The Fast Five: Drive-Ins, Dog Sports and Free Trials
March 30, 2020
We’re all indoors with plenty of time to kill, so why not use this situation as an excuse to teach yourself some new skills, and finally finish that screenplay or film project you put down for one reason or another? And if you’re not in the mood for a creative outlet, ESPN2 has got you covered with their new hotshot athletes: dogs!
TEACH YOURSELF TO EDIT WITH A 90-DAY FREE TRIAL OF FINAL CUT
Learning a new skill is a great way to pass the time while you’re under quarantine. And if you’re a Mac owner, it’s your lucky day, because Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X are offering 90-day free trials. Teaching yourself film editing may not seem like a skill you need, but it can actually help make your writing stronger. Most of the editing process can be applied to a script during the revision process and having firsthand experience with what works—and what doesn’t—in a final cut can be applied to your writing process as well. There are several fun exercises you can do over the 90 days. You can write a short script, film it on your phone, and force your family to act in it. You can also import a favorite movie and try to edit it into a new genre or transform it in some way, like how Topher Grace famously edited the three Star Wars prequels into one movie to teach himself how to edit. For the more musically inclined, Logic Pro X has a free trial for the first time ever, so you can turn your Mac into a home recording studio. This won’t help your writing at all, but it will help you finally drop that sick mixtape you’ve secretly been working on.
AUSTRALIAN NETWORK CUTS UP MOVIES TO GET AROUND RATINGS
Here’s an interesting one. The Australian TV network Nine breached the country’s Code of Practice when it split up movies to air in two parts. Doesn’t sound too unusual, so what’s the big deal? Well, it turns out the network was reclassifying the movies’ ratings based on the content in each part. So, when it aired Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in two parts, it re-classified the first half as a PG film and kept the original M rating for the second part. The Australian Communications and Media Authority was not too fond of this, arguing that parents will assume the rating for the first part of the movie is the overall rating of the film. Nobody wants to let their kids watch the first ten minutes of a G rated movie only to find out part two goes full Eyes Wide Shut. So why was Nine doing this with movies like Casino Royale, Lord of the Rings, and London Has Fallen? It’s a sneaky way to bypass an Australian law that says M-rated movies can only start airing at 8:30 pm. By cutting the movie into two parts and reclassifying the first part as PG, it could start the movie earlier and then transition to the M-rated version after 8:30.
Miss watching movies on the big screen but terrified to get out of your car? Well, have I got a solution for you. People all around the world are reliving the joys of the original social-distancing night out by going to the drive-in. The drive-in has a special place in my heart because my small town had one that used the radio to transmit audio, so if you drove by at night, you could flip on the radio and see what movie was playing. My family would play a game as we drove past to see who could guess the movie first based on the dialogue. It was sad when drive-ins lost their popularity, but they’re now getting their moment back in the limelight. For how long, is the big question. As more cities go into lockdown-mode and more movies are released to streaming, it may only be a matter of time before the remaining drive-ins are forced to close, as well.
DOGS ARE CALLED OFF THE BENCH TO FILL IN FOR ATHLETES
While sports around the world have largely been benched—great news for people who like to stay alive, terrible news for the many networks that exist only to show sports—networks are forced to find new ways to stay alive themselves. So, what does the country’s leading sports provider do when there are no more sports to provide? They take a cue from Air Bud and call in the dogs. ESPN2 experimented with a full day’s worth of puppy related prime-time programming for National Puppy Day to plug the gap in an attempt to bring audiences back from streaming services. So how did the dogs do in the ratings? 39 of the top 50 original programs on cable that day were taken up by Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, which will probably be the new normal for the next while. But you know who doesn’t care about the 18-49 demographic? The dogs who finally got a chance to show off for the whole world.
NOW’S THE TIME TO FINISH YOUR SCRIPT!
We’ve all got that project we’ve been putting off for one reason or another, and if you’re reading this there’s a good chance that project uses Final Draft and operates in a three-act structure. Well, there’s never been a better excuse to hunker down and finish banging out that screenplay than a worldwide pandemic. A third of the world is in lockdown, and the ones who aren’t really shouldn’t be going out anyway, so you’re going to find yourself indoors with a lot of time to kill. Dust off that old flash drive and pick up right where you left off when there wasn’t a pandemic. This website is filled with tools and resources to help you figure out how to dive right back into that story you’ve been dying to tell. There are constant updates on how to help keep yourself motivated through the pandemic, along with helpful tips and tricks. Even if you don’t have an unfinished script, you can still use the time to start a new project. You don’t even need to plan ahead. Sitting down and writing off the top of your head is a great exercise if you just need a creative outlet. If nothing else, it will be a welcome distraction from the situation we’ve all found ourselves in.
Written by: Dominic CorryDominic Corry is a Los Angeles-based film critic, writer, journalist and broadcaster. Raised in New Zealand, he is also the West Coast editor of Letterboxd, the social network for movie lovers. For more of his film writing, see his website www.TheGoodInMovies.com