Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Inward Futures

This Flavorwire piece wonders if movies will ever accurately represent online dating, but it also opens the broader question of whether going forward movies will ever be able to get anything mundane right, given the increasing amount of time we spend staring at screens. I guess there could be clever ways of replacing traditional dialogue with chat boxes, but we sit so still and type so much, it's like going back to 2D. How will movies keep up/follow us down? Or maybe there'll be something new, like a movie but different, that jumps out in front and addresses this. Hm, maybe it's the same problem with books. "She looked at her phone and saw she'd missed his call, so she called him back, but he didn't pick up," the opening line of my new great American novel will go. "She hung up before leaving a voicemail, but then did send a text. Right after it went through, she saw the little 'dot dot dot' bubble on his end indicate he was immediately typing a response, but then just as quickly it went away. An hour passed, and it did not return. Was he agonizing over his response, or had she simply texted him while he was texting someone else — omg what if were Eileen — and therefore caused him to momentarily type into the wrong window, her window, giving her an essentially false 'dot dot dot'? She wasn't actually sure if that could happen with text, though, but she knew it could happen on Gchat. And that was something she knew because she'd done it herself. I guess at times, she thought, we are all someone's wrong window." Actually that is the whole novel.

Also this is a fundamentally flawed question/argument, since movies always skim over the boring parts of regular life, but you never know.

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every time there's a computer, and you see the screen, and you're like, have the production designers ever USED a computer?

Or every time ordinary documents are in some crazy custom font, and you're like, IRL everyone just uses Arial, Times or Comic Sans...


I love how every time someone gets a text message, the phone screen is just that bright, electronic cobalt blue with some nondescript white text.


@olivebee I have actually noticed some TV shows are getting better about this, at least if the character is using an iPhone - it tends to be a real iPhone screen. Of course the problem with movie/TV characters using iPhones is every time I hear that ubiquitous alert noise, I leap for my own phone like a damn Pavlov dog.

H.E. Ladypants


...er sorry about that. Please feel free to go back to your more interesting conversations. I just, uh, have some feelings.

Also, I really liked the way they figured out how to incorporate text messages in Sherlock! (BBC version.) The little bubbles appearing over everyone's head while they read was delightfully effective.


@H.E. Ladypants I agree with everything you said. EVERYTHING.


@iceberg My favorite part of seeing computers in movies is when the computer screen is projected on the characters face. Every time I see this I want to scream "that's not how computers work dumbass!"

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg Or when a database programmer is using a Mac.

fondue with cheddar

@H.E. Ladypants There are dozens of way better fonts for the word bubbles in comics.

Fun fact: one time a lawyer made me design their brochure using Comic Sans!


@fondue with cheddar Weirdly, until they started giving him Chromebooks (which he doesn't use for programming, anyway), all of my software-engineer-at-Google boyfriend's work-supplied computers have been MacBooks. His desktop runs Windows (and I think Linux of some kind), but he mostly uses it for gaming, not work.


@H.E. Ladypants Someone at my office in the distant past made up an in house phone list with Comic Sans and the same file has just been updated over and over for years. It offends me enough that I've made my own copy in a different font that I edit myself when there are staffing changes rather than have Comic Sans in my workspace.

Springtime for Voldemort

@H.E. Ladypants I don't get the hatred for Comic Sans. I mean, duh, not in a professional setting. But for your kid's birthday party invites? Hell, even for your birthday party invites? Helvetica does not really communicate just how drunk you're looking to get.

It seems like people are under the impression that if we let people use Comic Sans for kids' birthday party invites, we'll have to let them use it for resumes...


@Springtime for Voldemort - it's a SLIPPERY SLOPE. >:(

fondue with cheddar

@Springtime for Voldemort Comic Sans is appropriate for certain uses, yes. But it's kind of like that song that got so overplayed and overused that you grew to hate it.

There really are some much better cartoonist style fonts out there, and as a graphic designer I see flaws in it that others don't. Comic Sans comes preinstalled on everyone's computer so it's the one everyone uses.


Wow, thank for the article@a


And that's why the only movie about email was You've Got Mail. Sad.


@theharpoon Every time this movie comes on TV I have to watch it. I think the out of date internet references are what keeps me glued to the screen.


I think the BBC Sherlock did a decent job of incorporating the idea of texting in a interesting way.


@funfetti Yep, also just watched anew British show that treated web comments/IMs the same way dang if i can remember what it's called tho


@funfetti Also, I think that the temporal aspect to gchat/okcupid/etc is REALLY fundamental to the experience, which makes writing about texting so much more difficult. It would be cool to see a short film done only via screens (iPhone, emails, facebook, etc.)

It would also be fantastic if someone wrote an epistolary novel with emails and included links and youtube video tangents. OR EVEN BETTER had some kind of crazy subscription so you could get emails between characters in "real time".


@funfetti QR code links on the page! someone is stealing this idea right now.


@iceberg Fresh Meat does it a Sherlock-y way.


@funfetti I think Mindy Project's done okay with it, too. (Not quite as creative or flashy as Sherlock, but the texts worked and it felt like--people texting, the way people do these days.) There was also one episode where two characters disgruntled about being at work on Saturday vowed to spend the whole time on Facebook.

ayo nicole

@Poubelle I love that the texts on Mindy pop up with the faces of the characters.
House of Cards does a pretty good job with texting, too.


What a brilliant post@y


Edith, you've made me jealous of my friends with flip phones--again.


@whizz_dumb Back when I had a flip phone I dropped it from a third story balcony, and it survived with only a few minor scratches. About a month ago I dropped my smart phone off my kitchen table and it completely destroyed the phone. I think we have taken a step back in technology here.


I'm mainly saying, NOT A FAN of the 3 dots.


What the crap is the three dots? I thought that was futuristic phone tech.


also this: "we are all someone's wrong window." #truth


As David Sedaris pointed out in an essay ages ago, watching people type is never going to be dramatically engaging.


@City_Dater As what? Watching people write long-hand? Watching people look contemplatively at a diary as they narrate whatever they just wrote? Typing is just a new thing for your fingers to touch. (ew)

does it need saying

@City_Dater Except when it's Doogie Howser


The boring stuff in literature is currently being tackled by one Tao Lin, king of the Gchats.


She wasn't actually sure if that could happen with text, though, but she knew it could happen on Gchat.

The dot dot dot happens with iMessages. And it happens even if you don't type, you just open up the text. As I learned when my mom texted me from the west coast and then quickly set another text demanding to know why I was checking my phone at two in the morning if I had to be at work the next day.

(I don't know about technology but I'm pretty sure movies can handle overattached parents and their adult children whatever the era.)


I think this is my new favourite great american novel.

Lady Humungus

I would read this book, Edith.

My pet peeve involving technology in movies is when people read aloud the chat/email, and then SPEAK what they're typing back as they type it. Ugh. (I may have seen The Perfect Man too many times on TBS)


So many potentially dramatic filmic/literary moments ruined.

"She walked past where they'd agreed to meet on the bridge - he wasn't there. So she just kept on walking. And then she texted him demanding to know where the hell he was."


I think it's actually something Harry Potter got around really successfully. Otherwise -

'Hermione typed 'Who is the Half Blood Prince' carefully into Wiz-Google'

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