artists are weird

I read somewhere, years ago, that all of the directors in Hollywood had started editing their movies digitally, except for one. Steven Spielberg was the only holdout, the only one who still cut film (you know, with a razor blade and tape, or some equivalent). I've wondered since then if he'd given in, but apparently not. According to Entertainment Weekly, he's still cutting on film (on a device called a Moviola, and they were invented in the 1920s, though he previews on something called a KEM, and they were invented in the 1970s).

This is especially amusing right now, since he's working on the fourth Indiana Jones movie with George Lucas, who is the #1 proponent of creating and editing and showing films digitally. Apparently a lot of good-natured ribbing goes on.

At the end of the interview, Lucas says, "When Steven works on his scripts, he does his work on a computer. I wouldn't touch a computer. I do mine on nice yellow tablets with a No. 4 pencil, and I will not change."

It's at this point that Spielberg says, "This interview must seem like we're in Bellevue."

Newer technology in the arts is always supposed to replace older technology, but it seldom does, at least not as quickly as predicted. Synthesizers were supposed to replace orchestras, but they didn't. In fact, they didn't even completely replace the creaky, wheezy, out-of-tune device called the Mellotron, because no synthesizer can give you that horrendously wonderful sound (at least not yet). Most of my fiction is still written on paper before it's put into a computer (blog entries are usually just written on the computer). I know somebody who thinks the Kindle will replace all books. And it may, eventually, but it will take a long time, probably when the Kindle becomes like the books in The Diamond Age.

There are seldom artistic reasons for one thing supplanting another, but there are often commercial reasons. Nobody is going to keep on making Moviolas and KEMs just for Mr. Spielberg, so when his last one breaks (and he has around 30 KEMs, to cannibalize for parts, so it will be a while), he'll go digital. I wonder if some people still record music on magnetic tape. Probably. But they'll have to stop when the companies stop making the tape.

I just finished my current story. It was all written on 20 lb. gray paper with a purple Bic Velocity pen and a black Tombow brush pen.

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  1. Pingback: various links which don’t seem to have a consistent theme that would make a good title for the blog post » Anthony Lee Collins

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