Watching Your Language

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Watching Your Language

Postby Lomax on February 13th, 2017, 7:32 pm 

Question: if listening to an audiobook means I've read the book, does watching a movie mean I've read the screenplay?

In both cases we acquire the the sense of the book by actually stripping away a layer or more of sensory data (the aural from audiobooks, both the aural and the ocular from movies). So reducing the movie experience to the screenplay experience might be argued to be equivalent to reading a book by listening to it - only more so.

On the other hand, perhaps the movie makes the story too specific by filling in all the details that the screenplay doesn't give, so you've only really read it if you've received the abstract version. An author only tells you how much (s)he wants you to know, and leaves the rest to you.

Is watching the movie, as a cineast suggested to me, "further reading"?
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Re: Watching Your Language

Postby wolfhnd on February 13th, 2017, 10:23 pm 

There is a lot of research on the difference effects on your brain of reading or watching images and audio. I found a few on the first page of Google search.

http://www.nationalreadingcampaign.ca/p ... ual-books/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/th ... d-function

http://sharpbrains.com/blog/2013/07/05/ ... v-tonight/

The answer to the question is not easy. You may have to read a script to fully engage parts of your brain but you may also insert or substitute images that the author did not intend.

I had an ongoing argument about the benefits of TV with a friend of mine. It went on for years and years until he passed away. He insisted TV made people stupid but he was an intellectual and I suspected prejudices were at work in his argument. My argument has always been that reading should be accompanied by visual experience. Reading give you the ability to think clearly but visual experience is the equivalent to a theories test. There is a feedback process necessary to confirm that what you thought was described is what was actually being described. There is an old saying that you should not believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.

My eyesight has gotten pretty poor over the years and I now listen to a lot of what I would have once read. To some extent I prefer reading because you can skip over the mundane and reread the difficult to understand. I can't imagine trying to listen to a scientific paper even if you didn't need the graphics. I suspect the same problem exists when watching "art" as you can't take in the whole picture at once because it movies so quickly. You could watch the same clip over and over but who wants to do that.

We also need to address the problem from the other side or the producers. It would be impossible in most cases for the script writer's concept to be perfectly reproduced. We have already covered the difficulty of verbally describing something to make a perfect copy but the same problem exists in transforming an idea into an image.
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Re: Watching Your Language

Postby edy420 on February 14th, 2017, 3:07 am 

With text, we can interpret it our own way.
We interpret that information with our senses in mind.
We can visualise a scene and even think about what a certain meal tastes like, smells like etc.

A movie takes away some of our interpretation by filling in for our visual sense.
But that is itself just another interpretation of the text, different directors making the same movie will give you a difference sense of the story.

I remember an episode of future technology where movie theatres would blow out smells depending on the scene being played.
This would replace our need to interpret text into fragrance.

I think the more senses we can replace in a movie interpretation, the less our imagination can do its job.
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Re: Watching Your Language

Postby Lomax on February 14th, 2017, 3:16 am 

So, suppose (hypothetically) I listened to Great Expectations on audiobook. Somebody asks me if I have read Great Expectations. Is it wrong of me to just say "yes"?
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Re: Watching Your Language

Postby edy420 on February 14th, 2017, 3:55 am 

I think it would be wrong to say you have your own interpretation.
A narrator deninishes your own "sense" of interpretation.

I've used audio books and some narrators are quite monotone in their delivery.
But in some books, the delivery is interpreted by the narrator, so your interpretation is less your own and more bias towards the narrators.
A monotone delivery may affect your interpretation too, causing you to be a little less enthusiastic about the content, perhaps.

But I wouldn't call you a liar if you said you did.
You could probably recall all the important details.
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Re: Watching Your Language

Postby BadgerJelly on February 14th, 2017, 5:08 am 

If you hear the book you've not read the book anymore than reading a script means you've watched a movie.

Reading requires a certain kind of attention and reflection on the words placed before your eyes. The shape and form of words and phonetic tricks can not be employed by simply listening to the spoken word. In the same way as saying red and read can deceive the listener, it does not deceive the reader.

