By G.P. Avants
For the past four years I have been teaching high school. I had totally opposite jobs, teaching CAHSEE English and Video Production. One is non-technology and book centered, the other of course is all film and production based. I was working every day in two contrary worlds.
“Mr. Avants, which do you like better, books or movies?” This is a question that often gets thrown at me by my Juniors and Seniors. They know how much I love both and it is not an easy question to answer.
I mean, books are many layered. They have dialog and imagery, mental landscapes, and concepts that ignite your own imagination. It is like someone is speaking directly to you through a character and their story. It is also been said that reading is a great way to unwind before you go to sleep. It helps to reduce the stimulators in the brain from a hard day of mental stress.
Movies on the other hand give a whole new interpretation of the story. You get music, sound effects, great visuals and special effects that a book can only do so much justice to. Movies are a quicker way to get information and you can complete the story in one setting. Being very visual, watching a movie appeals to other stimuli that reading doesn’t. Ideas are stimulated and keep on being processed long after the experience is over.
One thing I did as a tribute to both was the create stories that read like a movie. I don’t know if that is everyone’s thing, but in many ways, it satisfied that sweet tooth I had for both. Also, I didn’t have to choose one over the other. I could enjoy both mediums simultaneously. Here is sample from my novel, Chronolocity: A Fistful of Chronotons where Levy gets a behind scene look on the inner workings of Mr. Cross’s time travel project firsthand.
Levy holds his hands under the sink waiting for the water to flow. After a few attempts he realizes that he had to turn the handles. “Huh.” He spies around for the hand dryer, but only finds a roll of brown paper towels. “So old school.”
He trots back to his little quiet bubble with lots of time to contemplate. What is Mr. Cross really up to? I get the whole thing about helping people from history, but there is something bigger going on here. He tugs one of his forehead curls replaying the day’s events that break the record for his worst bad luck day. I hate to even think if it’s over or not.
As if on cue, the wall behind him begins to glow. “What?” It’s a form of live action video like the ones Mr. Cross had shown him in the dome. A rounded surface on the larger wall winks on. The glow of the screen hovers from the wall a few inches towards the gawking boy.
“It’s being projected from inside the wall.” He stands up and touches the pebbly lights to examine the workings of it before the show begins. “Something is happening. Finally.”
Levy spins his chair and makes himself comfortable. He looks back over his shoulder to make sure that the other boys don’t have any idea what is going on. All his senses kick in, and he is drawn into the production.
There is a moment of static and the image snaps into focus. A red warning sign begins to flash.
“What is this?”
“The timeline is in trouble.” The voice sounds automated, almost robotic. “We need your help.”
“Who is sending this signal?” Levy fingers are already tensed.
“Someone is attempting to drastically alter history, one historical figure at a time.”
“Now that sounds ominous.”
“Observe,” The voice warns him, “things are not as idyllic as they appear.” The image scrambles through a number of scenes at high speed but stops on an almost too perfect garden-like setting. The images flick back and forth for a moment from three or four different camera angles. This future version of TV allows split images to be projected simultaneously.
Levy’s eyes glue to the garden-cam and the opening scene. This has to be somewhere in this complex. He locks in with his full attention. Someone is making sure I don’t miss a thing. Levy adjusts himself into a comfortable position. It’s like a pirate radio station. Someone is tapping into a number of camera feeds. Dramatic cinematography. Levy gets himself comfortable. I just wish they had decent popcorn right about now.
A number of kids are painting in a peaceful garden setting. Mr. Cross is speaking to them as the view begins to center in on some action. The video comes into crystal clear focus.
Which one to I like better? I think reading is better for my brain, but movies appeal to more of my senses. Reading helps my brain to grow one way, and movies another. I want to say, I like them both equally. I can’t choose one. I love them both the same! (If you read my Star Wars V Star Trek piece you get the idea). That, for now, is my final answer. Both are pieces of creativity that my whole brain had learned how to integrate and enjoy. How about you? Do you prefer one over the other?