This article, one of many such on the subject, appeared October 11, 2010.

I’m putting on my curmudgeon hat to make some observations. Please forgive if I stomp on your favorite part of the culture. I’m doing it to mine, too.

Is it just me, or have we long ago crossed over into some kind of Twilight Zone? And now, a certain well-known search giant is ready to drive us there.

I’m not sure what I think of the idea of letting my car drive itself with Google tech behind it all, but it does make me wonder if that technology also calls up Google and tells it where I went, what stores my Google Android phone was tracked to, what job interviews I might have gone to that might be of interest to an employer (and Google partner), etc. After all, what else is in it for them? We’ve seemed to be cool with Google tracking where we surf online. Will we be so cool when it knows where we “surf” off-line?

“The only constant is change.” Isaac Asimov might have coined it, but he got it from Heraclitus. But even that is changing, it’s getting faster. And this applies to everything, including movies and television.

I’ve made it known in this space more than once that I feel the movies Hollywood prefers to produce today aren’t as varied as the ones they once preferred to produce. We’ve discussed some of the reasons in the past, but it is a larger phenomenon than just movies or entertainment, reasons for the change span the culture. Here are some of the reasons behind this “assault of more,” spanning not just movies, but society itself:

  • The ever-accelerating pace of life leading to bottom-line, quick result thinking over the Walden Pond-esque “journey” as the “destination”
  • Generations brought up on instant information and, in turn, instant entertainment: television, commercials, MTV, and video games
  • The arrival of the cell phone followed by the cell phone as world-wide web delivery system
  • Internet-based instant messaging, followed in short order by phone text-messaging, then Internet Tweeting via Twitter from phone (or other device), and then social networking via Facebook, MySpace, and others
  • Media companies that have tasted monstrous success and are now unwilling to accept anything less
  • The film market becoming international, and, in turn, forcing stories to become independent of language, leading to narrative stories appealing to audiences of the “lowest common denominator”
  • Thanks to the advent of our television “multi-verse” of channels, the rise of quality television and its inhabiting of niches once dominated by feature films—we saw something similar with straight stage dramas as they were replaced first by musicals, and then by spectacle dressed as musicals
  • The reign of hip: Warhol’s “15 minutes of fame” becomes 15 minutes of shame if one falls off the hip wagon; not-to-worry, though, just push the line further and you’re back on-board
  • Exposure saturation: all ME-dia, all the time
Indeed, ever since music (jazz, big band, and rock ‘n roll) and movies (Jaws and Star Wars) showed what modern mass entertainment could be, these trends have been strengthening and accelerating. More became a business model. Almost a century since the “Roaring Twenties” pointed the way, and decades after the 1960s opened “the rabbit hole,” long after glitter rock, punk rock, rap, Kiss & The Sex Pistols, the flash-in-the-pan of break dancing (thanks to its proclivity for injury), urban culture’s prison-inspired pants-on-the-ground, and now, Lady Gaga’s “meat-couture” have become old hat, the method still remains: excess as social model.

Pushing the line of acceptability is the culture’s means, attention its raison d’etre: today one can’t have just a new hair-style, it must also be blue or mussed or missing altogether; not just jewelry, a nose-ring, a tongue-pin, and a dozen other metallic adornments in and about every orifice; not just a tattoo, many, adorning any and sometimes all visible surfaces (not merely a butt cheek seen only by one’s significant other). It’s an orgy of attention-grabbing. It's shrill. And, now, computers and the internet have super-charged it.

All these whining cries to “look at me” amount to a desperate need for Warhol’s “15 minutes” to go on and on, indefinitely, all peaks, no valleys, an endless orgasm of notoriety and social “one-upping.” The effect: a kind of media-inspired language of identity creating screaming Me-di-ites, people who communicate their identities as they had previously done through handshake, name exchange, and conversation. Today, at a glance, a person knows whether someone new is in the correct deviant sub-group or some other, friend or foe, dude or skank. All that’s left is an insect-like communication through fluid-exchange.

It’s my hope, if not my belief, that narrative storytelling can stand up to this evolution of the culture, this assault of more.

“More”’s the pity. #

FADE OUT

Lee A. Matthias

Quotes of the Post:

Pants on the Ground
Pants on the Ground
Lookin' like a fool
With your pants on the Ground
---Larry Platt
The medium is the message
---Marshall McLuhan
The message is the massage
---The Last Reveal (and many others)

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