Over a decade ago at this point I worked at a bookstore. For several reasons one customer had a mystery around him. I will get into one reason. Several of my coworkers talked with this regular customer, and we found out he watched a movie every day for 30 years, and planned to watch movies everyday into the future. I adamantly thought that was a huge waste of time, and could not benefit a person in any way.
Reading everyday, writing everyday, or exercising everyday I could understand. But to spend an hour and a half to three hours a day watching a movie seemed ridiculous to me. Lately I’ve been reading up on revising a novel manuscript. A book I read, Self Editing and Revision for Publication, and the website, storygrid.com, both use movies as examples for story structure.
All of these years later I’m learning there is a value in movie watching, especially movies that stood the test of time. A basic structure of a novel and movie is the same. Also a movie has visual and sound cues the viewer can analyze the plotting points more distinctly than a book. A movie can be viewed in one sitting, whereas a book takes days or much longer.
From these two sources I’m reading on revision, I think they both suggest watching movies. The storygrid.com mentions frequently The Silence of the Lambs, both the book and the movie. To really get the suggested points I should watch and read that classic.
Perhaps that bookstore customer had writing ambitions as a screenwriter or other writing. Watching a movie a day for a lifetime would give someone a concrete idea of what works or does not work in stories. If nothing else you could really impress a lot of people with movie knowledge. In today’s world popular media has more social value than knowledge of literature.
Last thing about that customer, is people do all sorts of different things. Just because I don’t do something myself, or don’t understand why people do that thing, does not mean it’s without reason or purpose. A difficult thing to do is not compare myself to others or judge people, and it’s important to keep an open mind. Maybe that way I can learn things from other people to improve my own ambitions.
***The photos and article on blog posts do not have to match. These pictures are from yesterday, before and after haircut selfies.