December 8, 2017


Catalan and Portuguese flag superimposed on our 1812 timeline page

I made this image with the help of technology. It cost me a man hour, based on a blog that cost me longer, but I don’t know how much of the tech was devoted to me.

The following post is filled with #irony making it #ironic . It’s not meant to be useful, any utility is purely accidental. Punctuation is intentionally misplaced to suit the hashtag.

You know one of the most ironic sayings ever? “A picture is worth a thousand words. ” That’s seven words long. Try drawing a picture that says over 142 times that. (Use a calculator to do the math.) Some pictures are worth a thousand words, but those are either powerful pictures, or lame words.

Another ironic thing: I recently received an essay about the importance and power of stories. The essay was structured in such a way that it didn’t tell a single story. Okay, so it tried to conjecture on the key themes of a few stories, maybe even hinted at a few plots, but it didn’t tell one. If stories are so powerful, why was it written as an essay?

It’s funny how we use one medium or one tool to sell another. However, we are really selling the first. By writing this essay, I’m acknowledging the potential power of essays.

Well, if you want to see what I can do, just look at what I did.

Chinny McGringo videos were mostly created by one person. United States and Ukraine was assembled and edited by one person (although it used footage created by many others.) That’s what I can do myself. That, and a script, or an essay, or a design, or a novel. (For most of what is in this blog, I alone am to blame, unless someone else decided to take credit or hide behind a pen name.)

The first trailer for Dara Says was created by two people (actor/director/actor/me and the actor/producer/storyboard artist, who can also be seen in the video.) While we had an editor work on some first drafts before we had the storyboard finalised, we ended up reshooting and editing it ourselves. So, that three minute trailer is what two people can do. (With the help of modern technology and a place to record it in.) We actually made the first ten minutes that way, but only put music and finalised the first three.

The final film Dara Says was created by five people, mainly, with some help from another three for between a day and a week in stunts and post production. But, for most of the time there were five or fewer of us.

Experience has taught me that to make a film great, you usually want a team of at least eight. I recently watched Parental Guidance, and noticed at the end it saying something like 18,000 jobs were created for 300,000 man hours. (I’m more sure of the second number than the first.) So, most people involved didn’t spend that long on it, but a few of the key players (director, writer, editor) probably spent the better part of a year or more to that movie.

300,000 man hours! Considering the average European or American only actually works about 1500 hours a year (2000 if you’re Portuguese, 3000 if you’re Southern Portuguese, 4000 if you like to exaggerate even more than that, 50 if you’re a recruiter who reviews each cv for only a couple of seconds, and 0 if you spend all day on social media), considering the work hours that we can actually count, that means you could potentially make that film with 200 people in a year, right? So, why do some people work on a film longer than others?

Well, when we made Dara Says, we had a stunt guy come in for a day and a half. His help was great, but as he was with us less than a week, he didn’t count in the five, but in the three. The title role actress, incredibly talented and essential as she was, was with us for a month and a half. Two assistants were with us for six months and less than six months. The producer and I were on this project for years, working on the storyboard (and budget, and script) before we even knew how much money we’d have or whether it would be made or not, and continuing with the editing when the other crew had gone. If we needed 300,000 man hours, we’d still be working on that movie.

In Parental Guidance, I’m guessing you had extras and day players that were needed for far less than a week. You also had people involved with certain sets. You have specialists like foley and colour correction, that while a full time career, don’t tend to work on the same film for long. Existing music and materials probably weren’t counted in the 300,000 hours, so if they used original music or designed more costumes and sets it would have taken longer. So, the mathematical breakdown of making that film with only 200 people is a bit naive. But, I suppose a film like that (contemporary and without much CGI) creates the equivalent of 200 full time jobs for a year. *

Likewise, when the local newspaper claims a new shopping centre will create 300 jobs, they are exaggerating. First of all, market saturation will mean jobs disappear from somewhere else. Secondly, a lot of those jobs are part time and or temporary. People are hired, usually students, to give out flyers for a day before the grand opening.

The new store doesn’t create jobs, it simply shifts them. And, if it’s a chain, that usually means less advertising money and fewer public interest stories for the local paper. How ironic it is, then, that local businesses cheer on the coming of national and global chains that will ultimately be their downfall.

Oh, irony.

* The film industry as a whole will create additional jobs, for instance in the development, production and shipping of specialist equipment, distribution, cinemas, marketing, and so on. But these aren’t counted with an individual film. Yet another irony.

The image above has nothing to do with the content. That, in itself, is a form of irony, making it relevant.

Vasco de Sousa writes. Blah blah blah. If you see the point to this story, you are among an elite minority, as most people will think the above is pointless. Share it to show how smart you are.

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