What We Do: Host a Movie Marathon!

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A few years ago, binging a TV show was not really possible (unless you taped every episode on a VHS tape like I did with reruns of Quantum Leap).  Nowadays, it’s the norm for many households to watch all the episodes of one season in a day or two, especially with many TV shows being released on a popular streaming service, like Netflix or Hulu.  But with the inclusion of the “TV Show Binge”, out went the days of holding a “Movie Marathon”.

There are benefits, though, to watching several movies in a row over a day or two, or over a course of a few weeks.  With the working world, it may not be possible to watch a movie or two a day, but it’s always possible to watch one or two over a weekend.  So how to start?

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First, decide whether you want to do it alone or invite friends over.  Personally, I usually enjoy watching them alone or with one or two other people.  Adding a whole group of people is fun for a short “film-a-thon” (2 or 3 movies in a day), but if you’re expecting someone to stay for hours or even commit to several movies over the course of a few weeks, it may not work.  And then people will be lost and confused for any plot lines they missed.  So my suggestion is to stick to 1 to 3 people.

Second, make sure you have working equipment – whether you’re watching them on a DVD player, Blu-ray player or some other device.  Nothing can be more frustrating when you’re watching and all of a sudden, there’s a technical glitch that shuts everything down.  If your TV is old or you’re DVDs are known to skip in your player, you may want to hold the marathon somewhere else or hold off for another day.

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Next, what kind of a “Movie Marathon” are you going to hold?  There are several different ways of going about it:

  • By Actor/Actress: An actor with a short filmography, like James Dean, could be completed in one day, but if you’re selecting someone like John Wayne or Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep, it could go longer.
  • By Series: Go small, like a “Young Guns” double feature or a “Back to the Future” Trilogy or big, like watching all 26 James Bond films from “Dr. No” to “Spectre” (and if you include all the spoofs and TV versions, it could go even longer.)
  • By other cast/crew: You could go into other areas, too – like watching “Stephen King” films, or films with James Horner music or all the films that had a certain gaffer in its crew (although now we’re bordering on some strange obsession you may have.)
  • By a Book or list: Some people love to go by recommended lists – “1000 Movies to Watch Before You Die” or the “IMDB Top 250 List”.
  • By Country: And if you’re a fan of foreign films, like myself, you could choose the 100 greatest Japanese films or a similar idea.

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Honestly, the choices are endless as you can go by film era (Silent era), genre (Romantic Comedies), award winners (Best Picture Winners), theme (Underdog films), etc.

Also, on a final note, if you’re going to watch a movie based on the actor or director or a series, the best way to do it is probably chronologically.  I know it’s somewhat self-explanatory, but sometimes people may not want to watch that “bad-reviewed” film.  (I mean, honestly, if you’re holding a “Superman” marathon, who really wants to relive “Superman IV”?).  But there’s a lot of perks to watching in order.  One is you get to see an actor’s growth.  Another thing is you get to see how a filmmaker may have learned from past mistakes.  (Maybe….)

There are really no rules.  I mean, it’s your movie marathon!  So enjoy it and make it memorable.  Happy Viewing!

On TV and Writing

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I recently read a post on TV writing that allowed me to think about whether writing a TV pilot is the right medium or not for my next writing project. (You can read the post here).  A few minutes later, someone emailed me asking if I wanted to partner up on a teleplay and all of a sudden all the stars aligned.  Here are the questions I asked myself before I decided whether to make it a screenplay or a TV script.

Has it been done before?

The answer as far as movies go was definitely a “yes”.  There have been plays on it, movies on it and even foreign films.  For me, I didn’t want to go down the road of making another film, but I saw it as a great vehicle for a streaming service, like Netflix or Hulu, that can push out 13 episodes at once.  If I had decided to go down a screenplay route, I could see it as being unoriginal and honestly, I may have been bored writing it.

How long is the story?

I needed to decide whether the story could be told in a 2 hour movie or a television medium and the answer was both, but the way I envisioned it being told would have been better as a TV show.  With TV shows, you get to know the characters more:   their past, their emotions, their whole demeanor.  You wouldn’t be able to do that with a movie.

Does it have the potential to be multiple seasons?

While I could see it going more than one season, I could also see it being just one season as a limited series.  I actually don’t mind whether it’s a one season deal because the story is fairly self-contained.

Would it have a good cast?

Not that it really matters, but having a shortened 13 episode season would really allow for some actors to have the ability to come out and sign up, but I am not a casting agent or director.  That’s not up to me and to be honest, many TV shows make stars out of a whole new list of actors and/or actresses (see:  Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why).  The cast isn’t a writer’s job…so asking this question to myself really didn’t have much of a point.

The point is…I had to weigh the pros and cons of both.  In the end, I like being challenged and this will definitely challenge me to write a good script for a medium that I’ve never tried before.  The article I liked above definitely asks me to go outside my comfort zone and I really truly am doing that here.  Writing has always been a passion for me and I have been doing it all my life.  Now I get to take on a whole new journey.

THE DREAMER

About 2 years ago, I found myself rummaging through old school papers that included report cards, school pictures, essays I wrote, journals, diaries, newspaper clippings, etc and remember some of the comments my fourth grade teacher made.  Apparently, I looked out the window too much.  Apparently, I was a day dreamer.  Apparently, I had no affinity for any kind of education and if I didn’t improve my conduct I would be held back.

Now I take issue with one thing.  It’s not true that I didn’t care about schooling – I actually loved math and spelling.  I loved things that made me think.  I was usually the first one to turn in the timed multiplication tables and I had an abundance of spelling stickers (which were probably the inspiration for emojis – happy smiley faces!  Stars!  Fireworks!).  For some reason, my teacher thought there was no hope for me.  That wasn’t true at all.

The one thing that was true was that I did dream…a lot!  Even my mother would always laugh at how many different thoughts came into my head.  From wanting to host game shows to stage acting to becoming a police officer to even riding around in a garbage truck, I always seemed to want to have a different dream.

Today, I am no different.  I still dream.  I want to travel the world.  I want to write a book.  I want to write programs for a children’s hospital.  I want to solve a murder case.  I want my kids to look at me as some kind of fantastic superhero.  And that’s why I am here…to share not just my future, but so that others can go along with me as I ride my journey to one (or two…or better yet…multiple) dreams.  And maybe others can be inspired by this journey I am taking.

That’s why I am here…but I should probably introduce myself now, so people understand also who I am.  My name is Mo Anand and I was born in Berlin, Germany.  I lived in Germany for nine years before moving to Michigan.  Michigan has been my home for 30 years now.  I am married to my wife, Rachel and we have four wonderful children, Benjamin, Oliver, Charlie, and Annika.  I am a Christian and I currently work in several different fields:  transportation, health care and education.

As far as my future goes, I have several goals in mind.  Within the year, I want to earn more than the $55,000 I am making now.  I want to learn how to program in Java.  I want to write a TV script pilot.  I want to re-learn German and Spanish.  I want to read a whole slew of Dickens novels.  There’s a lot I want to accomplish.  But that’s me….the dreamer still lives in me.