Original article posted by arylaina:
I suppose I should take this time to do some sort of preamble of an introduction, but the following rant takes precedence. Perhaps at some later date I’ll do a preambley intro, but then it won’t be a preamble anymore; it’ll just be an amble.
I began reading Fahrenheit 451 today, which everyone should do at some point in their lives, and it makes me sad that it’s been this far in my educational ‘career’ before I picked it up (voluntarily, mind).
And as I was reading, I began to reconsider the choices I’ve made career-wise. Books versus film. I want to work in film. I have for some time now. But I started reconsidering. There’s a lot wrong with the TV and film industries in today’s world, no question. Will I give in to the inevitable demands of the cost of living and a society that just wants cheap, quick entertainment and will pay highway bandits exorbitant fees to obtain their moment’s desire?
Much better to cherish the written word, the literary essays and achievements, live theater, music, dance, anything that screams, “I’m alive! I’m fresh! I’m original, and I don’t care whether you like it or not, because I’m not out to please you!” Right? RIGHT?
Then I went out on assignment for SUTV News. I’d volunteered to cover the music department’s production of the opera Susannah. Yay, the aliveness will surely fill me with a sense of purpose and well-being and make me value humanity. Even though I’m capturing the whole thing on video tape and condensing it into a two minute television story.
I crept into the theater with $8,000 of video equipment, feeling like an intruder, a pest, an alien, a bug with a large black eye and a red pupil, whose body and brain clicked and whirred and grumbled as it spied on the precious world of ‘theatre’ and captured pieces, moments, blurs of motion, all selected not for their artistic merit in the real world, but how it would look on a TV screen.
I ended up interviewing the director, because others copped out on me, but I didn’t know who the woman was until I started recording and asked her name, and consequently made an ass of myself. Of course I didn’t know who the woman was! That’s not my major! Musicals scare me, singers scare me, and most of all, people in musical theater scares me. Do these people have to buy Vaseline in bulk to keep smiling like that all the time? There’s a quote from Daria which I will probably mangle, but it needs said, regardless of inaccuracies (and it’s the only time I’ll ever quote Sandi)—“The Fashion Club should not voluntarily participate in activities in which they surrender wardrobe autonomy to someone else. Yeah, what she said.
And this isn’t my only theater vs. television battle in the last couple of weeks. I went on assignment to a staged reading, where I was treated less kindly than a parasitic brain slug from Saturn. Apparently, showing up with a video camera to one of the sacred and hallowed ‘theatre experiences’ is sacrilegious Good With my zoom lens I can get a great view of your nose hairs as you shun me.
I remember a time when acting was fun That’s why I was an acting minor when I first got here. I loved being on stage. I loved looking at the cast list, getting my script, learning my lines and blocking, hanging out with the other actors, the nervousness that increased the closer to opening, the praise of adoring fans afterward and how everyone knew your name thereafter and greeted you. Oh, wait, that was back in high school, before everyone learned where their pretensions were and how to use them.
I still enjoy the ‘theatre experience,’ don’t get me wrong. Plays are great. Musicals . . . no comment. I love going to the theater and watching two hours of fine, live performances. Just don’t make me talk to any of the people involved beyond the box office. And heaven forbid I come near them with a news camera. I thought these people were hams! “A camera, pointed at me? Happy day!” No dice. I’m one of those broadcasting majors, obviously a lower form of life. It’s those big black bugs with the red eyes. We’re symbiotic life forms, and the bugs can sense shallowness and expose it. That’s why they scare theater majors.
No more anti-movie sentiments from me. I’m filled with a newfound loyalty toward my chosen profession (granted, I’m not currently in film, I’m in broadcasting; but I’ll get there). Where are the stereotypical cameramen? Where are they in their size XXXL Hawaiian shirts and baggy shorts? Where are their burps, their belches, their beer bellies, their Dorito-stained fingers? Their ox-like ability to carry an entire film crew on their shoulders? These are the people we should be holding up and saying, “Look, look, the purveyors of the new art! Worship them, for they will rule you all.” They are gone, gone behind a thick wall of ‘artistes’ in their little black turtlenecks, stage makeup, and Vaselined teeth.
–Arylaina, who can currently be found stroking her Hollywood Video membership card with great fondness.