Thursday, July 24, 2008

612: Balance

Balance : in search of the lost sense by Scott McCredie has been a quick, enjoyable read. The book explains the vestibular system, how proprioception works, and the importance of balance in everyday life. The author explores the evolution and origin of balance, and how it provided an evolutionary advantage for primitive man.

Along the way, the author discusses balance in a very wide range of topics, from Van Gogh's ear to circus acrobats and even a possible explanation for the death of John F. Kennedy, Jr. The writing is clear and informative, and the chapters are well organized.

The author has carefully documented his writing with actual studies and discussions with researchers in the field. Where the claims are more speculative, such as the possible links of the vestibular system with cognition and memory, he makes it very clear that it's just a theory, and a disputed one at that.

A fascinating read, and one that will benefit everyone from athletes to the elderly. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

791: Filmmaking

I have never attended film school, so I can't say for certain if What They Don't Teach You at Film School, by Camille Landau and Tiare White lives up to its title. The book consists of a series of tips (161 of them) pertaining to video film production. Each tip is a page or two, and they have the feel that they came from the authors' own experiences.

Most of the tips are on interpersonal relations (i.e., managing your crew, finding investors, schmoozing, begging for free stuff, etc.) as opposed to filming techniques or script writing. The authors anticipate you'll probably be trying to film a short on the cheap, with people donating their time. Accordingly, they bring up a long list of possible complications and problems, from how to approach investors to why you never hire people in pairs (because if one doesn't work out, you'll lose both of them at once).

It was a bit of a tough read, as the tips did not really flow into one another. Instead, each read like a separate chapter. They were organized into broad categories, but that didn't help much with the readability. The book's target audience appears to be a newly graduated film student living in Los Angeles working on getting their short film done, which I am not. Not a bad book, but not exactly what I was looking for.