This week my seed of inspiration is not really visual – hence no photos in this post.
In fact, while there IS a visual component, it is the audio that I love the most.
Specifically audio commentaries for movies and TV shows.
If you’ve never watched your favorite movie with commentary let me warn you, not all commentaries are created equally. BELIEVE me.
Andrew went through a phase where he watched The Mummy and The Mummy Returns every day for weeks. Loved it. But when we watched the audio commentary, it was pretty much just the director or art director or someone sitting quietly, watching the movie by themself and pointing out which shots were of matte paintings.
Really? That’s the best you can do.
On the complete other end of the spectrum is the audio commentary for Muppets From Space. While most movies feature just an audio track over the original footage, for this piece of cinematic brilliance the “audio commentary” is set up MST3K-style, complete with the non-sequitur comments and film insights from the movie’s director, Gonzo the Great and Rizzo the Rat.
Admittedly, it is not as educational as other film special features can be, but it is wonderful in its own quirky way.
It doesn’t help that I ADORE the Muppets. Which deserve a post all their own.
I am absolutely fascinated by the film-making process.
ex: The “appendices” special features of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy are one of my favorite ever things to watch.
We buy a lot of DVDs because I just love (love) to rewatch favorites and just pore over all the special features.
You can learn so much about the mood of the production by listening to the audio commentaries. Sometimes you can learn a surprising amount about the actual film-making process by listening to the audio commentaries.
Sidenote to Warner Bros: I will re-purchase ALL the Harry Potter movies on DVD if you release them with added audio commentaries. By the cast. By the directors. By JK Rowling. For real. Thanks.
I was reminded how much I love audio commentaries recently because I finally started to check out all the special features that are on the Mad Men DVDs (we own all the seasons currently released).
Imagine my total excitement to find that EVERY.SINGLE.EPISODE of Mad Men (at least the first season so far) has at least one audio commentary. Many have two.
Commentary from a huge range of people who have worked on the show.
From Matt Weiner (the creator, writer and virtual molder of the show) to Jon Hamm (the star) to Aaron Staton (a regular but more minor character) to Tim Hunter (a guest director of an episode or two). Quite a range and selection. And that’s just in the first season.
I am soooo loving going through the seasons like this. It’s like seeing the show from a whole different perspective – learning about the historical context, learning about the themes/etc the writers intentionally incorporate, learning about the technical side of actually building the set or actually shooting a specific scene, learning about the personalities of the actors, learning about how the actors see their roles (Elizabeth Moss takes herself very seriously).
Some audio commentaries are hit-or-miss depending on the job and personality of the person talking.
But when you hit upon a good one, it is SOOO good …
ex: the audio commentary of Love Actually features Hugh Grant just making fun of Colin Firth. Hilarious.
My plan is to watch all the audio commentaries for the rest of Mad Men, and then re-watch the series (without commentary) with new eyes.
It’s going to be fantastic!
Watching/listening to audio commentaries plants a seed of inspiration to:
- Go through this list of “notable” audio commentaries and watch all of them
- Become a film stills photographer. I’m sure I’ve said that before.
- Watch ALL of the special features on ALL of my DVDs
- Somehow work on a film and be asked to record a commentary
- Get a job as a researcher on Mad Men (I’m actually completely serious about this. Does anyone know ANYONE that can get me the hookups?)
- Take a film history class and/or make friends with Roger Ebert. Those 2 things are comparable. Obviously
Have you ever watched the audio commentary of your favorite movie?
Does anyone love doing this as much as I do?