Thursday, March 17, 2011

Writers created our visual grammar

Speechwriter Rob Goodman argues in an essay that the visual grammar we associate with films -- the zoom, the jump cut, etc. -- has its origins in the written word. Goodman looks in particular at the zoom, and cites three instances of the written word creating that effect in the mind's eye.

I don't know that Goodman is right, but the essay was worth reading just to hear about a fascinating 1937 novel by British author Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker.

In making his point, Goodman mentioned the children's show Blue's Clues as being notable for its use of long, continuous takes. Apparently one of the show's consulting psychologists had discovered that edits confuse young children. More about how the show was crafted for its young audience is available in an Onion A.V. Club article. It's an easy read and, for someone who found Blue's Clues oddly interesting (that is, for me), it's an informative look at why the show feels so different from shows aimed at older audiences.

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