The Vacation Read: Which do you prefer, anticipation or total spoilers?
Wow… has it been a week already? I'm probably curled into a fetal position right now, weeping about the fact that I'm already done with my vacation. A week sounds like it's going to be a long time, but then when it actually happens, it's over as soon as it starts.
Today, I want to wrap up this week of conversations by talking about anticipation. I think modern movie marketing is so pumped up and aggressive that much of the joy of waiting for a film to be released has been diminished. For me, unfortunately, the process has been completely distorted because of the way we cover trailers and set visits and editing room visits and early cuts and more. By the time a film comes out these days, I feel like I've already had the experience, and it's harder and harder for me to have anything approaching a "normal" experience.
I grew up loving the anticipation. The wait between the release of "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" may have only been three years, but it felt like forever, and every single day of those three years, I was manic for information about what was coming. I spent that time in a constant fog of daydreaming about what might happen, what could happen, what should happen. I loved it.
As I got older, though, I stopped wanting the anticipation in the same way. In fact, I went the opposite direction. I wanted to know as much as possible as early as possible. Even before there was an Ain't It Cool News or even an Internet, I was obsessive about finding scripts for films and reading them. I would hunt down every available image, every rumor. When the Internet finally arrived, it felt like it had been created for me. All of my wants could be satisfied with the click of a mouse.
These days, I find I'm somewhere in the middle. My job still involves knowing an awful lot about a movie before it comes out, and I just accept that as par for the course. The trade-off is that I try to know absolutely nothing about a TV show before I watch it. I enjoy the week to week kick of serialized storytelling. I like not knowing anything about where a show is headed. I like not even watching the "Next time…" previews that many shows feature. I've given up worrying about whether or not other people are going to spoil something for me, because part of the price of being even remotely connected to other people is that their timetable is rarely in synch with yours, and you WILL be spoiled for things. Just a fact. I can do my best to avoid them, though, and I enjoy those moments like when I saw the end of "Breaking Bad" season four and had no idea what was coming.
My question for you is simple: what do you like? Do you want the months of speculation and anticipation and waiting? Do you try to learn everything you can as early as possible? Or is it all just noise that exists separately from the film itself? I don't think any one answer is right or wrong… it seems to be a very personal line that each person has to define. But I'm curious why you've come to the decision you have and what examples you have for times it's been handled right or times it's been handled wrong.
I look forward to reading your responses to this and all the other topics this week, and I'm thanking you in advance for participating, even if you don't normally participate. If you guys don't respond, this is going to be a very slow week here on the blog. I'm counting on you, and I hope that by the time I return next Monday, I'll know a lot more about you, and that I can use your answers to help make Motion/Captured even better.
With that, we conclude our vacation programming, and I'll be back on Monday morning, bright and early, and ready to check out what you guys have written in response to each of these columns and to share all sorts of good stuff that's been percolating the entire time I've been gone.