One… Two… One, Two, Three Four…

Ooh, Transporter 2 is on Channel 7 tonight!

Yes, yes, shut up for a moment. Transporter 2, despite its flagrant disregard for anything resembling thought does boast an impressive measure of pacing and one of the better edited fight scenes in an age where poorly coreographed actors are filmed by poorly skilled cameramen and edited by poorly informed directors – who seem to think that pointing a lens in the vague direction of a fight and rapidly cutting between angles will cover up any lack of skill and/or talent – is “The Done Thing”. Watch any film with Bruce Lee, you noongs!

The fight scene with Jason Stantham in the factory with the length of hose was shot in an afternoon, on a whim, and demonstrates just how effective beats and cadence are in a fight scene when someone with ADD and rusty pruning shears aren’t hacking film reels to pieces.

Which leads to piano and writing. The election was the proveribial straw and the camel’s back in this case was me putting The West Wing into the DVD player and resolving that I would stop watching at least when the sun came up. Fortunately I was able to keep the monkey off my back long enough to go straight to season 4, the culmination of the election in Aaron Sorkin’s world, and not give into further temptation by watching it from the very start.

When I first started playing the piano, (Yeah this has some relevance), keeping a beat was something that I could only do when I wasn’t thinking about it. Even now the otion of counting and playing at the same time is, frankly, a problem only mitigated by the fact that the songs are short and I can hold my breath for a while. And most recently, after understanding a 4/4 and 3/4 beat, I’ve been introduced to eighth notes which has resulted in a brain suffering from HEADDESK and lack of oxygen.

To mitigate this, I’ve tasked myself the chore of counting along to music I listen to on a day to day basis. And it came as a considerable surprise to me that I was doing the same thing while watching episodes of the West Wing last night.

Writing is fun and nothing equals the satisfaction one gets for hitting that perfect sentence/paragraph/transition but the mechanics of it haven’t been as apparent to me as it was last night.

Obviously the rambling nature of writing this morning confirms that the lesson has yet to sink in. Either that or I’ve been playing piano again.

Sorkin hangs a lantern on a number of techniques he employs, cadence and tone being obvious ones. In Studio 60, there’s a bit in the second episode when Matthew Alby, the lead show writer is talking about rewriting the opening monologue and that it didn’t matter what he changed it to so long as it ended on the 15th or 17th word.

Tim’s gift to me last year was a collection of influential speeches throughout history including Queen Elizabeth, Martin Luther King and others. The character of the speaker, the circumstances surrounding the speeches and the result are well outlined but there isn’t much by way of mentioning the tools employed. And so I’ve been rewatching the first six episodes of the West Wing Season 4 in the hopes of reverse-engineering the mechanics.

Combined with trying to develop Matthew Reilly’s action and exposition all at once approach, my brain is starting to develop a crunchy exterior that audiby rattles when agitated by analysis and sudden head movement.

Food and Wine expo tomorrow should soften things back up though.

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7 Comments

  1. Hah! ‘Eighth notes’ indeed. Also known in the Queen’s English as quavers.

    Keeping a beat all depends how you think about it. You can divide it up mathematically, or you can just feel it, or a little of both. Well, that is how I think about it. If you’re having trouble with it, it probably just means something hasn’t clicked yet. Probably I am not really being helpful here, but I am trying to be encouraging! Am I doin’ it wrong?

    Also, the evil desire to tell you about 7/8 time is killing me.

  2. There is no one, in this entry, that I don’t hate right now

    This includes me.

    And yeah, my Scholar lessons was merry hell on the Maestro trying to explain the notion fencing to a beat.

    My brain is digging through the membrane into my sinuses in order to abandon ship now.

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