Monday, December 25, 2006

Watching Movies with a Face Blind Writer

Watching movies with me is interesting. For one thing, I like to talk. I talk to the characters, about the characters, about the story, and about food. A common conversation in our house is:
Amy: What did he just say?
Others: I don’t know. Someone was talking at the same time and we couldn’t hear!

Now that I’m interesting in the writing and production of movies, things get even more interesting. Like during the most emotional scene of the movie, when everyone is bawling, I’m liable to blurt, “I wonder how many times it took the actors to shoot that scene without laughing?” Or during the chase scene, I’m known to make casual remarks like, “That had to have been done with a green screen. The background was dubbed in.”

As a writer, I can often quote the next phrase correctly, before it’s been said, even if I’ve never seen the movie. After all, any writer know that’s what that character has to say.

The other thing about watching movies is that I can't tell all the extra characters apart. All my life I’ve had trouble recognizing characters in movies, recognizing people I don’t know well, and getting completely mixed up people I do know well, but haven’t see for a while, like old teachers. Of course I know that the young teacher with brown curly hair and glasses is not the older teacher with white hair. But the older teacher with white hair I had last year and the older teacher with white hair I had five years ago…well, that’s another story.

Just recently I discovered that it isn’t that I don’t pay enough attention. It isn’t that I don’t care. In fact, it’s that I have a Medical Condition. Whew! I didn’t even know there was such a thing as face blindness, or prosopagnosia. Things make a whole lot more sense, now.

Both my sisters and my dad also have slight face blindness, which means Mom bears the burden of helping us figure out movies. She endures constant questions like,
“Is that what’s-his-name?”
Sigh. “No, that’s Jon’s father.”
“Oh. Well is the lady that one person?”
“Yes. She’s the one from the last scene, remember?”

Movies like Jane Austen’s, with so many characters, are almost impossible for me to follow without help. Mystery/Suspense movies are interesting. Picture this: It’s the climax of the movie. In one quick flash, they finally show the face of the man who’s the murder. Everyone in the room gasps.

Then, from Amy’s corner, you hear a faint voice. “Um, am I supposed to know who that guy is?”


purple_kangaroo said...

Um, in case you were wondering, my face blindness is not "slight." :) I have trouble finding someone I've been talking to for 30 minutes if I glance away and they change position.

Chelle Y. said...

Well, at least you are a great writer! :)

Michelle Gregory said...

And I thought I was the only one who analyzed movies. I also like to keep track of camera angles.

Amy said...

PK, yeah, if it's a person I just met then I have the same problem. LOL!

Thanks, Chelle. :-)

Michelle, I forgot the camera angle when I was writing this, hehe. Yeah, I'll blurt, "You can tell they used a hand-held camera for this part," too. ;-)

purple_kangaroo said...

For me it doesn't have to be someone I just met. It can be someone I've known casually for months, and talked to multiple times.

I have to know someone well enough to recognize the way they carry themselves, their voice, and other non-facial characteristics before I can find them in a crowd, and even then sometimes I get people mixed up.