Also, take a look at poetry too. There are differwnt ways to present poetry and poetry can be either directed at an audience who reads the piece or an audience who listens to the piece.

The form the piece of art takes is fit into a certain mold for a certain audience. As someone who likes to write there is even another level of understanding that I have that the causal reader may not. This is because if you care about writing or movies or music, and you study these genres of art, you come to understand what is special about your prefered medium of expression and what its limitations are.

I have mentioned Alan Moore before. He takes a somewhat hard line against crossing genres and had his name taken off movies such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlmen and Watchmen, because he said his comics were not meant for film, they were comics.

There is certainly something lost when people try to transfer art from one medium to another. If the intent of the art is lost then I find the exercise somewhat pointless. As most people say the book is nearly always better than the movie.
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Re: Watching Your Language

Postby Lomax on February 14th, 2017, 12:55 pm 

BadgerJelly » February 14th, 2017, 10:08 am wrote:Reading requires a certain kind of attention and reflection on the words placed before your eyes. The shape and form of words and phonetic tricks can not be employed by simply listening to the spoken word. In the same way as saying red and read can deceive the listener, it does not deceive the reader.

Let's turn that on its head: "read" has two meanings and two pronunciations, so it can deceive the reader, but not the listener.

BadgerJelly » February 14th, 2017, 10:08 am wrote:I have mentioned Alan Moore before. He takes a somewhat hard line against crossing genres and had his name taken off movies such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlmen and Watchmen, because he said his comics were not meant for film, they were comics.

I haven't read TLoEG but I think the nature of Watchmen is such that it can't be transferred to screen without something being lost. For one thing it's just too long - I have the 3 hour 35 minute version of the movie and it still has to leave out Rorschach's "Abyss Gazes Also" chapter, half of Manhattan's darkly beautiful Mars monologue, and so on. All the scenes interlace in a way which relies on dialogue starting off diegetic and then becoming non-diegetic; this would be confusing on-screen (although there's some of it with Rorschach and Manhattan). Not to mention simply leaving out the clever chapter titles and various other references and in-jokes. It would also have been wasting an opportunity if it didn't have the elaborate fight scenes. But that's just Watchmen. A screenplay is specifically written not to contain anything which can't be put on screen.
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Re: Watching Your Language

Postby BadgerJelly on February 15th, 2017, 4:36 am 

Lomax -

Read does not deceive the reader. It deceives the reader who has no idea about structure or tense ;)

"They read the book." - this as an opening line is certainly ambiguous and further/prior reading would be required to discern pronunciation. I guess you could argue the same thing for spoken misunderstandings. The age old, "what's black and white, read all over." Doesn't work to deceive the listener if they understand the correct structure they should be using to interpret those words (black, white and red).

One of my favourite mistakes in writing:

- "I helped my uncle jack off a horse." Instead of, "I helped my Uncle Jack off a horse."

Over three hours!? Fook! Never read the comic. I have recently bought comic V for Vendetta. It is my first comic. Really enjoyable, and I have to admit I was quite surprised by how much I like it.
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Re: Watching Your Language

Postby Braininvat on February 15th, 2017, 10:45 am 

A relative who worked in medical insurance once got this message, along with a completed form for clients having multiple births....

"I have followed your instructions on giving birth to twins in the enclosed envelope."
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Re: Watching Your Language

Postby Lomax on February 15th, 2017, 12:30 pm 

BadgerJelly » February 15th, 2017, 9:36 am wrote:Read does not deceive the reader. It deceives the reader who has no idea about structure or tense ;)

"They read the book." - this as an opening line is certainly ambiguous and further/prior reading would be required to discern pronunciation. I guess you could argue the same thing for spoken misunderstandings. The age old, "what's black and white, read all over." Doesn't work to deceive the listener if they understand the correct structure they should be using to interpret those words (black, white and red).

Haha. Reading is fun, either way. I particularly enjoyed the Oscar Wilde memorial there.
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