That title is a bit of a cheat, because I haven't written a blog this week. I'm trying to write a novel right now, aiming to finish it by the end of November to tie into NaNoWriMo.
I had planned to write something about creativity a few weeks back however, and it ended up working its way into the book. So I'm posted that little section here to keep the blog updated. It kind of vaguely fits.
You're joining it about forty pages in. All you need to know: Anna is an actress, she's just been dumped. Brian is a writer. They're in Thailand.
Here you go.
Anna was in that brief, magical window of afternoon holiday drinking. Just beginning to feel the alcohol fizzing between her synapses, slipping into a state of effortless flow. Everything she said was that bit quicker, wittier. Brian was good company too, he had a way with words and seemed to know a little bit about everything.
It was a few hours past the raging heat of mid-day and a breeze fanned them gently. They had a whole day ahead of them and the stresses of life were like faint wispy clouds far out on the sea, barely visible.
After their initial reacquaintance she'd apologised for not remembering him, feeling terrible. He was fine about it, just teasing her.
By that time a waiter was hovering and asked if she wanted a Bloody Mary too. She prevaricated, but Brian told her to sit and have one drink so she'd climbed into an adjacent sun-lounger and kicked off her flip-flops.
Now, two hours later, they were getting quietly steamed and discussing the relative merits of CGI blood spatter.
“I’m just saying I don’t see it as the biggest problem with movies right now. I think the problem is Hollywood has run out of ideas” she said. “We just get sequels and superhero movies and that’s it.”
“I didn’t say it’s the biggest problem – I said it’s emblematic of the biggest problem, which is basically laziness,” said Brian.
He held his hand in the air. From across the pool, the waiter made eye contact. Brian held up two fingers indicating another round of green tea mojitos. The waiter gave him a wink and a thumbs-up and hurried off to the bar.
“I have this idea that creativity thrives on restriction,” he said.
She rolled her eyes, fishing in her bag for her cigarettes, simultaneously vowing to break the habit of smoking every time she had a drink.
“Creativity is a result of different concepts mixing up in your brain and concocting something new. Your brain has this information stored over here and this idea here, and when you start to mix those concepts together in unlikely ways you get something new and different. Art basically. It’s alchemy.”
“Which has what exactly to do with CGI blood?” said Anna.
“So how do those ideas get stirred up? It happens when we’re put into unfamiliar situations and faced with new problems to solve. If you think back to movies pre-CGI, they were trying to realise these completely fantastical images - alien cities, giant monsters, whatever. The distance between the image in the creator’s mind and what could be achieved on screen was greater because of the technology of the time. So they were forced to be more creative. Think of the best movies; Jaws, Alien, Evil Dead, they all faced the challenge of creating images the technology of the day had to stretch to achieve.”
Anna had lit her cigarette, nodding along but also scrunching her nose up not ready to concede the point.
“Okay fine,” she said “I agree they’re great movies.”
“Of course you do, because, questionable taste in ex-boyfriends aside, you are not a retard,” said Brian.
“But one of the many things that marks those movies out as classics is this: It’s what you don’t see that’s scary. Right? The shark, the alien, the fucking thing that chases Bruce Campbell through the forest.”
“Good point,” she said.
“So what went wrong? The technology improved. The gap between the image in the creator’s mind and what could be realised on screen narrowed. Film-makers don’t need to think to come up with creative solutions anymore, they just whip it up in a computer,”
He was speaking quickly now,
“There a reason Jurassic Park still has some of the most convincing special effects of all time despite being a 20 year old movie. It’s because they stayed within their limitations and used a mix of practical and digital effects. Nowadays we’ve got CGI car crashes that look about as convincing as cut scenes from Grand Theft Auto. They don’t just use computers to render the impossible or enhance something real, they just use them when they can’t be arsed doing anything real at all.”
“This theory of yours -” Anna began, but he cut her off in the rush to complete his thought.
“And the worst offender is CGI blood spatter. It’s wrong because using blood bags is one of the oldest special effects in cinema. And it works beautifully. And the digital stuff is never, ever, convincing. Hence,” he said with a flourish of his freshly arrived cocktail, “CGI blood, the perfect symbol of the decline of modern cinema.”
Anna stared at Brain, momentarily dumbstruck.
“That…” she said pausing for emphasis, “is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard.”