Does the Impractical Prove Ever Practical


I’m sitting here thinking about how I always come up with really impractical ideas for things to do. I feel that big itch, to do something with the idea, to produce it/publish it/get it out there, share it, do something about it, do something with it, but it seems like it’s so impractical there’s no point in spending the time. Most of my ideas have this weird impractical tinge to them, even the really big ones that I’ve pulled off to date. This is about a sub-category of that type of idea that I really feel compelled to do something about.

Tonight I’m watching Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, on cable tv, and thinking about apologizing for it. Commentary and editing run in parallel processes in my head as I watch it, as I remember all the earlier times I watched it. The apology can come in the form of mentioning the handful of bits that are actually worthwhile about it; controversial to think anything is worthwhile in something written off as a complete waste of time even by ardent Star Trek fans. There are plenty of other moments that are wincingly indefensible, and some things that are awful, but exist not because they were ill-conceived from the moment of inception, but because a problematic and short-budgeted production made them unavoidable howlers.

I think about writing a review, in which I could go over all of this point by point. The good, the bad, the unavoidably ugly. I think again that I have the ability to produce video for the Internet’s YouTubes, in which I could produce a five or six minute commentary and show clips, both of what’s bad and what could be done differently, and then show instead of telling. Or, I could actually go all the way, and re-edit the whole movie in a way that seems more satisfying.

I did that once, just upon the realization that I had all the movie technology to do so: take a movie that needs work, that could be improved by editing and other types of post-production, and then produce it, just because I can. Make that twice. People have made semi-fame for themselves by doing remixes and mash-ups for Internet viewing, but they followed through, and I never have.

I suppose I was worried about copyright violation or being sued or something, concerns that seem ridiculous this far on into the twenty-first century. Secondarily, I was concerned about the “waste of time” factor in doing anything about it.

Even just writing the critical review of Star Trek V, the Shatner movie, the lowest-bar effort in this regard, as far as what’s on my mind tonight (since it’s still on as I type this), seems like more effort than it’s worth. No, it’s more than that. It’s that I feel like, showing clips that demonstrate how I think the movie could be improved by editing decisions that were never made before I couldn’t help thinking of them tonight – I can see the edits in my head, and I like the results, and I want to show them off, demonstrate the difference they make to an audience – actually doing some of these edits and presenting them seems like it makes the point a lot better than just writing about it would do, but that requires more effort and more time. (Well. It sounds braggy, but I’ve leveled up as an editor to the point where it takes very little effort and time to make cuts like these, since I’ve already thought them out. What takes a stupid amount of time is rendering them for the Web, because my editing system doesn’t natively render-for-the-web, it takes multiple half-hours.

Doing the whole movie would feel like a satisfying weekend’s cutting, but it would take a third to a half a day to render, and then another useless number of hours to upload, and nobody wants to watch that much of this movie, anyway.

It’s not just this movie, though. It’s all these other projects I think of all the time, as I watch things that I think could be improved, because that’s what happens when I watch things that have the possibility of improvement: I edit as I watch. I can’t help it. Then I think about how I wish I could show what’s in my head to someone else, because it would be interesting to put it out there and have a conversation about. I can’t help that either.

Except by doing nothing.

Well, tonight I wrote this meta-something about how I spend all my time doing this. While waiting for an idea that’s actually, you know, maybe practical? In some way? That I could use these same skills and thoughtfulness on, and apply to it? Unless, if I did enough impractical things, but shared them all, it would lead to something practical…

…? Kind of haunting. Spend a lot of a lot of impractical hours, on the hope that it miraculously turns out to have been practical effort and time all along?

Rob

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