Other Ten Percent 4/28/14

Apr 28 2014

Sorry this is going out so late. One of my projects for the week is writing OTP much earlier in the day but unfortunately nothing jumped out at me for a topic except for one thing that I was going to complain about. Even worse it’s something I was going to complain about without having a particularly good solution to the problem. Unfortunately I never came up with any better option so now I’m going to link to this round up of visual representations of texting in film and television and do that anyway.
To be clear I don’t have any real problem with the article itself which rounds up interesting examples. Instead I take issue with the examples themselves which are all boring and interchangeable. You’re either looking at a screen with a chat window open while the SFX guy dubs in typing sounds slightly too loudly or they’re just showing you what’s on a phone in a weird little hovering screen that seems like the bastard child of Google Glass and Pop-Up Videos.
Neither of these options seem like a particularly exciting way of representing texting and part of me thinks this is just kind of a storytelling dead end, a novelty that uses motion graphics to disguise the basic boringness of watching people type on screen. Sherlock’s uses of the technique have aged particularly badly which I’ve discussed with Nikki a few times. In just a few years they’ve gone from being one of the cooler parts of the first episode to hindrance that draws way too much attention to how gimmicky “Sherlock Holmes in the Modern Day” can feel.
On the other hand typing all the damn time to communicate with other people doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon so we’re probably going to have to come up with some way of dealing with the problem of showing the process on screen, I just hope people come up with some more creative options soon. I don’t have some silver bullet here but I’d love to watch a show that has a machine vision view of the character’s texting, or one that represented the way the characters conceived of their texting conversations rather than just showing the messages floating in cyberspace. Hell at this point I think I’d be happy with the floating in cyberspace thing if we could come up with a design for that besides off-brand iOS or Android.

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