What’s In My Instapaper: Sunday Morning Links, 4/8/2012

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but now that the new issue is shipped and off to the printer, here’s what I’m catching up on.

What’s one measure of good dialogue? According to the Physics arIXv Blog at MIT, it’s the memorability of its quotes. A Cornell University study found that there’s a reason lines like “You had me at hello,” “You can’t handle the truth” and “Hasta la vista, baby” lodge themselves in our memories.

“The cloud” — that system of networked and very terrestrial computers that store and stream are data — may have a name that connotes a product of nature, but for Slavoj Zizek it’s simply another privatized space:

Apologists present cloud computing as the next logical step in the “natural evolution” of the Internet, and while in an abstract-technological way this is true, there is nothing “natural” in the progressive privatization of global cyberspace. There is nothing “natural” in the fact that two or three companies in a quasi-monopolistic position can not only set prices at will but also filter the software they provide to give its “universality” a particular twist depending on commercial and ideological interests.

Which one of the many Lena Dunham interviews this week to link to. I’m tremendously happy for Dunham that her Girls is already such a hit (I’ve seen the first three episodes; they’re great). Here’s an interview at The Awl in which she talks about avoiding jealousy and regret:

Is there anyone that you’re jealous of?
Jealousy and regret are the two things that I try to avoid most in my life, because I think they’re two of the most corrosive human emotions. I’ll totally go with lust, rage, hatred and feelings of demoralization, but jealousy? No. That being said, there are so many things I want to do in my career, there’s no one whose career is like, that is what I want.

People I’m jealous of are whoever’s married to David Walton, the star of “Bent.” He’s fucking adorable, I’m jealous of his wife. I’m jealous of people who have a natural propensity for exercise, because I have a hard time making myself do that. And I’m jealous of whoever lives in certain little mews-like courtyards in the West Village. There are a few things about which I think, “I want that shit,” but I’m feeling really lucky and good to be me right now. Check back with me in five years, I may have changed my mind.

This is exciting: David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson have partnered with Criterion to use footage from classic films for 20 educational videos included as online supplements to the former’s new edition of Film Art. Criterion’s Peter Becker writes about it here, Thompson reveals the syllabus here, and there’s a sample video below, on elliptical editing in Agnes Varda’s Vagabond.

Something I missed at SXSW: the coronation of a major new art movement, “The New Aesthetic.” Writes Bruce Sterling at Wired:

The New Aesthetic concerns itself with “an eruption of the digital into the physical.” That eruption was inevitable. It’s been going on for a generation. It should be much better acculturated than it is. There are ways to make that stark, lava-covered ground artistically fertile and productive. Lush, humanistic, exotic crops will grow from that smoking, ashy techno-rubble of ours, someday. I live to think so. I’m all for that prospect. It’s exhilarating to see such things attempted, especially in a small auditorium before the straights catch on.

What’s more, I rather like the trend-line there. I’ve seen some attempts along this line before, but this one has muscle. The New Aesthetic is moving out of its original discovery phase, and into a evangelical, podium-pounding phase. If a pioneer village of visionary creatives is founded, and they start exporting some startling, newfangled imagery, like a Marcel Duchamp-style explosion-in-a-shingle-factory… Well, we’ll once again be living in heroic times!

The New Aesthetic has a Tumblr.

AG Rojas is the video director of the moment. Here he’s interviewed at Love and Dishwater Tablets:

It’s very hard to classify your works: they’re not just music videos, their soul belongs much more to art films. How do we get out from that?
I believe that music videos can be more than just marketing tools for musicians. Since the music industry has been on a decline for quite some time, I am always pushing labels and artists to take risks with their videos and not play it safe – especially since they are not investing a ton of money on videos. My interest lies firmly on narrative filmmaking, and music videos are a great place for young directors like myself to learn to tell stories. This is only possible though if you have a label and artist who trust you 100% which is incredibly rare.

Your work is very distinctive compared to a general tendency made ??up of dozens of recent videos where you can see a greater attention to the aesthetic side than to the narrative and emotional ones. How can you explain this trend?

I think a lot of directors feel they need to cater to the labels and fans by pitching ideas which are familiar and easy to sell. That’s fine for some directors, but I never wanted to get stuck in a rut as someone who directs performance videos. There are merits to both styles though. It takes a certain refined skill to direct a compelling performance video.

Here’s his latest, for Jack White:


At the IFP’s website, writer Gary Lennon describes how to be a TV writer in 10,000 hours:

I got my break in TV by being a prolific writer; by practicing my craft. Writers write. They don’t wait for a job to be offered to them. It’s been said that it takes ten thousand hours of practice to get good at something. Malcolm Gladwell says in his book The Outliers, “Along with passion and persistence the key to expertise and success is ten thousand hours of practice.” I agree one hundred percent with that sentiment.

Ten thousand hours is equivalent to roughly three hours per day, or twenty hours per week, of practice over ten years. Trust me, by the age of 29, I had put in my hours of practice and I had waited on so many tables that I felt like I had served America dinner. I was prepared for my close up with success. My opportunity in Television came through writing and directing an independent film. I had written a play called .45 that was never produced, but I had blind faith in the material, so I adapted it on spec and set it up as a film.

No one paid me for this. I wrote it, because I had to.

Finally, why don’t we know more about VOD revenue? Anthony Kaufman explores at Indiewire.