Monday, December 2, 2013

Keep Your Eye on the Screen

A revived trend in American movie theaters has arrived on the scene: the movie short. Although the official definition of a short film varies from 5-60 minutes, this type of cinema fare lasts for less than ten minutes at a pop. 

A short film of this ilk might seem like a blip on the radar screen, but it actually takes a lot of time, money, energy and artistic smarts to make a good short film. Bearing this in mind, it seems criminal that potentially little gems never get announced in advertising venues - thus fated to be seen accidentally if one arrives at the theater twenty minutes early.

These underprivileged films are projected with the house lights at full blast and cell phones a-buzzing. And chattering popcorn/candy eaters can't control the noise coming out of their pie holes, even as someone's heart and soul pours onto the big screen.

Seated in one of these typical American theaters yesterday, I became yet more aware of this rude treatment of the short film. A young teenager appeared on the screen to describe an absolutely genius innovation for capturing solar energy. He had observed how the leaves of trees capture sunlight by the way the branches are designed. He then built a model that mimicked the tree-branch-leaf layout and voila! It was able to capture sunlight from dawn to dusk. Luckily, his invention was noticed by the big boys who dole out prizes, and he even got a photo op with President Obama (not the most original cinematic shot but hey, it's the cherry on top of the cake).

With jaw dropped at this marvelous thirteen-year old and his brainchild, I looked around the theater to connect with others; a technological revolution was about to take place! But alas, the rest of the human monkeys were completely oblivious to a jewel being dropped into their laps, simply too busy to pay attention even while confined to seats that orients one's attention toward the screen.

Of course we don't know what we don't know, but the deck would be stacked in our favor if more attention was focused on the what is in our environment. Case in point. The kid who noticed how tree leaves capture sun.

 As for me, I am canceling all of my appointments with the solar energy companies trying to sell me giant panels for my roof. I think I'll wait for this kid to start mass marketing his solar trees.

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