The top 20 entries in a 5-second video contest – another great example of creativity out of limitation, as discussed in the Things Art Special (contains some scenes likely to offend, although only briefly):
David Mamet’s extraordinary memo/rant/lecture on writing good scripts, packed with excessive capitalisation, fractured grammar and other weird errors, all of which only serve to reinforce the passion with which he is trying to improve the world, can be read here.
If you don’t have time for 1,099 words, here’s a synecdochic exceprt:
EVERY SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. THAT MEANS: THE MAIN CHARACTER MUST HAVE A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD, PRESSING NEED WHICH IMPELS HIM OR HER TO SHOW UP IN THE SCENE.THIS NEED IS WHY THEY CAME. IT IS WHAT THE SCENE IS ABOUT. THEIR ATTEMPT TO GET THIS NEED MET WILL LEAD, AT THE END OF THE SCENE,TO FAILURE – THIS IS HOW THE SCENE IS OVER. IT, THIS FAILURE, WILL, THEN, OF NECESSITY, PROPEL US INTO THE NEXT SCENE.
ALL THESE ATTEMPTS, TAKEN TOGETHER, WILL, OVER THE COURSE OF THE EPISODE, CONSTITUTE THE PLOT.
Some of you may remember cassettes, small mechanical devices about eight times the size of an mp3 player, with 90 minutes or so of music physically encoded on a piece of wound tape, designed to spool and respool through a larger mechanical device which would ‘read’ the tape and produce the appropriate noises.
The tape had two ‘sides’, and you would play the other side of the tape by literally turning the cassette over.
The puzzle is this: no matter which side up you turned the cassette, the same physical side of the wound tape would face outwards. So how did the machine know which ‘side’ to play?