“You’ll never get it if you don’t slow down
That sentence marks the beginning of a very memorable passage in one of my favorite movies. The movie is called ‘Smoke’ and was released in 1995. It’s a slow movie, but not insanely slow. It never seizes to be interesting and there’s a lot of attention to detail from start to finish.
It sounds like a sales pitch, but again: It’s one of my favorite movies.
Key to it, is the pacing. Scenes take the time they need to convey the message that they want. Performance of the actors feel awkwardly natural in a way, and not so cinematic. Editing rules where you cut away arbitrary parts of the story – is ignored. Every part is there. Opening the door, shutting the door, locking the door, realizing that something was forgotten and as such unlocking the door, opening the door, stepping into the store, and so forth. Nothing is unimportant.
It’s repetitive. But it doesn’t feel repetitive. It feels slow, slow in a good way. And that’s why it’s one of my favorite movies.
It’s a movie about life. Nothing. It breakes rules, but it’s not really innovative. It takes its inspiration from a little here and there and it just does what it needs to be doing. I remember when I first got introduced to “making movies” – about five, six, seven years ago. I had since long been editing videos and had pretty good technical knowledge in how to get things done.
But I didn’t know the rules. I just did. Did what I felt was best, and did what I knew was best – from the pretty limited knowledge I had at the time. In any case I had somehow managed to get myself some coaching in my video making; which at the time mostly consisted of dance videos. One tip was to “throw in a dancing cat or something” and another “to cut between angles”. The first one was quickly discarded. The second I took to heart.
Cutting between angles, showing the same scene but covering different amounts of content, is one of the best things you can take to heart as someone who doesn’t know a lot about making video content. In a sense it’s what makes the difference between a regular “home video” and “something more”.
In retrospect, fast paced editing to me, is all about making uninteresting content interesting. And if you make uninteresting content to begin with – why even make it?
Let the content speak for itself. Pace down.
Pacing down is essential to commitment. To true interest, in a sense. To create relationships that goes beyond initially caught interest, and which aims for something bigger than just capturing the attention in a given moment of time. To being something that makes a mark.
I sometimes feel like a broken record. Trying to convey the same agenda through different media and channels. I allow myself that. Because sticking to the essence of what is important, is important. Communicating a few meaningful core messages and succeeding in that is better than making a shallow but catchy representation of meaningless.
Reality though, is that there’s a lot of meaningless messages out there. All competing for our attention. And even if big tech companies are moving towards slower paced information flows, that by itself probably won’t make the information that reaches us meaningful. Meaning comes with reason. A “why?”. Why do I watch this?
To take part?
Because I feel I have to?
Fear of missing out?
The reasons are probably many. But I do feel that one too many times we lack reason. And in a time where we’re flooded with information and time is limited, it’s all the more important that we choose, and do with our time what is meaningful.
Which to me at least, isn’t watching run of the mill TV-shows from Netflix (or worse), but rather handpicking the most interesting works through time and watching them in moderation, while spending rest of life not distracted by content made to for the sole purpose to distract.