Rhetorical Answer


A response to the question never asked

The Road Ahead

The inevitable has happened. My final Sound Design class has come to an end, and I am sad. It was one of the most enjoyable and interesting courses I’ve ever taken but, at eight weeks, also the shortest. My reflex action is to sign up for another course on this ever-winding road of haphazard self-education, but I will restrain myself for now. There are possibilities more tempting than school for long summer days, namely vacation, writing, and film production. Hopefully, the skills I have learned will serve me in a practical sense. Study is fun in and of itself, but it is accomplishment that defines a person. It is time to create!

Filed under: Education, Reflection

A Healthcare Odyssey

I have been too ill to go to class this week, so I don’t have any new revelations to share about editing or sound design. I’ve had a fever for the past three days, so yesterday I dragged myself to the doctor. The doctor checked my throat and blood pressure and, without conducting a single diagnostic test, prescribed me antibiotics and some other medication. Maybe she explained what they were for, but I can’t remember her doing so. In retrospect, I should have questioned her more, but at the time I didn’t have the presence of mind.

It wasn’t until I reached the pharmacy that I realized that the prescriptions had been made out to someone else with the same last name as me who was 13 years my senior and had a different health insurance plan. Nearly exhausted, I returned to the doctor’s office and sat like a zombie in the waiting room while they sorted out the mix-up. I spent at least a couple minutes trying to convince them that I knew my own name and I was positive it wasn’t the same as the name on the prescription.

I went back to the pharmacy and dropped off the corrected prescriptions, which I was told would be ready in twenty minutes. I shuffled home and ate a little lunch, then went back to pick up my medication, which I found out wasn’t ready yet. Too tired to go back to my apartment to wait, I sat in the pharmacy for another half-hour. They never did announce that it was ready, so I went up to the counter to get another time estimate, but by that point, the Tylenol I’d taken had worn off and I collapsed in line.

The pharmacy employees were extremely nice, bringing me a chair to sit in, a cold compress, and some water, but all I wanted was to get my medication and go home to bed. Then the EMTs arrived, and I really wished I could disappear. They took my blood pressure and asked me if I wanted to go with them in the ambulance to the hospital, while I tried to explain that I was just sick, had been on my feet for the past two hours, and had already had my blood pressure taken several times that day at the doctor’s office. I definitely did not want to spend the next few hours sitting in an emergency room waiting for an extremely busy ER doctor to tell me I needed bed rest, so I declined the hospital trip.

Then the pharmacist told me that my health insurance card wouldn’t cover the cost of the medications and asked if I had a separate pharmacy card. I told him that I didn’t but that the health insurance card was supposed to cover prescriptions as well, and he told me to call my insurance company to confirm. One of the EMTs gave me the phone number, and I spent a frustrating ten minutes trying to navigate through an automated voice recognition system that clearly couldn’t understand my hoarse pleas for a customer service representative. When I finally got a human being, she snapped that the computer system was down and that I had to call back in an hour.

The EMTs asked what the medications were supposed to be treating, and when I confessed I didn’t know, they gave me disapproving looks and muttered about how irresponsible doctors prescribing antibiotics were encouraging the rise of superbugs and that I’d probably be better off not taking them. So, I went home to bed, where I probably should have been the whole time.

Theeeee eeeeend.

Filed under: Health,

The Art of Edited

My Art of Editing instructor commented this week that we are now halfway through the semester and asked if anyone has any questions or comments about that fact. I do. I want to know when we are going to start discussing the Art of Editing. Because so far we’ve watched a hodge podge of sometimes grainy, sometimes inadvertently silent, sometimes disappointingly muddled movie clips accompanied by only the most blindingly obvious observations, and it’s starting to grate on me.

I think the trouble stems from the fact that we’re trying to analyze the creative process of editing based on the finished product. It seems to me that’s like trying to analyze the process of novel writing based on the finished book. Sure, if you have an instinct for what works and what doesn’t, that may be all you need, but I wouldn’t sign up for a writing class where I sit and read individual chapters of novels and hope to be struck by insight. That seems like A Waste of Money™. We had one good class where we saw the dailies from Gunsmoke and three alternative edits, discussed the choices the different editors made, and commented on the effectiveness of those choices. We focused on the decision-making process, technical and aesthetic considerations, and storytelling. This, to me, is the art of editing! So why don’t we do that every week?

Filed under: Education, Film, New York


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