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The Cody Blog: Learning to Appreciate and Learning to Loathe Various Arts

Monday, October 03, 2005

Learning to Appreciate and Learning to Loathe Various Arts

Some arts require education to be fully appreciated. Some arts are better appreciated with ignorance.

I've written how I've come to love playing and writing music in the last decade. It's made me listen to music better and I appreciate music more today than I did 15 years ago. All the nuances and beats and layers and what not --- I love it when I'll be, say walking down the street, and I'll stop in my tracks having noticed something for the first time about a song that I've heard 300 times in my life.

Had that experience yesterday with "If You Could Read my Mind" by Gordon Lightfoot. That song has long been one of my favorites, despite how it always takes me back to cleaning cages at my dad's vet clinic back when I was a little kid. Yesterday it came up on the shuffle of my iPod photo (I'd let my Nano's batteries run down over the weekend) as I walked through the park on my way next to my apartment. I had my Bose noise reduction headphones on and I noticed that there are like four or five accoustic guitars layered on top of each other (either that or that is some unbelievable guitaring going on in there).

Anyway, I only started noticing that stuff after I'd started playing, writing and recording music. Many things in life require work and education to really appreciate them fully.

Movies, TV shows and plays are not in that category.

I dated an actress for a few months late last year. The experience was mostly a positive one, as she was sweet and beautiful and so on. (She plays the stripper in The Big Bad Swim and is the Chase girl in this series of commercials.)

She'd recently graduated from Julliard and her agent was constantly sending her out to all these endless auditions. So in our time of hanging out she'd ask me to read scripts with her. To be sure, I very much enjoyed reading those scripts. I took a lot of them and would read through the whole thing to get a feel for what scripts look like.

And, to be frank, I really enjoyed acting like an actor when I'd read the other side of her dialogues. I have only a small arsenal of accents, none of which I do well. I can do some Eastern Indian, American Indian, and basketball ghetto and southern/Texan --- learned the first one after watching "Short Circuit" as a kid, the second one from having so many Apache friends and the third from spending those countless hours on the hoops court all over the southwest and midwest and the final one from having so many friends from Texas. So I wouldn't pretend to try to do accents in our read throughs. But I would do my best job of pretending to act.

Anyway, a couple days after reading a script for "Law & Order" and some mindless CBS sitcom before she went on an audition for them, I happened to catch an episode of L&O and also an epidsode of the sitcom (I have no idea what it was called or even if it's still on the air). I'd seen my first episode of L&O a couple years ago and found that I enjoyed the show. It's mindless enough that you don't have to think, but it's not so stupidly formulaic like most of Hollywood's products are that you end up angry and insulted by the end of it.

So after having read through an L&O script I found my mind seeing the script and not the show. I'd see the instructions for the actor and the dialogue in quotes in my head. And I'd think --- If I were playing that criminal, I'd have done that differently! And oh man, to this day, when I watch shows, commercials, just about anything, I end up seeing the damn scripts in my head. And I don't like it.

Finally, I've been getting to be good friends with a director guy who does commercials and videos and stuff. He told me about how some of his musician friends have shot their own videos. And, as a lot of readers have emailed me asking about music videos and I'm always interested in learning -- I bought myself this tiny little camcorder last week.

I've been shooting footage and even spent a couple sleepless nights this weekend editing a first video (it's BAD -- and I mean, so bad it's funny, but not in a good way -- funny, clown funny, if you will with a nod to Pesci). And now when I watch videos and when I'm looking around at the world, my mind is trying to get its arms (which begs the question: does my head have its own arms?) around how that reality would be conveyed on film. So will this new experience ruin the watching of film for me even worse?


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10/03/2005 02:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

That's Ry Cooder's guitar work you hear on there. Extremely impressive.

10/03/2005 05:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many lines of Shakespeare become more rich and beautiful each time I hear or read them.

10/03/2005 06:33:00 PM  
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10/03/2005 10:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cody - just back from a 3 week business trip abroad with no chance to drop in for the last month. In between all this great commentary on your musical tastes. One thing I realize in following this blog is I have not idea what your politcal tastes are. Are you a Bush fan, do your support the war in Iraq, etc, etc? Just curious.

10/04/2005 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Cody Willard said...

Surely, you jest, Anon. I mean, I go off on politics all the time, including my views on Bush, Iraq, etc. Use the search function above.

If you want to pigeon-hole my views though with a short answer to my views on politics, I'll answer as I always do when asked if I'm a Democrat or Republican:

I'm a free thinker.

10/04/2005 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Surely, you jest, Anon. I mean, I go off on politics all the time, including my views on Bush, Iraq, etc. Use the search function above."

Cody, I did do a check but I thought everything was somewhat vague. No clear opinion on Bush that I could see (ok, we all agree he's a politician and a bureaucrat). And on Iraq you seemed to say that things have gotten a little out of hand for us . . . but that we also got rid of a dictator (is that why we went in?).

I realize you're a very free thinker, which is why I'm asking, if you had to make the decisions on Iraq would you pull out asap, stay for as long as it takes, no matter the costs?

10/04/2005 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't want to speak for Cody but in earlier posts he's talked about how vicious Saddam's Iraq and the freedom we've given them. Want I would want to know Cody is whether you'd be willing to personally fight for this freedom because you feel so strongly?

10/04/2005 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cody Willard said...

Oh, yes, most def. I'd volunteer if needed. Before moving to NYC in 1996, I strongly considered joining the military, but as it was a time of peace I chose not to. In the confusion and immediate aftermath of 9/11 as I ran and walked from ground zero I thought the US was certainly under military attack and that I would immediately be joining our military to fight. I would certainly fight to protect this country (though I'm not specifically addressing the Iraq war in this comment. See my prior commentary for more on that).

10/04/2005 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree

10/05/2005 12:07:00 PM  

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