Yes, it’s a film thing. Read on…
If you regularly read my blog, you might be wondering what the bloody h is going on. If you’ve never read my blog and are puzzled by how many posts there are for a blog that has only existed for a day, let me explain:
I am in the process of transferring my old blog to a new one. I have decided to go with Word Press over Blogger because I feel it gives me a bit more organizational and layout control and I am a CSS nerd and like to have things just so. It might not seem that way right now because I’m using one of their standard templates, but I’m getting to it.
So, what’s with the title? Well, I was friends with filmmaker Stan Brakhage before he passed away. One day, I wrote a description of one of his films. He was very excited by what I wrote and wanted to use it. Apparently, the Library of Congress said they needed better descriptions of his films because they couldn’t tell the difference between his works and scraps from the cutting room floor…
This was meant to be insulting. A brief explanation: Once Upon a Time, filmmakers used to edit actual physical film prints on big turntable machines, rather than digital media on laptops. They would physically cut the film and piece it back together. The stuff that ended up on the cutting room floor was the stuff that would not make it into the final film (also known as trash, scraps, crap, refuse, etc.) Despite the proliferation of non-linear editing systems and the popularity of DVD outtake clips and directors’ cuts, the term is still used in “the biz” to describe ideas, people, or shots that just don’t make it into the final “cut.”
Some film facts for you: Even today, at the end of the editing process, negatives do still get cut and most of what you see in movie theatres is still shown on film (yes, this surprises many of my non-film-savvy friends, as does the fact that as of this moment, film prints are usually still better quality than digital projections). Also, did you know that when you are watching a film projected in a movie theater, half the time you are staring at a black screen and the rest of the time you are staring at still images? The illusion of movement and constant illumination created from this flicker is due to a phenomenon called “persistence of vision,” whereby your brain “fills in” the missing pieces. Neat, huh?
Anyway, back to the title of this blog… My old blog was called “An Astronomer in Hollywood.” At the time, I was in school for astrophysics, having temporarily turned my back on my dreams of becoming a filmmaker (get it? It’s a play on the concept of “star.”) I felt torn between my two passions, knowing that one would end up a hobby and the other a career. Well, since film has clearly won that battle for now, I feel that my musings on astronomy, as well as dreams and meandering thoughts, are essentially “scraps from the cutting room floor.”
Now any Stan Brakhage fan would know: that’s usually where you find the good stuff!