02 November 2007

For the love of film

Here's a good idea: I could approach my friends over at Naturally Boulder about a new Green Filmmaking Institute -- or a food and film program. I would bet people would be all over that here. Wouldn't that be fun, from pulling people together to show their films, to talking about opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint of film-
making? It's a vast and wasteful industry I know: I think of the layers of information in the experience of seeing a car inside a mall bearing a sign that indicated this was the make and model of car used in another film so it could be destroyed in yet another film now playing at this multiplex. We are left to admire an exact replica of the 50- or 80-thousand-dollar automobile that they truly blew to smithereens in the making of the current film. I see all kinds of flaws here: that's a lot of nasty stuff to burn up and dispose of; you can use computers to simulate effects; and not least, can you imagine how the women at a safehouse could have a nice car to travel in and what a difference that car could make in their lives and attitudes?

I feel the same way when I see people driving Hummers as when I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith, staring one of our currently celebrity-obsessed culture's royal couples, Brad and Angelina, or Brangelina, as everyone likes to say (on the heels of Bennifer of course, another doomed high-profile union). I could hardly find the chemistry in the smoking shards remaining from the wide swath of destruction that film carved. When they destroyed that house from the inside out it made me wonder what they do with materials like that. These days, though, everyone just shrugs and says, "That's why it cost them $100 million (I had guessed 50 but then I looked it up and was stunned to find I was off by 100 percent). Everyone shrugs and accepts this despite the fact that it stopped computing a long time ago, kind of like the medical and pharmaceuticals industry. There is a whole waste stream that could be much more efficiently and effectively diverted, or reduced in the first place (e.g., don't buy a real thousand-dollar microwave oven and then destroy it; project a cool one onto a green screen behind the actor and blast it to smithereens electronically -- surely there are a kajillion experienced game designers who could help you out).

Can you believe I'm only just now starting to see how the question always comes down to how much you can do with each opportunity you have in front of you?

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