Monday, November 7, 2011

Theater Gimmicks

Bored with 3D? Of course you are! Looking for the next big thing? Spy Kids 4D has the answer... maybe. The audience members will receive scratch and sniff cards that they're suppose to smell at certain points during the film. The way it works is that numbers will actually appear on the movie screen in the middle of the movie. The audience is then suppose to scratch the corresponding number and, well, sniff.

While this is an interesting gimmick I doubt it'll catch on as an industry trend. Who wants to come out of the movie experience altogether to interact with a piece of cardboard? I know a movie is good when I get completely immersed in it and forget all about the outside world. The Aroma-Scope takes me away from the movie and back to the real world. I'd say the best thing about this attempt at movie innovation is the publicity Spy Kids 4D got from it.

Not that stunts like this are all that new. A recent Time magazine article detailed quite a few theater tricks that were tried and failed. Among them is Smell-O-Vision. Smell-O-Vision filled the entire theater with smells at different times in the show. At least you didn't have to use a piece of cardboard. Then there was the Tingler which vibrated the seat of movie patrons for the movie, The Tingler (appropriately enough). Sensurround, Psychorama, Hypnovision, Cinerama, and the list could go on.

When are studios going to learn - audiences don't want cheap tricks and gimmicks. So, in other words - Hollywood, if you want our "scratch" you'll produce a quality product or you'll "sniff" and wimper when you see your box office recipes.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

YouTube: Entertainment For Free

It seems that in the last ten years, a small little idea has grown into a pillar of the internet community. A place where videos can be watched, for free. The content? Home movies. At least, that was the idea. But go to YouTube today and you'll see music videos, and live performances of thousands of artists. Clips from television shows, as recent as Two and a Half Men, all the way back to Mary Tyler Moore. You'll see movie clips and trailers. Sports fans can catch game highlights, and wrestling fans can re-watch classic wrestling matches. Plus, you can read and share comments on every clip. The only content you won't find is porn, but that's ok.

Still, the strength of YouTube seems to be the home movies. Or to be more accurate, original content. People from all walks of life can express themselves creatively. All they need is a camera. Sure, budgets and talent help, but no matter, it's still entertaining.  Here are a few examples:

Ever feel like this guy? Sure, cause we all know a girl like this, admit it:
She's Too Good For Everyone

In fact, struggling musicians can find instant success with YouTube. Take Dave Carroll, an unassuming fellow who wrote a song about his year long struggle with United Airlines' Claim's Department. Apparently, his guitar was broken by United's baggage handlers, yet they won't assume liability. So, he did what most musicians did, he wrote a song about it. Then, he decides to make a music video on a shoe string budget. It took off, and after 10 million hits, David found United Airlines much more sympathetic, and willing to replace his guitar. Thus the power of music, protest, and public awareness.
United Breaks Guitars

Still, money is no object. Heres some kids who invested maybe $40 in this video. But clearly the real investment is their time and creativity. Consider their creativity, attention to detail, and mathmatical skills regarding scale and timing as they convert a Guitar Hero song into a track they ride a bike across. Notice the flashing lights in perfect sync with the track markers. Way to go guys.
Bike Hero

Believe me, this barely scratches the surface. Want to see Jackass-like fails and pranks, YouTube's got em. Animal lover? There's tons of cute dog/cat/hedgehog/parrot/rabbit/whatever videos. And it's all free. Streaming right to your pc, and now, to your television set. That's right. PS3 owners have enjoyed this feature, and soon XBox 360 owners will too. Imagine watching this on 1080HD
Fan Made Tribute to ECW